It has taken me four LD games to finally write a postmortem of one of them. So here we go with the postmortem of Subject 127.
The game is a fast paced platformer that take place in a dystopian future, where everybody had a 10 second innactive bomb implanted. If Mr. Evilthorne didn’t like you for whatever reason, the bomb would be activated and your life would finish within 10 seconds. Subject 127 didn’t like that and she started her quest for Mr. Evilthorne lair to put an end at his reign.
- This is my second attempt at a platformer, being my previous try at LD24 (you can play). That first platformer was… well, pretty bad, with a lame jump mechanic, a strange character movement and odd collisions. Most of those problems have been solved in this game. It’s far from perfect, but I’m happy with the result.
- I’ve managed to keep the feature-creep at bay. The “won’t be cool if…” is present in all my previous LD entries and, as result, they all seem unfinished and unpolished, but in this one I tried to keep it simple, and this is really an achievement as a game developer!
- I started this jam thinking I was working alone, but Monday came and with it, some help. The cinematic characters were redrawn by someone who knows what she was doing, I was given ideas to make some intereseting levels and the story changed to something a bit more interesting (there’s a bit of info in a wall-text tutorial talking about gas, that was something about the previous story, now is nonsense, lol).
- Vector art. My art skills are very rusty, but using Inkscape to create the game graphics allowed me to create clean drawings and some animations I’m proud of.
- At first, I thought the game was machine independet, but when I played it in my laptop, the character behaviour was slower than expected and her jumps weren’t high enough (the odd thing here is that my laptop has better hardware than my main PC, hence there was code that made the game run slower in better machines, madness!). As I didn’t try the game on other computer until the third day, I had to rewrite the code to make sure that issue was solved.
- Related to that point, it’s the collision detection. The game is using Unity’s Physic.Raycast to check collisions, which I think it is time dependant; while the character movement uses the default Unity Update(). I believe this is what causes the character to pass through the floor or some wall, a critical issue in a fast paced platformer.
- I wanted to feature from 20 to 40 levels, but using the final day to fix the machine-independency issue left me with just three hours of level design. So I rushed 10 levels, just making sure they were beatables and that they went from very easy to hard (although level 8 is the hardest because of the poor testing of the jump over the three saws).
- Lacking a proper camera script made some jumps riskier than intended.
- Not using enough testing subjects. For example, I felt the difference between the short and long jump was all right, but after some testing, people told me that it was too easy to miss the short jump window.
You can play Subject 127 here.