Spring Crate Post Mortem

Posted by
December 31st, 2013 5:40 pm

Hey everyone!
This was my second Ludum Dare, and I had a ton of fun with it. I thought I’d share my thoughts on my entry here.

SPRING CRATE!

I made a game called Spring Crate. You Only Get One button… spacebar. (and only 1 life and whatever else there’s only one of, but spacebar is the basis.)

Spring Crate

I had trouble starting off figuring out what I would do for this LD. I think I wasted 3 or so hours until I found an idea I could stick with. At first I was going to do a unicycle game..

Unicycle

I quickly scrapped the idea. I actually got the physics working pretty well (better than the gif above) but it wasn’t exactly up to my standards, and i had no idea where to go with the game after that anyway.

Soon i had the idea to use only 1 button. I really like innovative games built around physical limitations through gameplay, so I decided I would go through with it. I didn’t want to make a generic move right forever, use button to jump, type game. I wanted a full on platformer, or other, based around one button. I brainstormed ideas of ways to move freely with 1 button and no mouse, and soon came up with the idea on Spring Crate! I had the idea that you could use a button to aim, set power, and launch yourself to another place on the screen, and rotations constantly also gave it some automatic movement!

I quickly drew up some base images (which turned out to be the images i would use in-game) for the character, and all the assets. I usually create a large scrap/dump image of all art assets for my games. it helps me visualize how things look and to keep with the general artistic theme and style.

Scraps
(blacked out some spoilers ;D)

I got to work with the physics, rotation, animations, level designs, and all. I spent the vast majority of my time just building levels.

I think I spent WAAY too much time with the level design, but I reallly wanted to make it look good. I put in a bunch of detail in the backgrounds and foregrounds of each level, and I had a total of 104 unique tiles that I used, for both the foreground and background. I was really pleased with the visual outcome of my work 😀

1
1

Between level design work, I managed to create 18 different music tracks and 20 different sound effects! This blew my mind because I am never musically inspired or inclined, and I rarely have the motivation to make sound effects to put in, at least to my standards of sound.

Then in the last ~5 hours, I made the dreaded ending. The thing that NOBODY has seen up until the time of this post.
I envisioned this happening, where nobody had the motivation to actually complete the game and see the ending that I spent nearly a fifth of my time in the competition on. The same thing happened with my last LD entry. Weather it’s too hard, too long, too boring, etc., nobody beat it. Maybe that will change by the end of the LD, who knows, but I highly doubt it.

The ending is complete with 3 music tracks, a whole ending cutscene, 4 or more sound effects, fades, bunch of images, animations, everything.

And i did that on purpose. I knew nobody would beat it. Well, no, i hoped, and still do hope, that people beat it, but I wanted the ending to be an actual reward. Not only do you get the satisfaction of beating an actually challenging, full length game, unlike most of the entries, but you also get to enjoy a well put together ending for your pleasure. That is what I want out of my games, a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. 😀

END LONG STORY TIME

POST-MORTEM:


What went right/wrong (analysis):

  • Music: The music very much surprised me, how I actually had the motivation and inspiration to create any music, much less ~10 tracks, and that I actually liked. The music is kinda repetitive and maay get annoying, as there were some complaints about that, but I tried my best to make it as least repetitive as possible. I still like it.
  • Sounds: The sounds, I felt, were not very annoying and added a lot to the game’s atmosphere. I feel like the sounds I made were high quality to my standards (in a non-8-bit sense, because they are 8 bit sounds xD)
  • Art: The art was one of the things I liked most about my entry. I usually have trouble making art up to my standards for my games, and I rarely find any inspiration or motivation to make any good art. But i managed to make a full 104 tiles tileset (plus some with the grass textures), clouds, backgrounds and foregrounds, *SPOILERS*, and the main character art! I also am very pleased with the animations i did! I feel like the speed and visuals of them fit nicely.
  • Theme: I feel like the theme couldn’t be implemented more well. I mea, what’s mistakeable about 1 buttom? You only get 1 button, go do it. I guess it isn’t the most innovative, but a lot of entries I saw completely disregarded the theme.
  • Gameplay: The gameplay is the most important part of this game. The entire game is centered around the gameplay of only having 1 button, which is the main part of how the game follows the theme. I tested everything many many times to get the right speeds, amounts, forces, drags, everything, to make the playing experience the best it could. I still got some criticism about the rotating being too slow/too fast or that, of course, it was too hard. I wanted the game to be challenging, not hard, in a sense. I wanted it to be very rewarding when you complete any task, maybe just as little as making it up the first mountain or making a simple jump, without being annoying or frustrating. I still feel like people think it’s too hard, and i can definitely see that and i can agree. I’m also biased since I not only made the game and spent hours “practicing”, but I am also very good at these types of games. So This was probably the part that went the most wrong, but it is the core element of the game. so if it went wrong any, it was going to be a bigger deal than anything else that may have went wrong.
    Here’s a comment I wrote on this topic:
    “I think my problem with this was I tried making an actual full game in the time allotted, rather than making a game for Ludum Dare, similar to games entered in the competition. I doubt anyone will finish it. But if this were a standalone game not for the purpose of this competition, it would be seen as a better game. But that’s just my thought”
    I still feel very invested in this opinion. I made a game of near perfect length and difficulty, but for the wrong environment. If this were a standalone, web game or other, this would be seen as a good challenge, and would drive people to complete it much better than how it is now, where people are here to quickly open the game up, see what it’s about, get kinda far, or to whatever point they get at all bored, then quit, write a comment sometime, and go on their way playing another of the thousands of entries. I’m definitely not saying it’s Ludum Dare’s or the player’s fault that they don’t beat the game, I’m saying it’s my fault for creating a game for a different target audience, per se.
  • That was my rant on my own game’s difficult. Done with that XD

    Rotate
    😀 😀 😀 😀


    TL;DR:

    I had a lot of fun, I am very very pleased with what I had made, and the only thing I see that went pretty wrong was the difficulty, which i still think is a good difficulty, but maybe not for a quick Ludum Dare game.

    Thank’s a lot if you did read through my post and/or play my game! It means so much to me. I love aaalll the feedback I’m getting for my game! It’s the best feeling in the world :DD

    And an EXTREMELY special thanks and congrats to anybody who actually beats the game! It’s very much doable, but still. 😀

    Have a happy new year!


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