Tentacle Rails: Post Mortem

April 29th, 2014 11:53 am

Hello, we are very proud about our entry this edition with Tentacle Rails. In the last edition of LD our game had a lot of problem with path-finding and a game of “stealth” was very frustating due the guard-Ai was very awful and didnt work well. Few months have passed and now I have learn a few tricks about Game Maker and coding that have been very useful this time…

When we read about the theme, we did a list of ideas about doing the game. But finally, the chosen idea was thought by the designer Eduardo Perez. I wanted a game with puzzles and he wanted a game with a lot of action. The final idea was a mix of both terms. We didnt wanted to do a runner, and then I thought about a top-view with a wagon.  The art and the magic of “Edu” did the rest and I was focused in find the best way to program this little monster.

comparativa

A comparison between the first design of the level and the final one.

The Best

– This time we haven’t important problems with the code and the understanding between me and the designer artist was perfect. We wanted to offer a good fast experience with few bugs, and it seems that we have got it. The first day was used to design the basis of the game, the second one to develop a lot of auxiliar system and the core of the experience and the last day was used to add all the final art, animations and sounds.

The timing to complete a full level was very close, but eventually, we got it. The last three hours were very stressful: The “end screen” was done few minutes before the sending time.

Another triumph about I am very satisfied, is that this is the first edition where we have exported the game to Html5. In other editions of Ludum Dare I only could submit the game for Windows / Android, and a lot of people couldn’t play them because they use Mac or Linux. This time there aren’t regrets: You only need a beowser to play to Tentacle Rails!

comparison_1

The difference between first day version and third day one.

The Worst

– Using Game Maker Studio to export to Html5 gives a lot of problems. The random numbers didnt work well and I coulnd’t use random elements to complete the levels. A lot of mechanics depended of random numbers like the life of mobs, their size, etc. The position of some objects were to be random too, their scale..

– I wanted that the paths of the mine-cart were dynamic to play with a lot of combinations and more well-thought puzzles. But I had problems with collisions and when a lot of curves where allocated very near one to another. Eventually I had to do a lot of long pre-saved paths that would change in a specify position to charge the path depending of each level.

– We had planned to do a minimum of 4 levels and maybe a final boss. But the timing was (again) bad. The mapping of each level with a lot of individual elements was really slow (each rock wall has about 16 pieces + other details). I didn`t had time to program an automatic system to distribute the items, as a consecuence I only had time to map one level and do the paths code.

Here are some design in paper for two more levels that aren’t in the game:

boceto_1 boceto_2

The learning

As usual, Taking part in Ludum Dare is one of the best experiences that one can have as a indie developer. I had learned a lot about planning, working as a team and trying to release a polished, fun and challenging game. I think that nowadays, the games are each time easier, and one of the targets was to make a classic-style gameplay, difficult to pass but easy to play.

It’s important to believe in your game, in your work, and we will support Tentacle Rails with a Android version in the future with more levels (using ideas that we didn’t have time to implement). Thanks for playing it!

final

Tentacle Rails Entry: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=25708

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