Oxy Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @hbocao)
August 31st, 2013 11:53 am

Hey there,

I made a little game called Oxy (please give some feedback) and here it’s its postmortem.

The background

I like games and I play a lot of them. I got into programming because I wanted to make one, but never finished any worth showing project.

The Beginning

I wasn’t going to enter LD. I was only waiting for the theme announcement and I was just going to play around. I had no idea of what tools to use or how to make it. The theme was out around friday at 23h where I live and I stayed up until 2h in the morning trying to think of something to start. All I got was an “old” idea that could be adapted to the theme, but it didn’t feel right. So I went off to bed and started thinking about giving up.

The Concept

The basic idea of 2 divers in an underwater cave only hit Saturday morning. From this moment on I had a blast of ideas. Some of them were good and others, totally crap. Like the idea of moving the 2 characters at same time. I’m so glad I didn’t push it. It would ruin what become the best decision I took. Finally I got to the idea of having the 2 characters, but one of them would be unconscious and would be in need to be dragged around. Both would be in a underwater lab that would need 2 people in different positions at the same time to push the buttons to open doors. The only thing that I was certain about it, was [SPOILER-select to read] that Dave wouldn’t make to the end alive. My main goal was to make the player feel attached to Dave and then, well, kill him. [/SPOILER]

The bad

  • Instructions: I think I could have made a better job at explaining the game to the player. I made the “title”, “game over” and “win screen” in a heartbeat before the due time. I almost forgot to include the controls.
  • Planing: I hadn’t planned anything at all. Not even whether I was going to participate or not. That made difficult to polish some ideas. Next time, I hope to be more prepared.
  • Short: This is kinda good for the competition, but I wish I did more story-wise. I wanted to create a connection between Dave and the player, which some people got it, but I think I could have done a better job here. It feels a little forced how it all happens.
  • Difficulty: Well, of course I’m the master of my own game, but there’s other people in the world, with different skills and patience. Once you died, you had to go through all again. As some user stated, it felt like a chore (even if at the end it was a rewarding one). Some people suggested some sort of checkpoint but I think that would break the immersion. It just needed to be a little more easier.

The good

  • Finished: Hell yeah. I f****** did it! I finished something that I’m not afraid to show. \o/
  • Music and sound: Many users loved the music and so do I. I was very lucky to find the Circuli app. I spent a bunch of hours playing with many music generators (because I have no talent), but none of them felt right. I like how I made the sound effects (the 2 of them haha) fits with the music and ambient.
  • Mood: The music really sets it, but I think that the little narrative and dilemma makes it full circle, even with the short duration.
  • Controls: Even while I failed at explaining them, they were pretty easy to master and they felt right.
  • When Dave dies, the game continues: I think this was best design decision that I made. Because when it happens you think “it’s over!”, and then it’s not over, but you have to drag the dead body of your friend. Not everybody got a deeper thought about it in this “silly game with puzzles”, but that’s what I was aiming for, so I’m glad that some people noticed and thought about it.

If I had more time

  • Graphics: I really can’t draw as I stated in my entry post, but I know I could make, at least, the scenery look better and not THAT amateur and generic.
  • WASD: I completely forgot to include these keys. I planned to do it, but I just forgot.
  • Story: I think a better background story for both characters would make it easier to achieve my storytelling goals.
  • More and better puzzles: Well, that’s pretty much it. More and better puzzles. :)
  • Two endings: I wanted to make two endings: [SPOILER MAYBE-select to read] One if you crossed the final door with Dave and another if you didn’t.[/SPOILER MAYBE]

Future

I really liked my idea, but the execution was mediocre to good, I guess. So I intend to take this to another level. Make it a full game. I hope to do so.

Final thoughts

I had a wonderfull time. It was an intensive, scary, stressed and fun weekend. I finally finished something to be proud of. And people got it and liked it and this feels so good. This little experiment incentivated me to push more and harder now. I have met some incredible minds behind the games I rated so far and I’m excited to keep in touch.

Thanks for reading and please, pretty please give some feedback. :)

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4 Responses to “Oxy Post-mortem”

  1. poohshoes says:

    I have rated 50 games and this is my favorite so far!

  2. Gabriel says:

    Hey, you’re being too harsh on your self evaluation man! Seriously! At your first attempt, you managed to make something that many can’t even after several LDs: create a game that feels complete. Sure it is a very little game and sure you could use more time to make some things a little better (the checkpoint thing, or graphics, or control explanation as you stated), but for some reason, even as it is, it already feels like a complete game, not a test. That is quite something!

    The most way people start in this is: “ok, I have an AWESOME idea for the theme! I just need to draw these 200 characters and build these 27 systems”. Then the guy kinda sticks to the plan till 90% of the time is gone, then he gets in panic and does his best to wrap everything into something that is at least presentable. That is ok, of course, and most of us have gone through that (hell, excessively ambitious scope is probably *the* most common beginner mistake we go through, not only as beginners btw). The single greatest advantage of starting out with a realistic scope like you did is that, even without crazy levels of polish, the final game still has this inherent feel of complete, of being what it aimed to be. That is great. :)

    • hbocao says:

      Thank you for reading and for the kind words. :)
      I’m always harsh on me. I’m kind of a lazy perfectionist haha
      Or it goes the way I imagined or I give up. Maybe that’s why I never finished something.
      I’ll keep trying! I definitely got a boost of confidence right now 😀 Let’s see how long it lasts haha

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