Daydream Runaway: It will be tough

Posted by (twitter: @psychonull)
September 12th, 2014 7:50 am

TLDR: The end result is not what we imagined when we started to work on the game, but overall the experience was great, and we are really happy we keep participating. Go and play the game! (BEWARE: Frustration guaranteed)

Here is a little gameplay video. Sorry for the bad quality, but when I realized it was too late. While recording this gameplay, more than ever I felt how the game is damn frustrating and urged me to burn down my computer a couple of times. Anyone up to beat my score? ūüėõ

 

What went wrong

Theme announcement

It was friday night here when the theme was announced. We were at a pub with some friends. Everyone was talking and making suggestions of what game we could make. While that’s great, having a lot of ideas dancing in your head is sometimes not that cool. We¬†were suffering¬†an “idea overflow” and every idea seemed unoriginal or not doable. The same night we picked the best looking despite doubts, and started working on that one saturday morning.

TIME, TIME, TIME!!

We couldn’t get to the point of our original idea. The game was¬†intended to contain “dream objects” as obstacles. Each level should have been aesthetically different, resembling a escape from different connected dream worlds: Level 1 should have been vectorial art, level 2 pixel art, level 3 doodles, level 4 realistic objects and so on (with some effects and¬†transitions in between). We were running out of time so we ended up using¬†photoshop filters over the same sprites, getting not good results. PLUS the game goes so fast, that anything but the player is noticeable. I guess that’s why the link with the theme might be weak to nonexistent for anyone playing.
+ More time would have bought us a much polished game with less coding horrors (and better level design, and better everything). I guess this can be improved a little doing a couple of “warmups” and exercising so everything is “fresh” when LD begins.

So you think this game is hard?

Nobody but us tested the game before submission. I guess by doing that we could have seen how the game runs in different machines, and how frustrating the game and each level could be.
Our record for the entire game is ~9 minutes (the first times ranged 15-20), but there is a noticeable unbalance in some levels.
For example these are the marks for each level:

daydream_scores

I’m sure little to none people other than us finished the game.

What went right

Compact core mechanics + simple controls

We knew we wanted to make a¬†“little fun game” with simple mechanics and controls beforehand.

We had fun

Being friends and getting together a whole weekend to make a game is great. LD is a great excuse to reunite, share meals, drinks and enjoy moments doing what we like to do :)

Level editor

We made a great level editor, that allowed us to visually place every element, and  export / import as json.

Difficulty – Challenge vs. Frustration

What draws the line between challenge and frustration? There are a lot of readings and thoughts on the topic and this experience was a trigger to further learn on that game design topic.

Closing words

Thanks to everyone in the LD community that helped and contributed with cool feedback, games and stories.

Hopefully in some near future we will get the time and motivation to fix and improve all the things that were wrong with the game, but meanwhile you can play it get frustrated here.

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