Adventure: A post mortem

Posted by (twitter: @laaph023)
May 12th, 2013 6:47 pm

I survived another Ludum Dare.  Me and about 10 other programmers went to a museum, ate pizza, drank soda, engaged in other unhealthy activities (actually I did mostly DDR:Max2 until we found DDR:SuperNova, but those were the healthy options, other popular options were playing Battletoads), and after 48 hours, showed off our results to each other, the founder of the museum, and a couple of other interested onlookers.

I was highly disappointed I didn’t finish.  But I scrambled to get it done, and I submitted it in its unfinished state.  As many people commented, I could have easily finished it up on Monday in the Jam time frame, but really I’ve got stuff to do Monday and after marathoning all weekend the last thing I want to do is keep working on it.

I submitted it, and I also wanted to take another look at its state.  My first commentary on this game is that I had no idea the direction it was going, from start to finish.  Well, at some point, I had the idea it would just be a collection of simple puzzles, something people would likely go through once to say “oh hey that’s cool enough” but highly unlikely play ever again (unless except they got bonked off of level two and wanted to retry to see the rest of the game).

What went right:

  • People seemed to like it.  This surprised me, as it seemed to me that there was no game at all in this.  No really, you like this?
  • For having no plans, just laying stuff out, for just experimenting, everything went better than expected.  I started thinking minimal: “what could be more minimal than a cube on a plane?” But then I thought “well there has to be something this cube wants, why not a sphere?”  After the sphere puts up the sign, well, there should be a castle that the princess is in, right?  And it just flowed from there.
  • 3D models.  I don’t know if my skill in using Blender just went up three levels since the last time I used it, but I had no problem making assets in Blender and with “all those cubes” in Unity.  I mean, I don’t think I’ll be winning prizes on polycount.com any time soon, but considering that my usual experience with Blender starts with “how do I use this thing again” and ends with “well I guess that will do if people squint…”, I was quite impressed with myself.  Of course, last time I was quite impressed with myself on graphics, the commentary was that the graphics were horrible.  I guess that is more a commentary on how confident I am in my graphical ability than how good they really are.

What went wrong:

  • I didn’t finish it.  This fact bothers me a lot more than it should, but I guess that’s personal.
  • Camera.  I kind of liked the Grim Fandango-esque of camera movement, but it really didn’t behave, in almost all situations.  I spent more time on it than I should and still got frustrated.  If anyone has hints on how to deal with the camera in Unity I’d appreciate it.  I was trying to use the default third person cameras controllers in Unity (Assets->Import Package->Character Controller, then delete everything but the Camera scripts) which I thought would be better than rolling my own.
  • More bugs.  Most of the bugs I noticed but kept adding more stuff with the idea of “well if I take time to fix bugs, I won’t finish”, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did if I didn’t just give up on camera, inventory, upside down signs, and other issues.
  • Difficulty.  I had intended to make the key a little harder to find, or just harder to find than the door (the idea is that you find the door and castle first).
  • Blue on black text.  This looks good in a web page, but a few people who didn’t get the game from Ludum Dare and thus didn’t read the commentary that you could play the text adventure without the rest of the game literally didn’t see that there was a text adventure on the wall.
  • Sound.  What sound?  I had great plans to add sounds all over the places, at least feedback sounds for when you pick up/drop/bonk in to things/etc.

Random commentary:

  • I’m glad that everyone has enjoyed it, and this makes me want to rate everyone’s games so I can get a rating too.  When I was being mopey and just thinking that I should just push this off a cliff, I thought “well good, I don’t have to be playing all your games and coming up with ratings”.  But now I kinda want to be rated, because others have indicated appreciation, and I wonder if I pull off enough ratings, even if I don’t get top marks, maybe it would it be worth it.
  • On that note, LD #26 has produced some awesome games!  Normally it’s a chore to rate games, but I’ve played several games that were quite fun and I didn’t just play them to rate them!  (Despite this I think I have only played and rated about five games.  I promise, I’ll rate a few more!)
  • Popular culture references:  There was a post on here on ludumdare.com ranting about games using popular culture references.  In this game, I blatantly steal ideas from the Atari game Adventure (including the title!) as well as referencing Super Mario Brothers “I’m sorry, but the princess is in another castle!”  I think this, plus text adventures, pushed “happy memory” buttons in some gamers.  One person told me that if I had just made a 3D implementation of Atari Adventure he would have given it top marks.  I don’t know how much bump this gave my game, but I suspect some.  To be honest, the whole Adventure theme came when I made that castle and I thought “hey, that castle looks quite a lot like the one from that old Atari game”, and I replayed it to remind myself what it was like.
  • Finishing post compo:  I think the only reason I would do this is to feed it to my onegameamonth account, which is looking pretty dismal with only a game finished in January (but, eh, three unfinished games since then?  I was doing better than this last year, without any 1GAM toys).  It’s probably true that it will take another day to finish to what I had in mind for LudumDare, but I really don’t think that I will take the time to finish this.  If I do, I will likely spend a little more time on it and add more Adventure-ish things, such as larger wrap-around mazes, additional castles, and a carryable bridge.  Some of which might be very hard in Unity.

Once I get past the initial disappointment of not finishing, this was an awesome Ludum Dare!  Thank you to everyone who came down to the MADE and worked on their adventures with me!  (Hey I should rate those, since I’ve played them all, that would give me an additional six games I can say I have rated.)  Thank you to the MADE for pizza and soda!

Also, since everyone else is posting their favorite games, I might as well too.

Looking for love – by Filth And Money – made with me at the MADE!

Gods Will Be Watching – by GreyShock – I can’t believe this was made in a weekend.


One Response to “Adventure: A post mortem”

  1. Yeah, really I liked it!

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