Oculus Souls – Some Kind of Post-Mortem

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August 27th, 2014 12:50 pm


This is the theme that grinds you down

We successfully skipped three days of voting and at the fourth day we witnessed what looked like the cream of the crop – most of the themes looked so awesome I actually wanted to give ’em some good good loving. “Don’t save the princess”, “Potato Salad”, etc, etc.

Ah, sweet dreams. We were too deaf to the unnamed feeling inside that kept us telling that it’s not going to happen.


Space odditySPACE

No, really. The moment we found out the theme, we were kind of expecting tonns of space-themed games. Even worse, neither me nor Hatsumei knew what to do with the theme. We gathered in an office with a dirty window and three maintenance workers next door who were listening to terrible music (really, if you’re not familiar with modern Russian pop music you might be the happiest person in the world), and drew some stuff on the whiteboard.

The idea took a shape of Dark Souls-like game where you’d earn coins, risk them and your life alike to eventually spend them on making the world different and more dangerous. Tearaway, which we both played, was taken as a major art inspiration since you can put cardboard texture on anything and call it modern art.

Unsurprisingly, art is one of the hardest things to nail unless you plan to present your game in colourful squares. This LD marked one major departure from previous ones – I managed to get the running animation a bit better. Regarding Hatsumei, well, the face customization was fully drawn in, like, 2 hours, and mostly everything that followed resulted in the level that Hatsumei built, the very one that you play.

It’s mostly built out of colourful cubes with a little to no tweaking, and from the top it looked kinda ugly. I was concerned it’s going to suck, but then I tried actually playing it – and loved it.

That leads us to one of the first fails in Oculus Souls developments: Staying too far from other teammates’ work can really reduce the enthusiasm by introducing the false belief that we’re doomed and stuff. Plus, usual cubes aren’t really fit for making a final level – removing faces that player cannot see can be a pretty good optimization. By the time I noticed the problem, 60% of the level were complete.


The code that failed

The second fail comes from the fact that regardless of how I structure code and convince myself that I can reuse it everywhere including pizza ordering and playing pre-release Hyrule Warriors copy, the code never gets re-used. I send it to my Australian buddies, tell my mom about it, force Hatsumei to listen about how awesome the result is – everything except actually using it anywhere.

This was the fourth time I wrote a character state machine, and by the time I re-invented the wheel once again I figured some patterns that helped me to build the code faster. And yet, I still spent a lot of time on tuning and tweaking it, integrating my pseudo-monads I came up with earlier, despite that I already wrote similar state machine for Mirror’s Face, one for Hatsumei Mage, and one PlayMaker-based for Betarded.


Get your views to the wall

Not really intended to be a big paragraph, but still. By the end of the day I’ve decided to add a View-Controller separation into current character structure. As a result, character visual part contained all the animation listeners, hand slot data and stuff setup separately from the character himself, which eventually helped to build different character variations much quicker and easier. While it seemed like a time waste at first, it payed off later.





Whole lotta game

Should someone calculate the time spent on various task, he’d be left with a shining black hole on his pie chart where “Art” is written. When did we even make the actual game? Last couple of hours, I say. It was more like “Just put them, here and there and everywhere, and we’re good”. Dodge move was added because I felt bored, and two slow-hitting animations were made alongside to make the move more meaningful. Only one made it in the game, unfortunately.


And I guess this is pretty much it. This LD had no vomiting, drunk people, hookahs or last minute ideas, but was actually the first LD to be participated in such relaxed manner for me. Really, before LD#30 I wasn’t sure if you can both participate in Ludum Dare AND get a good sleep.

Hope you like it!


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