Finished. Well, sort of.

Posted by (twitter: @noffle)
August 25th, 2014 12:49 am

Play The Chain of the World?

My mantra going into this LD was to keep things simple. I generally tend to get absorbed in the programming aspect for 90% of development, leaving little time for art, sound, music, and story. This meant rejecting a lot of my initial ideas. To nearly the point of ridiculousness: it was finally sometime Saturday afternoon when I actually began *making* something. Having rejected all of my other ideas, deigning them too complex, I sat down and pixeled a little title screen for a non-existent game: The Chain of the World.


Gosh. It was.. fun. Fun to make, and fun to think about. I had knew little more than “this is a platformer with this cute little guy, and some massive chain that attaches his world to some other world.

I liked the idea and art direction, so I kept at it. Eventually I had pieced together a little platformer-esque thing where you could run around and shoot.


But alas, it was too little too late. There was no time for a walking animation, and there are no enemies to battle. If you reach the end you’ll see a cutscene that I had begun putting together.

I’m really happy with what I made, though. For the first time in a long time I put art and sound ahead of programming; I tried to find the soul of the game before hacking together code. And I think I like that way of approaching gamedev.

There’s actual *music*! That’s a first for me. I used MilkyTracker, of which I have passing familiarity. I knew I wanted the title screen to have a vaguely Legend of Zelda vibe to it — the flute effect in the original NES game was enchanting. I spent some time looking for a MOD or XM version of the song someone had made so I could figure out how the effect was achieved. Turns out it’s a clever trick using two square channels: each is set up on a slight vibrato, but the notes play one beat out of sync with eachother, creating this sort of resonance effect. Give Zelda a listen to hear what I mean. For comparison, here’s what I put together. It sounds a lot sadder, which was only partly intentional. You can hear it loop pretty early on: it’s a super short track, just a few notes long. I composed it close to the deadline, so I was getting nervous about spending too much time on it.

The art was a big step for me as well. I’ve never done 1-bit pixeling before, but it turned out pretty well. Turns out simple suggestive shapes and a bit of dithering does wonders.


While I didn’t finish, I learned a lot along the way. I’m really keen on trying to develop future games using this approach: start with doodling mockup screenshots, keep the gameplay simple and well-defined, and think about art and sound and story from the beginning.

For the curious, I wrote The Chain of the World using Phaser, with MilkyTracker for music, jfxr for sound effects, Aseprite for pixel art, and Tiled for map design.

Thanks for reading and for playing! I can’t wait to play as many other entries as I can get my hands on. :)

Oh, and you can totally play The Chain of the World here, if you haven’t already.

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