The World Within – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @twitter.com/Oxeren)
September 2nd, 2014 11:09 am

 

When the theme of current Ludum Dare was announced, and I read it in the morning, I was kinda puzzled. Even though I voted for it in the final round, I couldn’t come up with any ideas that felt original and  were possible to realize in such limited time span. Which worlds can be connected? The world of living and the world of the dead? The world of rich and the world of poor? The world of dreams and the real world?  It also turned out, that I didn’t have almost any time to work on Saturday, and hope for finishing a game for the compo was lost. So I was a bit discouraged by lack of time and ideas, and was not even sure if I should participate at all.

But I’ve missed previous LD and was eagerly awaiting for this one, so I pulled myself together and started making the freaking game. I decided to stop wandering between ideas in fruitless search for the perfect one and settled with the idea of connection between real and imaginary worlds in child’s vivid imagination.

When I was a child, things around were never ordinary. Take a stick from the ground, and it turns into a mighty sword. And a crooked stump in the forest is actually a scary monster. You are not just a kid, but a superhero with limitless powers! You can fly, you can lift mountains and become invisible. There’s no definite border between reality and imagination. So in the game I tried to show how ordinary things trigger child’s imagination, and how it turns usual trip to school into exciting adventure.

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For development I chose Flash, because I thought it would be faster to put stuff together there then in Unity. It still works well for rapid game development and allows to quickly add some graphics and animations, though sometimes I felt regret about this choice.

After making the basic setup for character movement I started drawing some stuff. I wanted to go with some unusual graphic style, but there was no time for experiments so I just settled with something plain and cartoony. At some point I also considered making trixel graphics as I did in my previous LD game, but then discarded this idea for some reason (I don’t actually remember why). And I didn’t want to work with pixel-art, because I don’t have much experience with it and, well, I feel like it is a bit overused nowadays (sorry guys).

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When I started making music I got and idea to make different tracks for each part of the game but with the same melody. I still think it was a good idea, though now I don’t really like the melody. It sounds fine in real world and, probably, in fantasy world (the last one), but other versions don’t sound good for me anymore.

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Eventually, I’ve managed to finish the game and submitted it for the jam. Unfortunately, I was too tired to notice and fix major gameplay issues and the game ended up being too difficult. And the biggest problem was that the most difficult level was the first one (at the same time being the one with the worst visuals), so most people couldn’t even see anything beyond that point.  So on the next day I uploaded the “cheat” post-jam version, where the character was invincible during first level. It didn’t fix everything but at least made the game more beatable (though some people sad that they finished the original version without much problem :) ).

It is my general issue with game development. I tend to focus on aesthetics rather than on gameplay, even though I realize it is wrong approach. But I’ll learn to keep things in balance, I promise :)

You can play the game here.

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