Post Mortem: Potion Shift

Posted by (twitter: @ekkiiiii)
April 21st, 2016 8:55 am

PotionShiftTitle

Our personal goal for this jam was to focus on polish more than anything else because that is something we had the most trouble with in earlier jams. By the way, this was our third Ludum Dare of the past four, which also made it our first Ludum Dareversary. This post mortem is mostly focused on the design and production aspects of development, we might talk about programming, visuals and music in another one.

How it looked on Day 1...

How it looked on Day 1…

... and the result!

… and the result!

The idea for the game came rather quickly, and due to the amount of resources about the genre it did not take longer than a few hours to come up with a playable prototype. Creating a match-three-game was something we discussed before, as part of some “make all the genres but start with the casual stuff”-masterplan. After we had come up with our initial idea and set up a first gameplay prototype we ran into some motivational problems. It might have been the different way we approached the jam this time but after the basics were done work pretty much stopped for the rest of day one. Luckily George came over to help us out with sounds and music on the second day, which forced us to continue working and ultimately lead to us becoming motivated enough to keep working through the rest of Day 2 and 3.

We did not see the full potential of our shapeshifting idea until Day 2, which might have also played a role in us losing motivation at first but then regaining it. The shapeshifting had to be incorporated into the game in a understandable way. That is why we came up with the idea to let people play a match-three-game as usual and then shift a creature with the data we get out of that. It took us a full day to see that what was initially planned as nothing but a visual gimmick would have an effect on the gameplay as well. When we put the monster in and added the mechanic to change shapes when crushing potions the playtesting opened our eyes and we saw that our gimmick was actually a mechanic. We unintentionally ended up with a meta-game to be played while playing the core game If you have not played the game: Certain amounts of certain potions will change the shape of a body part of the monster, and to achieve a full shapeshift it is neccessary to crush a lot of one color while avoiding all the others as much as possible. That is one of the two tactics we found so far, the other being very good at creating large chain reactions and having a bunch of luck that enough of the right potions are destroyed. It was nice to see that we don’t have to try and build up a complex idea beforehand and can just go for it and come up with something interesting.

The Collection

The Collection

Because we wanted to get as much as possible out of the mechanic we had, we added the collection to the main menu. I usually like collectibles in games, if they don’t feel arbitrary and fit the gameplay as well as the theme and/or story. The collection also seemed like a good way to communicate the target of the game to players without having to write a long text most people won’t read. It was particularly hard to refrain from trying to add more content and/or features, as it usually is when the basic idea works well. But we managed to focus on our initial goal of making a more polished game instead of an overly ambitious one. Even though we spent way more time than before on making everything seem finished the game still has some issues. Most of them came up in the comments we received so far (thank you to everybody who commented!) and we want to tackle those next before either building around the jam version or try to port it for mobile devices.

Play and rate our game here

Tags: , , ,


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]