The Crown Jewels Job – Autopsy

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January 14th, 2013 4:23 am

Opening myself up here, but to be honest I’m deeply disappointed about our LD score history. I expected more of us; we aimed higher, and we hoped to make something that would please and wow the crowd.

And we abjectly failed, again.

We’ve always aimed to challenge norms; in LD23 we’d tried to put graphics into text adventures in an interesting, new way. We’ve tried to enter a multi-player on-line game in LD24, and we’ve tried in LD25 to make a 2D platform game without tiles.

We really are overactive underachievers.

Our highest LD25 score was for music. We were perhaps not clear enough that that was the one thing we had not ourselves made :( It was a track we’d picked up on the Internet, and we thought we’d explained that.

So why did we fail so miserably? Bad control.  We should have had a lot more and we lacked in plenty of areas, but I think that the playability was most affected by the bad control.

Its fairly non-trivial to do collision with arbitrary lines and so on, and do it efficiently too. Our collision code, which we’d written for the game and mostly as the deadline loomed, was immature and incomplete. We should of course have learned how to code it before the jam, or borrowed a library or something.  But we’re not really borrowing-code-libraries kind-of-people.

And what happens is that you do badly in a core area such as control and people voting just give you a low score across the board. We got 1.92 for innovation which just means we hid the code well I guess.

I’m deeply saddened that we didn’t score higher for graphics, as I myself am in awe of my team-mate’s artistic prowess and thing it deserved more. A very big part of that is my fault, as I also didn’t get around to good GLSL lighting. Meaning the whole making the scene out of meshes thing didn’t work, and it was hard to see where the platforms were because of the uniform shading.

In previous LDs the winners have always wowed me. I’ve always looked down the winners list and been awed and inspired. This time its been a whole lot, well, distanced. I don’t mean to take anything from the winners and everyone else in on the game; I think its in a large part because I didn’t find the theme exciting.

We had had an alternative game that was a FarmRomanVilla thing; Zynga being villains and villain being a medieval French word for farm worker and all. All actually inspired by a recent episode of Time Team I’d watched where they excavated a Roman villa in Britain…  But whilst that was very much the kind of game I like making, I think it would have disappointed just as badly as the lets-make-a-platform-game,-they-always-do-well game that we tried.

Its been a introspective start to the new year. Our strength is art and we do ok-ish at coding too, but general story and game-play, audio (we’re both terribly untalented musically) and overarching fun we fail miserably at.

I know I’m supposed to end on a high note of future optimism and enthusiasm and a promise to try harder and come back next time. But its hard to muster the bravado. Time heals, so maybe we’ll be back for another beating; we’ll see.

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