Roy, Gee, Biv Post Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @LTP_ATS)
September 15th, 2014 3:55 pm

Roy, Gee, Biv was a 48-hour compo game that involved three characters meeting up and attempting to free themselves from the world they’ve been constrained in. I had a lot of fun developing it, though it has plenty of issues that would need fixed if I were to ever release this as a completed game.

So let’s get right to it!

Unless you haven’t played the game yet, in which case I’d highly recommend doing so to avoid spoilers!

Play Roy, Gee, Biv Here!

What Worked

Scope

This is one I’m definitely proud of! After releasing a dozen+ games I’ve finally started to embrace the idea of a narrow scope. Getting out of the “Oh, but wouldn’t it be cool if I did this too?” mindset is tricky, and there are times where it can actually be beneficial. Overall for situations like this I try to steer away from this mindset, unless I feel the idea can be easily implemented and will complete the game idea rather than bloat it.

Having Something Resembling an Ending

I realized recently that proper endings are something that my games tend to lack. Sometimes I’ll do something involving a few lines of text, or player will enter a sandbox room that might say something along the lines of “You Win” or “Have Fun,” but often my games will have no endings at all and just go to the title screen.

I think this has definitely disappointed some of my players in the past, so I’ve been trying to think of ways to create more interesting endings. For this game I wanted to try again with the sandbox theme but add a bit of a twist to it.

Obvious spoilers ahead! If you’d rather see the ending yourself first, please play the game (link is at the top).

I noticed that early in the game’s development I had a lot of fun playing with a random bug that turn into a mechanic: instead of picking up an object, one character would hop on top of it and “ride” it, sometimes even projecting he character upwards in the sky depending on the object’s size. I realized that one thing I love about games is when they break, and how rewarding it can be breaking a game because of how surprising it is. Since this also often means completely altering the previously established rules of the game, it can also give the player more of the game to experience. So for the ending I decided to slightly alter the rules of the game to give the option to break it (more than it already is broken, that is) for the player.

Basically what happens is the characters “share” their abilities and can all do what the others can. As a result they can all fly or ride out of the roofless area they are constrained in and exit the playable game world. Outside there is a big party room with lots of particle effects. There are some rideable platforms and an underground area which is just a 3×5 grid (trying and failing to be clever since the game’s song was written in 15s). The player is free to roam the world or just fall of the edge or whatever.

SS_05

Sound

The sound could’ve definitely used more time, but for what I was trying to accomplish it got the job done. Each character had their own part to the song, there is a bass track tying the other tracks together. If I had more time I probably would’ve added more nuance in the music overall, and maybe have more audio cues to character abilities, doors opening, etc.

What Didn’t Work

Art

I told myself to go really minimal for this game, I wanted more time to troubleshoot any scripting issues since this was my first time using Unity for a short gamejam. While I enjoyed the idea of this, the game just looked a bit sloppy and incomplete overall, and I would’ve liked to spend more time considering the overall aesthetic of the game. Also some really lazy amateur mistakes in my animation (animating the root, the worst part is I knew I wasn’t supposed to do it and I did it anyway) led to floating or sinking characters, which led to me desperately trying to patch up mistakes in scripts before I had to upload the game in time. Overall the game was messy, and that seems to show pretty well in the art.

Readability

The game was confusing to many people, and overall I think I did a pretty poor job in teaching the player what the game is about. If I did this again I would have put more time into designing a smoother learning curve. This is definitely one of the biggest challenges for me in game design, since many of my games have very limited tutorials, text-based tutorials or none at all.

Mechanics

I wanted the climax of the game to be around the time the characters could all see each other, but because of this I didn’t feel like I had enough time to really use the characters’ abilities to their fullest and fully flesh out their interaction.  A lot of this was because of how opening doors worked: Instead of using switches to open them, I made them one-way doors that could only be opened by one character. This meant that in order for the characters to get through doors of a different color, they have to wait for that character to open in for them, forcing them to meet very early. In order to fix this I would have to change the doors to open with distant switches, or have players teleport somewhere when they open a door, or something else.

Satisfying Ending

While I’m glad I included the ending, I definitely felt like it wasn’t terribly successful. There wasn’t exactly anything to “do” after the game was won other than wander around, and I didn’t even do much to indicate that the players have gained each other’s abilities. Overall it could have used a lot more substance.

The Wrap-up:

I’m glad I finished the game and achieved all of the basic mechanics that I planned on. However it needs a lot of polish and some reworking of the basic gameplay. I’d like to come back to this again sometime, but it may not happen for a bit. I also didn’t get a chance to play and rate that many games (school keept me busy), which is especially disappointing because that is one of my favorite parts of Ludum Dare. Overall I learned a lot about my current strengths and weaknesses. I have quite a ways to go but jams like this are helping me learn!

See y’all next time!

 


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