Min’s Journey — Post-mortem

Posted by
April 30th, 2013 7:26 am

This was our first game jam ever. To all participants: bravo! Well done! We have even more respect for you than we did before this.

As others have said: when the theme came up, we groaned. Honestly, who up-voted that?! 😀 But, we thought “how would we show the *concept* of minimalism through gameplay?” So, this game is all about what minimalism means. It’s subtle. Either that, or no one will get it at all!

I think this was really risky and may be our downfall, here. When you start the game, and for several levels after, you probably won’t think it has anything to do with the theme. But really, the opposite is true; the whole design explores ‘what does minimalism mean?’, but to do that it had to start off showing the opposite of minimalism: a frantic buzz, which then leads you to ‘become minimalist’ gradually. As you proceed, you’ll see that reducing/decluttering makes finding your way clearer, and at the end you find out what’s actually important.

We really hope you like it. Any resemblance to a surprisingly awesome Diablo-ish Gauntlet-type game is entirely coincidental. 😀

screen

But enough of all that nonsense: we FINISHED a game in 72 hours! Woohoo!

Tech: Java, Eclipse, using Mercurial and Bitbucket to share and update. Jorbis and Easyogg for the sound.
Graphics: Inkscape, Gimp 2.6, Blender (2.66). Python for ad-hoc mass coordinate conversion.

Bad stuff that happened:
– TortoiseHg, Eclipse, and Head Revisions/Tips did not play well, and it didn’t seem to merge as seamlessly as it should have. We need to look into why that was.
– I used my own tile editor program, but it’s incomplete and limited. I tried TileStudio. Big mistake! Lost all data twice! Then, after hacking the tileset for use in my custom editor, things went better, but that came back to bite me in the end because I lost a good 2-3 hours converting object coordinates and faffing around with umpteen versions of the tileset. If I can make my tile editor a bit more robust and feature-complete I’ll try to release it for future contests.
– Blender: best program ever (that goes without saying). But, I managed to shoot myself in the foot by trying to group-instance and rig-proxy the Min character with some duplicate variants for the late-game renders. Also must’ve done something crazy with that because Cycles needed about 15 minutes to get up to 300 samples on the scene which should have only contained 2 mesh lights, 2 subsurfed dinky characters, and a 3-subdivision icosphere.
– Gimp: layers, versions, and copying/pasting areas to make tilemaps is hellish under time pressure. Must get a better process for making tile sets in future.

screen2

Lesson learned:
Getting finished graphics early would be a big improvement. It took too long to get ‘final’ sprites. I think I over-cooked the whole graphical thing — making 3 enemies, 3 enemy spawners, and a main character with 6 complete variations each with 12 frames of animation was too long-winded for a project this condensed. But the sprites look good, in the end!

Good stuff:
FINISHED! REALLY HAPPY!

You can find Min’s Journey here:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=21612

Thanks for reading!

– Adam (designer)


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