Kill Ville Post Mortem

Posted by
December 25th, 2012 1:02 pm

Well, ConflictiveLabs here.

It’s our second entry to the ludumdare jam as a team and we are quite proud of what we made.

Haven’t played our game “Kill Ville” yet? Go on, give it a try.

Kill Ville, The ultimate Noir city simulator. Fog and street lamps didn’t make it on the final product though.

Unlike our past Jam this time we decided to gather at a physical location and work together under the same roof. Alejandro let us use the office as headquarters during the weekend so we had a nice big place at our disposal. So far so good.

We still used assembla for our code repository and Skype for the first night of work since it would mostly involved discussing the theme.

 

The Chain of Events…

Friday: For this first stage we decided to use the same strategy we used in LD24: we met online around the time the theme was supposed to be announced. “You are the villain, huh?”. We scratched our heads for a moment. Our goal was to have the game concept decided before calling it a day but none of us was feeling terribly creative that night. We closed the day with two very broad and open game ideas and the promise of giving them a second thought and meeting at the office the next day with a few concrete proposals to discuss. It was a bit disappointing because we didn’t achieve what we expected that night.

Saturday: We met at the office after lunch time. We all brought a few things to eat and drink so we had the day covered. To be fair we discarded most of what we talked the night before. We had a few neat ideas, but we were not particularly excited for any of them. Then one of us (elmismopancho) suggested to take the theme literally as the accusation. That was it. It was Pandora’s box opening; we liked the idea immediately and we all instantaneously envisioned the game in our minds. We started discussing how it would be played, how it should look, etc. In like 20 minutes we had the whole game outlined.

One of our  colleagues was interested in making the music for the game so we gave him a call and explained the general game idea to him. We also talked a bit about how we wanted the game to feel. We tried to find a few references but that was it… He then set himself on the quest of making the music. It felt good to have additional support for one of the areas none of us actually was covering.

So, being like 4 PM we started working on the actual game.

Alejandro paid us a visit a few moments later. He liked the game idea and wanted to help, so we gave him the task of filling the world with life. We needed different thoughts for the people who would inhabit the city; we needed the city to feel alive. He sat on his desk and delved head first into his task. He later brought us a list of 150-180 life-filled thoughts of the most assorted kind for us to use in-game. We had to leave out a few that were too long to fit the “speech bubble” but most of them made it into the game.

We left the office around 00:30 AM. We would meet there again around 11:00 AM that day to resume the development.

 

Sunday:  We met at the office. Another colleague of ours contacted us, offering his help as well.  He started working on a nice intro screen for the game. We kept working on the game, reducing the scope and features a little so we could finish on time. Around 5 PM we closed the development to focus on polish. We also took our time to decide the name. When we were about to give up our artist ilovepixel came up with “Kill Ville”. Pure genius.

That night we ended up with a complete game, minus the score system, which was left for whatever-free-time-we-may-have on Monday.

 

The Good

  • Working under the same roof was fun and productive, although it required additional effort from everyone.
  • Having extra hands doing specific tasks helped us concentrate on the core game. We also were able to deliver a more polished experience in the end. Every friend that helped us made a terrific job and we truly appreciate their help. Without them the game wouldn’t be the same.
  • We managed to finish on time despite having a hard time thinking on the game concept.

 

The Bad

  • I think that we were all tired. Partly because it’s natural to be tired after a year full of work. As result we struggled quite a lot to come up with the game idea.
  • I think there was a point where we all forgot about the time limit because we started adding more and more features to the basic  idea. Naturally quite a few of them didn’t made it into the game (like clues, other people besides the villain displaying odd behavior, generating a psychological profile for every citizen and having the killer have “likes” and “dislikes” which would hint who his next victim might be… etc). We could have used that time to think on simpler ideas to flesh out the game that would not require that much effort or actually defining important things that we left for the last moment like the score system and such.

 

Again, if you haven’t played our game I strongly encourage you to try it and please leave us a message so we can try your game as well. We truly appreciate feedback.

Have everyone a merry (and very indie) game-dev xmas! :)

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