PUSH Postmortem

Posted by
December 29th, 2013 12:45 pm

Hi! In this post, I will try to discuss the process behind developing our entry for this Ludum Dare, PUSH.

Unlike most of my postmortems, I will not break this one into days because there isn’t much to write about this game. :(

Originally, we didn’t even plan on joining this Ludum Dare, because we all had a lot of tests and didn’t think we’d have the time. We originally thought of the idea when we first saw the theme, but that was it – it was just an idea.

Mati & Itamar began drawing some doodles, just in case we would actually make something, and lo and behold; we did. I took a look at the graphics and realized this wouldn’t require too much work on my side (I’m the coder), as the engine would be really simple. Here are some Alpha graphics:

Speranky Spider Web Trap wtfq

 

The general idea is set in an Indiana Jones universe, where our adventurer can only push one item per level. How would this concept play the main mechanic in a puzzle game though was what kept us busy for most of the Dare. We weren’t sure how levels would be designed, what would impose a challenge, what new elements we could introduce or how difficult the game would turn out to be.

I coded the engine and we had a soundless game with the adventurer who would teleport 16 pixels every time we pressed an arrow key. Rocks would also teleport (or get pushed) once per level. It was ugly, but it was set in stone.

screenshot100

 

Also, yes, that’s the Spelunky idol! We originally wanted the game to be an homage to Spelunky, but we later dropped the idea when we realized this could make people angry.

If you play PUSH, you’ll notice that the level design panders to utilizing that one push to piece a level together, e.g pushing a rock into a hole so that we may later tread on it. Designing the puzzles was the hardest part of working on the game. I designed most of the puzzles myself throughout the third day, while Mati and Itamar designed the first ones and the last puzzle (which is also the hardest).

WalkTrue LVL20

We also had to change the order of some puzzles to make the game become increasingly difficult as you play. When we let our playtesters play, they told us some of the earlier levels were harder than the later ones, which is what triggered the level shift.

As we continued to work, we wanted to achieve the polish most of our games have. We think ‘eye candy’ and pacing are two of the more important things a game in a jam should have. I added some math algorithms so that items wouldn’t teleport but instead slide to their new positions (it’s really just x += (targetX – x)/2), a bouncing effect and animation to the player for when he moves, dust particles (which I think almost all of our games have) and sound effects. We also had Suezo make us some amazing music which you’ll hear looping throughout the game (the reason it’s called YOPO on Newgrounds is because the game was originally titled “You Only Push Once”).

gifcam4

 

We started going over the levels to see if we could make anything better. We added random rocks and pits, for cosmetic purposes, and also a main menu. Itamar suggested that the menu should actually be in-game, meaning it’s actually another level:

יש לי בר מצווה מחר

We also wanted to include some dialog, but we decided that a silent protagonist is classier. I regret not adding names to levels though. (“Humble Beginnings”, “Firebrand”, I had plenty of them!)

And now!:

What went right?

  • Polish – Something that is very important to us.
  • Easy to learn – The game itself is easy to understand and play, but that doesn’t make it as forgiving you’d expect!
  • Music  – Once again, the lovely Jason Lord.
  • NO BUGS – Ok, this might sound a little dumb, but I *HATE* having bugs in my games, and I usually have them when I make a game for a jam. Fortunately, because the engine is so simple in this one, there weren’t any. Yay!
  • Double player feature – One of the features I’m more fond of. I thought of the concept of controlling two adventurers while designing levels. It required me to completely rewrite most of the engine, but I’m sure people appreciate it.
  • Gradual Difficulty – The game introduces new mechanics and gets progressively harder the more the player plays, which is something nice for a puzzler.

What went wrong?

  • A little too hard – Especially on the last two levels.
  • No easter egg – We love hiding the Lonebot logo in our games, but we didn’t know where to put it this time.
  • Workplace – Because we didn’t plan on joining this Ludum Dare, we didn’t work at the same space which made development slower. Makes me wonder what the game would’ve been if we had worked at the same place!
  • Stress – Because I barely had time to work on the game, everything felt a bit rushed, so appreciating the final result was kinda hard for me.

So that’s it! I would really appreciate if you play and rate our game!

Here is a bonus of gif of level 19 being solved:

gifcam5

 

Thanks for the read. Until next time!

PS gifcam is awesome. You should check it out.

PSS It’s snowing in Lonebot.net!

 

Tags:


5 Responses to “PUSH Postmortem”

  1. H-Bomb says:

    Really inspiring :)
    Now I have to play all of your games!

  2. Jiggawatt says:

    >What went wrong?
    >A little too hard – Especially on the last two levels.

    Nonono. The difficulty was the best part of this game. Great pacing, every level had some increased challenge that made me think, but it still felt fair and rewarding when I eventually solved them. The last two levels were some friggin’ brilliantly designed puzzles that utilized everything I’d been taught so far.

  3. Leon van Noord says:

    Hey, I haven’t seen this game up untill now, will give it a try! I just hope I don’t encounter a lot of Zubats while pushing the boulders :)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]