Post Mortem for Guardian Angel Devil

Posted by (twitter: @bitgriffin)
December 21st, 2012 2:57 pm


Guardian Angel Devil is a solo jam game Play it here

The original game idea popped in my head when I saw the theme “Guardian” during voting, and when “You are the Villain” ended up the winner it came up again with a nice twist at the end. The idea is a take on the “chosen one” trope, as in the hero, Blake, is a young farm boy and he is the only one who can retrieve this evil artifact from the dungeon. Since you, a small demon,  are the villain, of course, you pretend to help him since he’s clueless, because you want to take the artifact for yourself after he retrieves it. You have cards you can play to provide various effects on the battlefield and Blake does all the dirty work of fighting.


The Good


I wanted to make a web game, and was about to use silverlight again when I heard about JSIL. It meant I could code in XNA but then export it to Javascript. I spent some time porting my silverlight tile engine to XNA that played nice with JSIL, which wasn’t too hard as long as I found workarounds for the methods that JSIL hadn’t implemented yet (Particularly having to read xml tile maps with an xmlReader because XDocument and XmlDocument weren’t implemented.)


This came from a video that someone posted before the compo. Even though I didn’t manage to animate combat attacks, a simple particle effect and sound effect worked pretty well to make the game feel more finished, and took far less time than animating each frame.


There are three different ways to finish, and all are possible. Plus it plays out a bit differently each time depending on which cards you get.


The Bad

Use of time:

By the end of the compo I only had a fairly generic RPG with the villain walking around and the hero equipping items and attacking, so I ended up entering the jam. I think I may have been able to squeak by on compo time  if I had planned a little more efficiently. I plotted my time out fairly in depth to see where I was using it and this is what happened:

Ideas: 2 hours  compo

Art: 4.5 hours  compo (about 2 hours thrown out)

UI Programming: 4 hours compo

Level Design and programming: 7 hours compo/1 hour jam (Some of this was unused)

Programming walking around the map: 2 hours compo/ 1 hour jam due to JSIL issue

Programming combat: 4.5 hours compo/ 1 hour jam

Programming items and equipment: 2 hours compo

Programming/Drawing cards: 4.5 hours jam

Sound: 1.5 hours compo (very good bang for the buck)

Conversations: .5 hour jam

If I could do it again I could have saved some time on art by deciding my style better in the planning stage. I also could have shaved some time off level design by only implementing things in the maps as I went. There was a bunch of tile flags in the final room that went unused because I didn’t have enough time to implement the cutscene I was planning. I also wouldn’t have bothered making JSIL builds until after the compo ended because it was really just a port. I lost a bit of time implementing something and then finding out I’d have to do it a different way to appease JSIL.


There are a pile of gameplay bugs (Not breaking and most of them work in the player’s favor) mostly due to the rush at the end to get 23 different card types working.  I think some of them might only be in the JSIL port but I haven’t had a chance to look into them.


This game had quite a bit of GUI work and not very good base code for it (I intend to rectify that in my library before the next LD). And I didn’t have time to code proper window backgrounds so the text is a bit hard to read at times.

If you haven’t done so yet, Play it here

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