LD-32, That One Time I Finished A Game

Posted by
April 23rd, 2015 5:32 am

Play and rate LIGHT

This isn’t going to be your typical postmortem, just some random thoughts. I’ll try to make it short.  The main thing I wanted to say is: Thanks to Ludum Dare and the community, I have a FINISHED game!  Yeah, that’s my big announcement 😀

For a long time I’ve been working on game side-projects, all unfinished.  Why didn’t I finish them, you ask?  I did not want to! I have always had a weird mindset about my games;  I always thought “This game is too good to be finished. It has to be perfect”, maybe some of you can relate. LD is what I needed: a theme, a deadline, a competition, and a community. This was my first LD and LIGHT is my jam entry.

Some lessons learnt:

  1. Perfection is good. Clumsiness is 10x better!  There are so many irrelevant things (in your game and in life), and only a few things that are are important.
  2. Get a prototype running early. Don’t like what you get? you avoided a trap. Like what you get? you’ve got a good starting point.
  3. Work with what you have before adding new stuff. You can always figure out a way to combine the small things you already have to make something big.
  4. Limit yourself! When you bind yourself to a smaller set of rules and interactions, you build an intuition towards the game early on.
  5. Make learning your game fun. It should be about the player discovering the rules not studying them.
  6. Presentation, presentation, and presentation! The worst thing that could happen is a player not feeling in control.

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How did this help me in my game? (You can skip this if you haven’t played the game)

  1. I perfected the important stuff only. My hero character is a bloody stick figure and gets stuck in doors sometimes! But turns out it’s good enough. Here’s a timelapse.
  2. The prototype made my life easier. When you have a prototype, the rest is a smooth iterative improvement.
  3. I didn’t add anything new unless I really needed it. For example, I have 5 puzzle pieces in my game, I thought 5 won’t make enough puzzles, I need more. Turns 5 was more than enough to make surprisingly challenging puzzles. I even threw away some levels that I thought were not good enough. The trick is I had to choose the ‘correct’ 5 pieces.
  4. Because the game is simple, and with the intuition I quickly acquired playing it, it became easy to: design levels, balance the game, get a feel for the player experience, improve presentation, and plan ahead.
  5. Introducing the rules to the player was easy. I had a game with few mechanics that I’m skilled at. Then I looked into every single mechanic and skill I have and made sure I conveyed it to the player in the form of a small challenge. I could have listed instructions on the main screen, but where is the fun in that?
  6. The player should feel in charge. I felt that lots of the games I rated were not very good at this. If the player finds himself in the middle of a battle with stuff flying around, hit points being being subtracted, a prompt telling him to take action, and no feedback to whether he’s doing good, they lose the sense of control. Oh! so you’re going to show them a ‘Game Over’ screen? Guess what? They no longer care…

Some may think my game is not good, and to you I say…

In conclusion, thank you again guys!

Go play and rate LIGHT!

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One Response to “LD-32, That One Time I Finished A Game”

  1. Mantlair says:

    Your game was cool! You should put it on online game websites (Konragate etc.)!

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