In for the Jam! Also a Mini (Belated) LD#29 Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @LTP_ATS)
August 22nd, 2014 5:24 pm

Third LD (and in a row)!

I will be using the same stuff I usually use:

~Stencyl or Unity

~ PS5 for art

~ Guitar Pro 5, VOPM, Freesound, Protools for audio

I will also most likely be using personal code libraries depending on what type of game I make.

Also I never got around to writing a post-mortem for my last LD game Sea of Deception, so I figured I’d squeeze out a quick one here since I should be reviewing my last LD entries anyway.SCANS_SM

What Worked:

Scope – If there’s one thing I’ve (kinda) learned by doing game jams, it’s managing scope. I was lucky enough to have a small scope that was achievable within the 48-hour time frame I had.

Sound / Art – I think the success of my art and sound in the game could be related back to my small scope: by not requiring too much for the game, I was able to create a small number of assets and sounds which ultimately saved time and helped to improve the overall quality of the game. I had only one song, and a few sound effects for the player’s moves. For the art I only needed one tile set with a few environment pieces, and three characters. Overall the art looked a lot better than most of my previous games, and I think it’s because I kept it simple.

What Didn’t Work:

Readability – A couple things in the game may have been difficult to understand without knowing the overall goal I was trying to achieve for the game. I wanted to get across the idea “dolphins can be just as messed up if not more messed up than sharks.” Because of this I often had the sharks in more vulnerable positions than the dolphins. I wanted to give the impression that there was some sort of species-related war or conflict going on, with several different groups (for instance I have some implied cross-species love in some spots in the game). In the end I have a group of humans caged up by dolphins, in what are supposed to be ball gags. Some people were able to read this, but I was finding it difficult to make them read as ball gags and not just part of their scuba equipment.

This was my interpretation of the “Beneath the Surface” theme: As the player communicates with more individuals, they gain knowledge and can access new areas. The basic mechanic of the game involved talking to others and filling up a “knowledge” meter, while NPCs communicated basic thoughts with “speech” (more like picture) bubbles that could be a bit difficult to read or understand out of context. There are barricades that open up when the player reaches a certain amount of knowledge. On some browsers the screen would get cropped weird, preventing the knowledge bar from showing. This severely hurt the overall readability and playability of the game, since it eliminated an indication of the player’s progress. However, the game is still playable without it (and some may feel that the lack of bar adds to the immersion :P).

Size – This could potentially be seen as a positive thing, but the game was really short. There is only one level, and it is beatable in under 5 minutes. Because of the scope of the game I think this was necessary, but if this were to be a full game it would definitely need to have additional levels, tile sets, music, etc.

Anticlimactic – This is actually a bit of a recurring theme in my game design, but my games often have a simple “You Win” screen, or straight to the title screen for the endings. Since I have been thinking about the narrative in my games a bit more, I feel that at the very least I should focus on making more interesting and thought-out endings. I think the main issue with stuff like cut scenes is that it requires text, additional animations, or other additional player / NPC movements which are difficult to add in when pressed for time. While I think it’s good practice to focus on narrative through gameplay rather than dialogue or cut scenes, having a satisfying ending to a game can potentially help tie it all together and improve the overall experience.

Coolness – This is probably what bummed me out the most about this LD. Because I was so busy with school, I had to focus on school work immediately after finishing LD, so I barely had time to play other developer’s games. This was probably my favorite part of my first LD, I loved seeing everyone else’s creations and interpretations of the theme! In addition to that, the giving and receiving of critique was very helpful and gave a strong sense of community. I’m hoping to spend more time playing everyone else’s games this time!

Rankings:

Overall I did better in this game than my last game, especially in Audio (#45), woohoo!

#45 Audio 3.88
#129 Theme 3.81
#157 Mood 3.59
#158 Graphics 3.88
#261 Fun 3.40
#342 Innovation 3.38
#425 Overall 3.31
#1989 Coolness 22%

And to compare, here is my previous submission’s score:

Coolness 95%
#233 Fun 3.28
#245 Audio 3.00
#322 Mood 3.02
#375 Humor 2.53
#436 Graphics 3.05
#436 Overall 3.08
#685 Innovation 2.61
#788 Theme 2.36

Whoops, guess this wasn’t that short of a post-mortem after all O_o. Oh well, good luck everyone!

 

 


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