Musical Trade Route Post-Mortem

Posted by
August 28th, 2014 2:04 pm

First off, this Ludum Dare has been a lot of fun. It is fortunate and unfortunate that so many people have participated. The good side is that you get such a vast array of talents all coming to the same place. The unfortunate side is that you can’t play all of the games. The ones I have seen so far have been awesome. Great job everyone!

CW MTR logo

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=34411

So Musical Trade Routes… It was a little crazy putting this thing together. I am sure everyone feels the same way about their own games :) I am actually shocked at the positive feedback I have been receiving. All of the cool stuff that people seem to like were afterthought things that I threw together in the twilight hours of the competition. I wanted to make my game have an abstract approach to the theme – so far most have not noticed it. I wanted to connect the worlds of poetry and music together. As I knew this would be an abstract theme, I placed in a more obvious connecting trade routes between worlds.

Development:

With only a couple of hours to plan on day 1, I could not think of anything to do with this theme. I came up with some views on how to address the theme and posted them around, but that was the extent. I went to bed a little sad that I would not be participating. When I woke up the next morning, I decided to start looking into linking poetry and music and to make a little space game, just so I would have something to submit. The plan was to work on planning each for a few hours and then see which seemed like a better path. As I continued doing both, the idea of a piano ship evolved. I quickly made some piano music and did my best to make a flight simulation. I had never done either one before, so I am extremely happy with how they came out, even though it is not perfect.

CWspacefiring

I then began to create planets. I was going to leave half of them unnamed and just white circles. Before moving on I convinced myself to just finish naming and coloring so I could say something was done. I threw in some lines between the planets and made it so each planet (0-9) would display its own lines to connecting planets. I finished up the day by making a “difficulty” variable that I assigned to each planet.

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Sunday morning I woke up and just started banging out some poetry. Haikus seemed like the easiest way to go. All I need was 120 syllables and all ten planets were done:

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I started working on enemies, but just quickly made some meteors. I decided to get done the space combat system. Simplest solution was random spawns based on the difficulty variable. I felt this would make it more interesting because it might interrupt whatever song people were playing and create a new song entirely. I got a chance to play test it quite a few times, so difficulty was adjusted here and there. A few of the polish things that I was hoping to add were a hard mode, music playback and a sonnet. Those who have played it might not have realized that the title screen was a sonnet :)

CWTitle

The good:
Music playback – This has been a favorite for most of the people who have played the game. At the end of each level, you get to hear the music that you played while in flight.
The poetry – Not many have commented on the poetry, but I am actually happy with how it came out. Also at the win screen, you get to read the planet’s Haiku while your own music is playing in the background.

The bad:
Enemies – I wanted so bad to have a lot of enemies, space ships, curving asteroids, other music coming in. That would have been so much fun.
Free Piano – I added this in post-comp. I received feedback early on that a more realistic piano would have been better. In the post comp, I added in more key sets for playing and opened the option for multiple key strokes at the same time. I have not taken the time to make a music playback for free-piano mode, though.
Graphics – I am not an artist. I know the graphics were not fantastic. :)

Future of the game:
I totally want to continue this project. I think it would do well in the mobile market. I even tried putting it on the google play store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ceosol.MTR). Its free to download. If anything, at least you’ll have a little music creator on your phone or tablet :)
I want to add more to the piano, for sure. Maybe you could swipe left or right to go up and down octaves. You could purchase new ships that have different instruments.
A suggestion was also made with the free piano mode that spawn times could be decreased and you would have faster action happening.

Thank you again to everybody who has tried it out. I was so burnt out at the end that I was thinking the game was absolutely horrible. I am delighted by all of the feedback, good and bad. Keep it coming!

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