A Precious Arrow : Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@benjamin_soule_)
December 18th, 2013 3:54 am

Fight monsters and boss with just ONE arrow in A Precious Arrow



What went right :

Platformer Trauma healing :
Making a platformer is a classic choice for most of us but I was really scared about it because I had a huge failure at LD20.
Back then, I just spent most of my time on high res animation ( by high res I mean 32×32 😀 )  and collisions detections.
I decided use this experience as a lesson and retry. By using only 16×16 tiles and very simple collisions system I was able to do better than my first attempt.

Editor :
I had to choose between notepad levelediting or try to invest time in a basic level editor. I spent a couple of hours on the second solution and I dont regret it.
It mades my game edition a lot easier : I was able to switch to edit mode in any place and each change was saved on a cookie.
At the end I was able to travel, modify game flags and edit world very quickly, it helped me a lot for leveldesign but also had bad consequences ( see later : high difficulty )

Sprite Editing :
With my previous LD entry Four Scepter I learned to use limited color palette. I’m still a bit newbie at this, but it’s already saving me a lot of time and give the game some fine art style ( which is usually not my best ).

Specific monster’s mechanic  :
For this game I wanted most of my monsters to have a specific mechanic and not to be cloned over and over on all screens.
I think it’s what makes shadow of the beast games so special. It makes each screen unique and give the player the will to explore the world.
Of course because I was in 48h jam I lacked time to design all the monsters I wanted and I had to fill up gap with those bugs, bats and frogs. But I still have 4-5 unique monsters and i’m pretty happy about it 😀

What went wrong :

High difficulty :
That’s the main problem. Every comments agree  and I was really unaware of that before I submit the game.
I think I tested the game just bit by bit, without having a vision of the whole. Each time I designed a part I was gaining skills by testing it over and over without realizing how much time people will need to gain those skill without the dev cheat mode.

Unclear goals :
Some of my puzzles can be solved with skills instead of the real solution. That is a very BAD idea. It refrains people from looking the clever solution and reinforce the feeling of a high difficulty game.

Ending sequence :
I spent way too much time on them. I was happy about it,  even had 2x differents ending for the game. The problem started when I realize how difficult the game was and that very few people will actually see them. This is the second time I make this mistake ( first was with LD22 entry : Final Trip Soccer ).

3 Responses to “A Precious Arrow : Post Mortem”

  1. Colapsydo says:

    I’m not sure the puzzles/rooms were difficult per se.
    However the fact check points where rare and discrete is .
    As a consequence it makes you redo entire portions of the game increasing the chances to die thus the perceive difficulty.
    It’s also what gives the game its old school touch, but may be discouraging for a player who have a “small” game expectation.

    Imho, the difficulty doesn’t spoil the fun of this well furnished game.
    I found the monkey and the boat, still looking for the washing machine.

  2. Benjamin says:

    😀 I definitively need to put a washing machine in this game. And a cabbage too.

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