Rift Knight Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @seconddimension)
September 6th, 2014 9:11 am

Rift Knight Post Mortem

A Post-Mortem for my LD30 game Rift Knight, a fast-paced action platformer.  Play it Here



Part 1: The Story of Things that Mostly Went Wrong

Despite it all working out in the end, there was a time on Sunday when I was really close to giving up.  Initially this was going to be a team effort with 2 of us, but James has to drop out almost straight away (he is still recovering from a detached retina, so he is forgiven).  So on Saturday night I found out that I had to do all the art myself as well as the gameplay and sound, and I had already lost time as I was travelling back from Scotland most of Saturday.  I stayed up really late Saturday getting the movement and platform mechanics working, but was a bit worried about finishing everything.  Sunday I got up early and made music and sounds, as I knew I could at least do this bit.  That went well, but after that things started to go downhill.  I tried to create some graphics, and ended up scrapping everything and starting again 3 times!  I gave up and worked more on the gameplay to try and get that ready at least.  By late Sunday night I tried doing some more artwork, only to hate it again.  At this point I had a black & white game with some squares jumping around a screen, and although I knew I could use the Monday and submit to the Jam, I was very close to just throwing in the towel.


Part 2: The Story of Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

Monday morning I woke up very early, so decided to sit down for one last attempt at making the game work.  I played through the one level I’d made and thought that it actually felt really fun to move around, so it was worth trying to finish it off.  Knowing about my terrible art experience from the rest of the weekend I decided to leave that until last (better to submit a finished game with no art than risk the whole thing failing).
So for the first half of Monday I created a few more enemy types, designed 5 levels and did a bit of a tutorial.  I put in some blank title and intro screens too.  So after lunch I had an essentially playable game made of black and white squares.  Then I set about trying to make some graphics.  Attempt number 5 went a lot better, with the enemies I stuck to my normal style of drawing the weirdest things I could in a simple child-like way.  I animated them in really simple 3 frames by just moving legs up and down.  Luckily they were moving so quickly in the game that it didn’t matter.  With the main character, I ended up creating each body part as a separate layer in paint.net, then I would copy the file and rotate them accordingly.  This is a new technique for me and it worked really well, so I ended up with some almost convincing movement animations.  From there things got a lot better, I put all the animations into the game and added some screenshake effects and it all started to feel pretty good.  I threw in some very quick text for the beginning and end of the game and I finally had something that felt worthy of submission.  I tweaked a few things, uploaded and submitted with about 4 minutes to go before the Jam deadline on Monday night.

RiftKnightGIF 16


The main thing that went right was the way the game feels.  I spent a long time tweaking all the movement variables to try and make it feel fun; I wrote down “joyful movement” on a notepad right at the start, and I think I came fairly close to getting that right.  It’s definitely not perfect, but a good starting point.
The other thing that accidentally went right was the graphics.  I still think the game looks a bit rubbish, and art is not my strong point, but I was pleased with my animations.  They were simple 3 or 4 frame animations, but they did fit with the controls and conveyed a nice sense of movement.
I was fairly happy with my music again this time, I was worried it got a bit repetitive but I think it fitted the mood of the game.
Finally, despite all the problems, I’m glad I managed to pull it all together by the end!  I got 5 relatively playable levels with simple beginning and end screens, so I ended up submitting a short but fully complete game.

In hindsight I am really happy with my entry, as it’s the first time I have made something I would consider genuinely fun in terms of how it feels to control.  I would like to build on it, so this game will definitely go on my list of ongoing projects.  Plans are to expand the main game as well as adding challenge and speedrun modes.  It could possibly be a pretty fun local multiplayer game with some tweaking as well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks to anyone who has already played it, if not you can give it a try here

3 Responses to “Rift Knight Post Mortem”

  1. Will Edwards says:

    One of the very best GAMES this LD in my book! Glad you submitted it :)

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