MoonRise post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @aplayware)
December 19th, 2012 5:40 pm

This was my 3rd LD and 1st time that I finished and submitted a game, so also my first postmortem =D (sorry about bad English as is not my native language).

The Last 2 LDs gave me nice projects to work with after the compo, but this time I made up my mind to lower features count, lower graphics and to bring something complete to deliver here.


I was expecting “End of the world” but hoping for “Construction” or “Ocean” as it fits very well with games that I like to create. “You are the Villain” came as a surprise at Saturday 00:00 here in Brazil and no idea was coming so I decided to went to bed and think better with the morning.


The first idea was about an alien at his UFO tormenting a city. Brainstorm brings tons of features ideas like flying saucer upgrades, capturing and use human meat as fuel, land
off the UFO, weapons, tanks and soldier fighting against you and then I realized that would be another half year project.

So no flying saucer, maybe a lone alien. Then I thought that too many entries would use aliens, so no aliens… A vampire then. In his castle… at mountain’s top… Hunting at a village at night. Maybe turning into a bat at will? But if he can turn into a bat why not give him other powers? Maybe ones that he needs to research first… using blood as fuel.

He must fear some armed humans and use ambush tactics to succeed. Ok, so concept was ready. This came at something like 10:00 am saturday. Later I added a last feature that was the day/night cycle and sleep at coffin to protect from sun.




The Good things

Unity 3D: I’m on it since 2010 and it never stop to surprise me. Aside from the powerful 3D engine, the additive pattern (where you add a behavior to an object instead of descending sub classes)  gives a huge boost in productivity from reuse and was essential here. I managed to finish 100% of planned features, all 7 spells (Bat form, Invisibility, Speed, Sunlight resistance, Hypnosis, Charm and Fire bolt), the day/night system, human AI (poor right now), and so on.

Place holder graphics: From some tips that I did read from ancient LD masters, one fixed at my mind: THOU MUST FINISH THY GAMEPLAY SATURDAY NIGHT. So be it. Nothing except code all Saturday. By 01:00 am Sunday the gameplay was ready.

The “Could be a little better” things

Complexity: A nice portion of the game is hidden from casual players because it is behind a lot of work to research spells. Maybe I should have made the “Bat Form” to start already researched so this also would minimize the long way castle <-> village.

The BAD things

Vampire control: I was thinking of allowing the vampire to walk forward and cast spells with its view (aim) mouse controlled, like a tank. Bad idea. Now most people are disliking it and I agree.

No Sound, No music: Spent 1 hour on music at Sunday just to realize that would take like 5 hours to be ok. I left sound for Monday night and then I found some final creepy bugs to kill, so no sound.

A bug with graphic quality control: Unity have some controls to tweak with graphics quality and turn some eye candies off allowing wider audience. Well, I just left a debug line at starting code forcing quality to last level. I mean the ULTIMATE level. Now it just can’t run on low/med CPU/GPU.

Gameplay balance: To implement every feature that comes in my mind cost the miss of the 48 hours deadline and forced me to join as jam. Even worse it left few time to tweak simple gameplay values that would change a lot things: Like the tedious looong way from mountain to village and back to mountain every night.

If the world not end (post compo)

I will resize the island, there are lot of space not being used in game. Smaller castle <-> village way will be nice.
I also will add features to improve fun: Give more value to surprise element (like human frozen if catch from behind unaware ; Improve combat system allowing vampire to block sword/arrows with claws; Introducing wizards with strong long range attacks to give something to REAL fear and avoid (or incentive the research for more power); New spells (heat sensor, teleport, raise zombies); Some bonus drop from humans like research bonus; Better meshes (animated), better textures, better HUD, Music and sounds; AND YES, BETTER VAMPIRE CONTROL.

Now some gameplay of a powerful vampire in action:

Thank you!

See you at LD26 (theme: Ocean =D )

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