A Day in the Life – Postmortem

Posted by
May 3rd, 2014 1:08 pm

This post will contain spoilers about the game, so be sure to play it first!

Click this to play the game

Now let’s get to it. First I’d like to get the traditional stuff out of the way, so here’s what went right/wrong with development:

What went right

  • I achieved my vision! I’m starting to actually have visions of how I want my games to be, and it’s nice to have it work out as I planned it.
  • Graphics went without a hitch. Sure, they could’ve been better. Considering the fact that I made them, and the short amount of time it took me, they look pretty OK. The important thing is- they function as they should.

What went wrong

  • As people have said in the comments, the game could use some music. Next time, I’ll be sure to just pick something if I don’t have someone to make it. This proved to be more important than I could have foresaw, as people seem to react a certain way to the game, and this could very well be amplified with some evocative music.
  • I struggled with the theme (again). I’ll go into detail about this now.

Last time, I had serious problems with getting ideas for the theme. In fact, I didn’t have any idea of a game I wanted to make, never mind the theme. I ended up working on a tech thing unrelated to the competition.
I had a similar problem this time. I didn’t start working on the game until about 8 hours before the end of the compo. So, I looked at some of the themes before the compo began, and I was excited for ‘Time does not exist’. I had an excellent idea for it. In a philosophy lesson a few months ago, I had this idea that time is in fact a spatial dimension, and that all existence is static. Basically, there are infinite frames of the universe coexisting in the time dimension. In one, we all have some parameters. In another, those parameters are slightly altered. Each version constantly experiences one¬†infinitely small time frame of existence; and so, we experience time linearly.
This was my idea for the time theme. I didn’t have any gameplay planned for it, it was just something that came to my mind.

Come the day of the competition, I had no idea what to make! I started to panic, so my dad told me to just make a game that I want to make, and find some connection to the theme, later on (as it turns out, Notch’s interpretation of the theme is apparently very similar to my own).
I told my friend about my idea of a time game, and as I was telling him about it, the whole thing with managing time frames of a person’s life just flowed out of my mouth, seemingly out of nowhere. It was fantastic! I went home and set out to make the game.

Now, if you’ll look at my sketches for the game, you’ll see that I had some ideas beyond the ‘Be happy’ task, which didn’t make the game (they suck anyway). The thing is, I wasn’t too enthused about the game by the end of the competition, and I just wanted to submit it and go to sleep. I completely forgot about ‘Be happy’, which renders the original version of the game worthless and boring.

With ‘Be happy’ in the post-compo version, I got some nice feedback. I didn’t realize the potential of the game until I watched DanielSND (InfectionTeam) and TimTipGames playing my game in their¬†streams. I started getting amazing responses such as these

“I think this is the most interesting experimental game in this jam. Thanks!”Maniulo

“It felt like a puzzle, and at first I thought ‘oh, maybe I can solve it…’, but I couldn’t; that was the ‘aha!’ moment when it clicked in my head. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish as a game designer, so well done!”cageinabird

and many more. Thank you, LD community! And thank you, everyone who’s played my game!

Click to play the game. Don't forget to play the post-compo!

Click to play the game. Don’t forget to play the post-compo!

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