Superdimensional post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @TeemuVaisanen)
September 17th, 2014 2:54 pm


Superdimensional

Now since the results are in, I think its good time to put down some notes and reflect how the development process went.

Blog version

The idea

This popped into my head from a discussion we had couple of days before the jam with my girlfriend. We were discussing how young babies see and understand the world around them. I had read somewhere how babies don’t yet realize that an object that is hidden can still exists in this world. That’s why peek-a-boo is so much fun for them. The person hiding behind hands ceases to exist in babies’ mind. Their world is literally what they see at the time.
I wanted to make a game where this was actually how the world worked. So basically things that are not visible don’t exist at all. Even if our grown up mind says they should still be there. From game mechanic’s point of view I just had to figure out a way to hide and show alternative worlds to the player. This is where the “line of sight” mechanics came in.

 

What went right

  • Decision to change the initial concept. I was originally making a puzzle game with 5-10 levels where you’d have to get the ball from start to goal using those “dimensional light beams”. I’ve found out that I personally enjoy playing these types of games but actually making them is not really my cup of tea. So I made a decision after about 8 hours of work that I want to do something else. I wanted the game to be more of an experience rather than a puzzle.
  • Time management! After last year’s hectic ending I felt like I had almost too much time this year! I was actually pretty much done with the game about 8 hours before the deadline. This meant that I had 8 extra hours to polish the graphics, sounds and levels. That’s a luxury in a jam like this! Overall the game took about 36 hours of work.
  • The game has sounds! (which were not slapped on as an afterthought) I’m no sound engineer so this was all new and exciting to me. In fact I can’t really say I’ve ever recorded a sound to be used anywhere before. Last year sounds was the main thing that I had to save time from. I just slapped together something 30 mins before the finish line. This time I had the pleasure to do some actual recording and manipulate them into somewhat surreal or even spooky sound scheme.

 

What could have gone better

  • Play testing! In such a short time frame there is no room to test the game on outside people. You could send a build to your friend (which I did) but you can’t see how they are actually playing the game! This lead to the next point which was the main issue the game has.
  • Control scheme :( Those teleports can be tricky to control. This is because I didn’t anticipate how people would play the game. I designed them to work so that the player would only beam a small portion of a level just to get past a smaller obstacle in the winter world. However I found out afterwards that pretty much everyone used them to turn the whole screen into another world. This can make the game considerably more difficult to play because you can’t see what is going on on the other worlds.
  • Failed initial concept. Some hours were wasted during the first puzzle game iterations that I mentioned earlier. It could have been a fun game too but it just didn’t feel like a game I wanted to make. It was a right decision to scrap it though.
  • More particle effects and movement. Especially the lava / hot world didn’t get the visual look I was after. This was due to a limitation to the way I ended up rendering the teleports. Lava level could not have any normal particles because of those limitations.
  • Minor issues here and there. This was nothing critical. Just some nasty spots where you could get stuck and some stupid spelling mistakes. Just nitpicking here really.
Overall the process went extremely well! Almost too well. I liked my core concept and got it working pretty early in the development. After that it was pretty smooth ride to the ending.

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