Essense Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @jorjongames)
May 2nd, 2013 6:56 pm



Minimalism exposes the essence of a subject, through eliminating all non-essential forms…

Essense is an atmospheric serene first person “puzzle”. Really cool for a relaxing moment before going to bed.

In this post-mortem, I’ll try to explain what things of the development process made me mad, what made me sad, and what made me glad.


I Suck At Making Levels

Yeah, now I know. Usually I don’t play puzzles, so it was a real challenge making one. I was trying to figure out good puzzles to include in the game, levels that would be fun to play. I guess I didn’t chose well, because…

Levels Are Really Hard

I think it’s a problem of communication. I wasn’t able to find an effective way to communicate what the puzzle was about. Sure, you have to grab the red cube, but what’s the mechanic of the level? That and some difficult controls (which I modified now), has led my game to be almost unbeatable.

Power Outages And Plain Bad Luck

I guess the world didn’t want me to participate in Ludum Dare. I have gathered a list of things that happened to me this weekend:

  • 3 power outages of about 2/3 hours each.
  • Computer broke the first 3 hours. I had to waste 2 hours fixing it.
  • Laptop has temperature issues and I couldn’t use it to develop at all.
  • Internet went down for about 3 hours.
  • One of the outages corrupted my Unity project so I had to start again.


Lot Of Time Testing

If you watch my timelapse, you will find that I was spending lot of time testing my game. That surely was one of the reasons why my game is difficult: the more I tested my game, the easier it was for me, so the more I increased the difficulty.

But why I tested it so much? Well because the atmosphere was really cool so I played lot of time to hear the music, read the messages, etc. That’s because I was…

Not Organized At All

So I had to make lots of things, but I couldn’t make a list like my previous Ludum Dare. I don’t know why, I just didn’t think it was necessary. So I wasted a lot of time working on the atmosphere first (I had the music very early on), and not much time in the mechanics.


Unity3D Editor

So one of the wonderful things about Unity3D is that you can extend your editor to make custom tools. I created tools for the logic puzzle and the jumping puzzle, which allowed me to modify them quickly.


For creating the blocks in the dodge level, I made a parser that reads a simple script, describing how the level should be created. Then Generate creates all the blocks in the corresponding positions.

The first letter correspond of where the block will be coming from, North, East or West. The second letter correspond of what position the block will have, Left, Center or Right. If there’s an X at the end, then a Checkpoint is created instead. The special letter S is speed, and O is offset, both followed by a number.


Visual Handlers

For the logic puzzle, I needed something to tell me how was the level being connected. I figured I could do it using the Handles class, using a white arrow indicating a floor that turns on another, and a black arrow indicating a floor that turns off another.

Visual clues helped me know what's happening. Click to enlarge.

Visual clues helped me know what’s happening. Click to enlarge.

Unity3D Pro Effects

So with Unity Pro it is really simple to add fancy post-process effects. I added vignetting and reflection, which lot of people told me it was really cool looking. I was about to add more effects, but that wouldn’t be minimal.

Easy Way To Make Music

I used Paul Stretch along with Audacity to remix a version of Four Seasons of Vivaldi. It was an easy and hacky way to have a beautiful dreamy music. I also was worried that it would be against the rules to remix a song, but I asked in #ludumdare and it was ok.


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4 Responses to “Essense Post Mortem”

  1. ananasblau says:

    Nice one on the music, I think I used paul stretch before, isn’t it a plugin in Audacity? I went the lazy way this time, a few tracks from autotrack and stretched them in the modtracker from 150 to 60 bpm.

  2. evilseanbot says:

    I don’t really think you “I wasted a lot of time working on the atmosphere first” – The atmosphere was excellent and definitely created a lasting impression on me. Its true I would have enjoyed a game with a gentler learning curve, but I think you should be proud that you achieved greatness in one respect (And I think atmosphere is underrated in how much in contributes to a games enjoyment)

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