Professor Chaos’s “48H Postmortem”

Posted by (twitter: @Mach60KAS)
August 28th, 2015 8:30 pm

–> Do you love fish puns? Jokes about hair? Social situations made awkward? Play Professor Chaos’s “Mean Sardine Machine”! <–

This dare I asked myself, “Hey, why don’t I take it a little bit easier?”. My last LD projects¬†have all been multiplayer games – which means an increase in work load during the event as well as one hell of a commitment over the voting period. I hadn’t worked out anything about my toolsets before beginning the event – I figured everything would fall into place, more or less. But hey, I got to make something that people seem to find funny – and I’m pretty proud of that in a way.

I feel like I could have done so much more with this, had I spent my time properly and prepared better. It’s all in the past now – all that remains is to take my own advice into account for this December:

What went right?

  • Staying away from making a multiplayer game was probably for the best. Even with watcher pages and notifiers, it’s incredibly frustrating whenever you see the “I tried to play your game but no one was on” comment – it’s so draining having to watch your own game like a hawk as well as rating others. It’s even worse when you can see people rate after not even playing.
  • Going for a script based game was almost as easy as I wanted it to be. Less programming, and so less debugging! I achieved what I wanted to do by encoding levels in a JSON format and putting command tags in the text itself, such as <wait: 1> to control the UI and the flow of the game.
  • Writing a comedic game meant I could adopt a similarly silly style for the character portraits – I went with the crazy eyebrows everywhere in honour of Dr. Wily. People seem to like them, which is all I could really hope for.
  • I got in music, for once!

What went wrong?

Professor Chaos, Eyebrow Wielder Extraordinaire.

Professor Chaos, Eyebrow Wielder Extraordinaire.

  • Writing a script based game is emotionally draining. Writer’s block is real, and it’s even worse when you’re¬†trying to be funny. I felt like I was just rehashing jokes and beating various dead horses by the end of the writing process. At least in programming based games there’s a constant stream of work to keep you busy when you’re low on ideas – this kind of thing just left me staring at the screen for extended periods.
  • No preparation. I went in without any idea of what engine I’d be using, as well as if I’d even be using one! Not a good start, and I ended up using phaser again more out of desperation than anything else.
  • I got to spend just an hour on the music, which led to me getting stuck on making it loop decently.
  • Deciding to take it easier this jam made me work slower. It’s hard to explain, but I know that if I’d worked anywhere near as hard on this as I did for my past 3 games then I’d have so much more to show for my time. Perhaps deciding on an easier project harmed my determination.

What was missing from the final game?

Background art for every scenario was originally a key part of my game plan, but I ran out of time and had to settle for hastily labelled blank backgrounds. Similarly, there were meant to be far more portraits completed – they share the same fate. I intended to have sound effects and more music, as well as having all the characters speak aloud in Animalese (a feature I think would have been hilarious), but alas. The story was essentially complete as well, but I’d have loved to fit in a larger variety of jokes and interactions.

Thoughts for the Future:

  • Prepare beforehand, and practice your languages and tools of choice.
  • Never decide to take it easy – you’ll just ruin your work ethic!
  • Consider writing dialogue parsing/scripting libraries beforehand and providing them to the community to give yourself more time during the main event. God, do I hate string parsing…
  • Practice pixel art and drawing itself more often, or else you’ll be completely at a loss when you find yourself in an art heavy project.

Favourites so far!

I’ll let all these games speak for themselves – you really owe it to yourself to play these!

We Missed You! by RHY3756547

Lady Bug by dickpoelen

456 Tahini by wademcgillis

The Trial of Tyrone Rex by Manky

Writhe: The Thing from the Omega Sector by DragonXVI

Thanks for reading, have fun and keep on voting!

One Response to “Professor Chaos’s “48H Postmortem””

  1. AlariSilver says:

    Hey, you also wrote a script-based game!

    I’ll go check it out now. :3

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