Post Mortem: Detached

Posted by (twitter: @khahem)
August 26th, 2015 5:48 am

Detached

I made a puzzle game, again. This is my seventh LD entry, written in Javascript, I wanted to try something new, and the new things this time were real drawn art and WebGL.

 

The Theme

When I first saw the winning theme, I knew this would be quite a challenge for me. The tone of the theme, “You are the monster”, not simply “Monster”, pushed me towards a subjective perception of being a monster, but talking about a subjective feeling required establishing a context first.  All the ideas I had where I could express the idea of being a monster for the others required a lot of content and story, and I’m not a great content-maker, even less a good story-teller.

The game is still rooted in this idea, altering your identity to fit a requirement and be accepted, it’s not just a veneer of monster graphic assets on a puzzle game, but I wish the relation to the theme was more visible, better explored and discussed.

Triangles are monster too !

 

The Tech

WebGL was pretty great to work with. I love the canvas, it’s simple and is fast enough nowadays, but I get frustrated by browsers taking shortcuts in rendering quality, bad banding in gradients, bad antialiasing, huge variations between the blend modes implementations (if they work at all…). The single matrix stack of the canvas is also annoying if you want a moving camera, the freedom gained by using WebGL is awesome here. Compatibility and performance predictability went much better than expected, I had a minor problem with Internet Explorer (just don’t use any GL extension and things will be ok), but I think it’s the first entry that works on all major browsers, HTML5 things are really getting better every day.

Next time however, I’ll prepare text drawing code, it’s the big thing that’s not easy in OpenGL and I knew it, I had to prepare a texture manually for each line of text, which is really not great when you want to work efficiently, hence the lack of dialogue in the game, which would have greatly helped establishing the story.

 

The Art

It’s the first time I really tried to draw something, I usually avoid the difficulty and go for a minimalistic vector-and-code style. This worked amazingly well given that I don’t know how to draw at all. I started on paper and vectorized the monster with Inkscape. Then it was a quite interesting challenge of layering to be able to recolor all parts of the monsters in the game (the custom shaders greatly helped here, I probably couldn’t have done this with a simple canvas with decent speed). I only animated the eye, but all three parts of the monsters can move separately.

What's your angle ?

 

Conclusion

Well, I almost abandoned mid-LD, so it was the usual emotional roller-coaster. But it was a great LD, and I’m really happy with the result, I took risks and did new things and it worked. Next time I promise, again, I’ll have music in my game…

If you’ve made a puzzle game too, please leave me a comment, I’ve not seen one yet while playing and rating and I’m curious to see what could be done with the theme. Meanwhile, you can play Detached here, or see my previous games there.

 

 

What you lookin' at ?


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