GET Connected — POST-MORTEM

Posted by (twitter: @sephyka)
September 14th, 2014 9:57 am

GET Connected - logoPOST-MORTEM

Hi there.

I would like to make a POST-MORTEM about my GET Connected‘ game before the end.
As I’m French, apologize my conventional English.

— INTRODUCTION & GOAL. 

As I previously said on my Entry page, I’m more a 2D designer than a developer. The 8 last years, I tried to lead apart my job (2D designer in a video game studio) about ten small game projects. Each time, I was able to create lots of assets and original visual identities but unable to achieve them because of my lake of development skills. Moreover, I never found a motivated and faithful developer to help me. The only “success” I had is the game we made with my mates from Turbodindon for the 26th Ludum “Mustache Armies” (big-up to them).
They weren’t available for this Ludum but I still wanted to participate. My main goal was to achieve a well-polished game, as a good prototype with potential.

— PROGRAMMING : FLASH & AS2.

So I decided to use the only programming language I learnt from my old web studies: the Flash ActionScript 2 (it’s an almost obsolete dead-language). I don’t practice “true” development; I only used the software timeline with simple codes, variables and functions. Moreover, Flash is very powerful for simple interactions, vector art, animations and user interface.

— GAMEPLAY : Point and Click.

As my AS2 skills are limited and I wanted to make a well-polished game, I chose to design a Point and Click gameplay, the only kind of game I was confident with for a short time challenge (this is my fourth Ludum experience, first in solo). At the moment, I’m not able to design dynamic games as arcade games with hits and collisions. This was my main constraint, my context of work.

— THEME.

At first, I wasn’t inspired by the theme. Finally, I found an axe of reflexion : the social medias and technologies, with communication and connexions between individuals. I focused on the risks involved by exposing our privacies using the technologies. In my game, the main character, you, can solve his problems only by hacking and traveling through the connected networks and objects to penetrate other characters privacies.

— STORY.

As I said, I wasn’t able to design an arcade game with a dynamic character. This is why I chose to make a story that takes place in a kind of prison. I’m fond of science-fiction worlds, as Ghost in the Shell, Mush and Mass Effect, so I created a compartmentalised spaceship prison with a mysterious militia and a few robots. At the beginning, the player is confined but, quickly, he will discover other far away worlds and places using connexions.

It was really fun to write the characters communications and biographies.

— GRAPHICS.

It’s been 8 years I’m working with Flash for graphics, I’m efficient on it.

• BACKGROUNDS.

First, I designed the main part of the background tiles and props with my usual personal technics. Each element is an instance and can easily be updated and polished. Some objects are interactive or/and animated.

Get Connected - Background assets.

• CHARACTERS.

Then, I designed all characters based on the same “build” (skeleton), therefore I can easily use a single animation for all characters. I created an antagonism between guards and prisoners. There are also more exotic designs as the mother, Mustache the cat or the robots.

Get Connected - Characters assets.

• ANIMATIONS.

Animation isn’t my main speciality but I’m quite able to create simple animations thanks to the Flash interpolations. The main characters animations are : front walk, back walk and lateral walk. I added some animations according to the story : punch, hit , KO, etc. One of my regrets is  that I hadn’t time to animate more various and funnier situations: most of the characters are static. It’s because all animations are scripted and needed a time I hadn’t.



• LEVEL-DESIGN.

About level-design, I hadn’t any tools or magnetized grid; all sceneries were manually constructed with Flash. It was a very rigorous and arduous process!
At the beginning, sceneries were very basic:

Sephyka - Get Connected - WIP 1

Then, they were more and more polished:

Get connected - Screen 1

• USER INTERFACE.

I did a really hard work on the user interface and various visual feedbacks. It was a very important part of the challenge because I created a kind of game which requires to read a lot of informations. As I’m a perfectionnist, it goes well in the nearest pixel.

• ARTWORK.

It was only in the last Ludum Dare hours that I took time to create the home of my entry.  I have a passion for digital speed-painting so I was happy to use one to introduce my game. I used R0mika, my favorite female character I designed for an other sci-fi project.

Get connected - Intro.

For those who’ll finish, there is a special ending artwork on the Post-Ludum version.

• LOGOTYPE.

The original “GET connected” logotype designed for the 72h version of my game was shitty (I made it in the last two hours). I am more satisfied by the next version I designed. :]

— AUDIO.

I really like music. I practice a bit piano and sometimes compose songs.
I used Cubase to create all my audio contents. Unfortunately, I had little time to dedicate to it so I only composed simple music loops.

— PRODUCTION.

• What went wrong:

Honestly, everything was okay during the game production, except the fact that I was very concentrated 16 hours by a day and thus very tired. As my gameplay and limits were well-defined at the beginning, I was very efficient on my game production. There weren’t any production disasters.

My only challenge was the lake of time ; I guess it would have been different with more time.

• What went right:

– The software Flash was very stable and nice with me. :]
– I didn’t need pre-production time: my idea was simple and clear at the beginning. Same for the graphics.
– Due to my professional experience, I quickly optimize all my assets for a maximal effectiveness and recoverability.
– All the bases of my game are defined and coherent: graphics, gameplay features, main characters, etc.
– I’m satisfied by the polish of my game: all the contents implemented are polished (less but better).
– I haven’t neglected the importance of the audio part.
– My Ludum Burger was good!

Ludum Burger !

• What could be better:

– I would have prefered to achieve the game for the 48h COMPO but it was definitively impossible.
– The lifetime of the game: even the Post-Ludum is short, due to a big amount of time needed to add original contents.
Variety of worlds. Originally, I would have liked to design various worlds and places : houses on Earth, an Antartic expedition, other spaceships, etc. I had too many ideas but it would have required too many new assets. It’s typically the kind of stuffs I’ll add for a potential full version of the game.
Music and sounds quality. Flash is good to compress and optimize all the contents : the final export (.swf) is light. But about audio, sounds and musics are exported in low quality. I don’t think there is a solution to solve the problem,
Music and sounds variety. I would have loved to compose more various and impressive songs.
– My development process is clearly bad and not really optimized. I learnt a few new functions to automate some features but this is not yet right. I lost too many time using this method (but no regrets because it is the only way I know to make a game).

• What I didn’t expect:

– I didn’t anticipate I would need debug tools for my Point and Click system, I had to create some simple functions to accelerate my debug process.
– The debug time isn’t negligible.
– Similarly, I had to develop a basic music engine to manage the music change.
– I also took time for the sound balance.
– At the end, I lost time to create a good HTML page for the game: I needed a couple hours just to display the game at the center.
– I had luck that my new friends helped me testing the game and gave me precious feedbacks (photo bellow)

GET Connected - Tigress, AT-TE and Wall-E

— CONCLUSION.

Ludum Dare is always an inspiring and rewarding challenge. I gave my best shot for my first solo Ludum Dare experience, it was fun, intense…  and very different from the jam teamwork. I learnt a lot about development, methodologies and tools needed to create a game and solve problems. I’m proud to have achieved my game in time. I also played and rate dozens of games. I’m very happy to have discovered so many various and quality entries. The Ludum community is great!

• About a full version?

Many of you have asked me about a full-version of the game; it would be awesome and I have so many ideas for a full-version story. However, I don’t know if I’ll have time and energy to lead that kind of ambition next to my work. Moreover, AS2 isn’t a good technology for mobiles export… that would require to redevelop the game on another platform as GameMaker or Unity. I’m also thinking about a small crowdfunding campaign. What do you think about ?

Discover
GET CONNECTED


3 Responses to “GET Connected — POST-MORTEM”

  1. SteveSalmond says:

    Man, your speedpainting stuff is AWESOME! Hope you do find the motivation somewhere to do an extended version. I have the same problem… xD

  2. igoramendola says:

    About the sound quality, you can change it on sound properties. Check this topic:
    http://www.kirupa.com/forum/showthread.php?187535-Increasing-sound-quality-in-Flash

    Definitely, AS2 isn’t a good technology for mobiles export… but with AS3/AIR you can export to different devices and you can use basically the same code to the different formats. Here is an example:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-JH35CyagE
    AIR is also compatible with OUYA, Steam and more.
    I say that just in case that you like to work on Flash. Nothing against other technologies ^_^

  3. igoramendola says:

    Ohhh, and I forgot to say…
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the development of your game. It’s really cool to know your point of view about it, especially because it’s a very good entry 😀

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