drINK Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @@ExGenesis)
August 27th, 2014 6:27 am

LOGO

Hello fellow LD’ers, looks like it’s time for a post mortem of my game, drink the Ink / drInk / drINK. ( They’re all good names )

I just want I didn’t want this theme, I think it’s pretty bland. IMO, Isolation or most of the themes in the last vote would have been far more exciting. But anyway, it was 2AM here when it was announced and I woke up in the middle of the night to check itAt first I thought about making some kind of planetary rythm game where you played a satellite that jumped from world to world if you pressed a button at the right time in the orbit. I even made a mockup:

LD30 mockup

It quickly dawned on me that this kind of aesthetic would be the single most overused one in all of Ludum Dare. So I scratched that. Instead, I took a less literal approach to the theme and went with connecting the worlds of visible and text. The initial vision was of having full 2D world that the player could control through the choices in the text world, but as per use, it was too ambitious. So I just opted to have this top-hatted scribe guy on the top half of the screen,  just writing the story the player’s playing and interacting with him once in a while. ( I spend a ridiculous amount of time on animations for this)

Anyway, I went with the plan and drew this mockup:

LD30 option 2 mockup

as you can see, most of it ended up on the final game.

The tools I used:

– Gimp 2 for all the sprites,

– Audacity to record the music on my Cort X2 guitar,

– My white board to plan out the story and its branches,

– And Unity in 2D mode, of course.

 

code shot.

. uglyuglyuglyuglyugly

 

What went wrong:

. Unpolished pixel art was used because I started animating too soon.

. Too much time spent brainstorming / changing my mind on what the story would be, very little writing it.

. The whole text adventure architecture was half-assed and brute-forcish in approach. I could’ve done it much more elegantly, but time constraints and all… The user end is still fully functioning, with the exception of trying to put the ink away. What should take you back to the previous screen just restarts the text adventure. Oh well…

. A lot of my time was wasted on googling, not finding, and proceeding to despair for answers I’d find roughly 1 hour later. Several times.

. My unfamiliarity with unity didn’t help me be as productive as I wanted to. I spent way too much time figuring out how to use 2-dimensional arrays to store all my text and references between sections, as well as learning about ways to customize the Unity UI

. I devoted a lot of time to small details like the timing of all the Scribe’s animations and sound effect cues like the writing, or flipping the pages.

 

Screenshot3

. It turned out fine :3

What went right:

. Even though the pixel art wasn’t the best it could’ve been, I’m very happy with all the little quirks and animations I managed to print on the Scribe, as well as the whole mood of the game;

. The music was surprisingly fast to finish ( although crappy );

. Best name(s) ever. (drInk)

. The story’s concept :

I really, really like this. Being trapped in a dungeon is classic game 101. Escaping the dungeon is classic game expectation 101, so I wanted to make it impossible to escape. Paired with the image of the Scribe inking away at the book of fate, sealing the player’s tighter with each page, I think it makes for a powerful experience. Which is exactly what I wanted, a game about determinism, the inevitability of one’s fate and breaking the illusion of hope and success. To make the player feel the obligation to succeed and at the same time powerless in such a way that they resort to killing themselves to escape.  The game is too short to fully convey the intensity I was going for, so I’ll have to redo this, perhaps in 3D, with little text. But this Ludum Dare I stumbled upon an experience I’d very much like to make.

. I learned a lot about unity and the workflow in it, so I won’t have to waste this much times on these particular things ever again!

 

In short, I learned a ton about Unity and making games and myself.  Succcessful Ludum Dare is successful.

 


One Response to “drINK Post-mortem”

  1. mechabit says:

    I don’t know if a 3D game would work as well. Maybe if it were like Stanley Parable with someone narrating your actions. I enjoyed the experience anyway.

    Good job on not doing yet another planets theme lol

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