Villager Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @Zazanxors)
April 29th, 2014 9:04 pm

I’d never entered a Game Jam until now, and I”m happy to say it was great! I’ve never had so much fun developing, and never, ever been so productive either! I was slow to start, but towards the end I was rushing due to the time constraint; 529 lines of Javascript, 72 lines of HTML, 151 of CSS for a total of 752 lines of code in 72 hours. May not be too much to some, but for me, that’s a huge record!

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Despite only hearing of the jam 9 hours before it began, I got a pretty good start! I got stuck for an idea for a while, just barely managing to get one before Saturday, and prepare a basic template with which to build the game on.

After that, the rest of the next day was spent preparing the first few features. Getting the actual text input done was actually one of the easiest parts, since I was re-using code I’d developed recently in another unreleased game of mine with the same thing. After that, I ran into another design halt as I tried to figure out what I’d do for the left side of the screen, such as whether I’d use buttons or pure text input. Once I got over that (took about an hour alone) I added the first four resources, the day system and the first few commands.

Results of Saturday

Results of Saturday

Sunday started off pretty good – I had a decent plan going; finish off the game’s features, then work on story and polish tomorrow. As for finishing the features, I didn’t end up managing that, though I did get most of it.

Throughout Sunday, I managed to add village professions to help automatically generate resources and take some of the difficulty off, added a little ‘exhaustion’ mechanic to prevent gather-spamming, add the ‘time’ command and put in the resource stats, all the while attempting to tackle a strange bug thought I fixed that I still don’t understand.

Sunday's outcome.

Sunday’s outcome.

Monday was definitely hectic. I spent the better portion of the day implementing upgrades – something I hadn’t originally planned on adding at all – and then another half hour to slowly find out why this suddenly didn’t work, to find variables I forgot to change when I refactored some code earlier.

After finishing upgrades, and spending even more time on adding more info for the professions, I finally got to work on the story and add a win condition with 3 hours left til’ the Jam ended. After some quick designing, I ended up deciding to change the story from it’s original direction. I first had decided the end would involve you finding the villagers to actually be cultists, and to run away after discovering one of the terrible rituals they held, but instead settled on something subtler, although the ending ended up no less sudden.

Three hours remaining.

Three hours remaining.

After rushing to fix a few bugs that were discovered with the ending and add a Favicon, the game was submitted and complete.

I’m actually really surprised with the outcome of the game, and very happy I managed to complete so much of the original idea – and then a little more! Better yet was seeing the first few comments on the game, which were surprisingly positive! I ran into a bump with hosting, but this was easily resolved by putting a mirror up on Google Drive.

Things that went well

  • Keeping the idea to something I could handle – This was stretched a little bit, with me barely finished before time was up, but I nonetheless managed to keep the plans to just the right size for me to get everything done and still put out something good.
  • The chosen language – I picked HTML5 because I’ve got some pretty good and recent experience with it, having worked on two incremental games before this, so I was able to get to the game quickly and easily.
  • The outcome – I am very pleased with what I managed. I never thought I’d be able to pull this off in 72 hours.
  • Getting sleep, eating well and going outside – I actually took more walks outside than I usually did, and took regular breaks to get away from it, kept fed and got plenty of sleep each night, which I think played a good part in making the end result what it is.

Things that didn’t go so good

  • Planning – I didn’t really get too much of a chance to do it very much, what with having only 9 hours of awareness that the Ludum Dare was even going on – a lot of which was spent wondering if I’d even join.
  • The story – What with it being more last-minute, I wasn’t able to flesh it out as much as I would’ve liked.

Suffice to say I’ve had a whale of a time doing this, and am ecstatic I decided to join. I’ll most definitely be here in August to do it all again!

Villager can also be found here, if you’d like to play it:

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=36267

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