Posthistoric ooze – Postmortem story thing

Posted by
April 21st, 2016 10:35 am

So, I finished a game for LD for the fourth time. I have to say that this just becomes more and more fun each time!

Click on the gif to play the game :)

posthistoric-ooze-crop

When I woke up and saw the theme, I was pretty terrified (we get the theme here at 3am on Saturday) 😀 All that came to mind was werewolves, damn you Shadows of Innistrad! But then I started thinking, what if you didn’t control the characters directly, but instead guided them with/in shapeshifting. Once I had the idea, everything started to become very clear. The game mechanics and all.

I programmed in JavaScript (Phaser) and used a template I had created for Ludum Dare. Feel free to use it, if you like, and make suggestions if you think something could be improved. You can find it on github 

I started out with placeholder graphics (just colored boxes) to see if the idea would be any fun. I added P2 physics for “funnier” physics (than just non-rotating box collisions). I had lots of trouble getting the physics to work with the tiling engine (phaser tiled plugin). Afterwards I noticed that it was a matter of a simple typo in my map data. I had already changed to a simpler, less efficient tiling engine (phaser’s own), so it was too late to change back. I had to live with my choices, but luckily the maps were not scrollable anyway, so there wouldn’t be performance problems (which I had plenty in “Oddest Jobs”, my LD32 game). That’s the problem you have when you’re working alone, you can’t tap on someone elses brain power to find a silly bug.

After the game started to take form, day 1 was already in the evening side. I decided to stop working on the code and started to draw graphics. Since I basically already knew what the sprites needed to be and what size, I could work pretty fast. I got most of the graphics into a raw state at the end of day one. I did most of the graphics on the iPad in an app called Pixaki, and the sprite animations in an iPad application as well called Sprite Something. At the end of the day I made a checklist on the features that still need to be done.

At the start of day 2, I knew what was still to be done and felt I had plenty of time. Well, naturally things don’t really work like that 😀 I’m not a musician, so making a song that was tolerable took me some time. I used a music creation plaything called NodeBeat on the iPad. The sounds took quite a while too, since this time I tried to make them extra-not-annoying. I used ChipTone for the sounds. I did finish the game at an early time, but I noticed the game could use a coat of polish, so in come the particles. I was starting to get really tired, so I didn’t get the particles quite as well done as I had hoped, but they look alright! They add enough distraction to the transformations so you don’t notice that they’re an immediate frame change.

The end result is Posthistoric Ooze that takes a page from the lemmings book. I hope you’ll give it a go and maybe rate it too (if you can)! Any improvement-commentary is welcome! I’m working on a post-compo build, so improving on it still :)

My tips (might apply to you or not):

– Use placeholder graphics until the rudimentary game mechanics are done. Basically when a game level can be completed.
– Make an “empty” template that compiles and runs before the compo starts. This will allow you to start coding right away, instead of fighting with webpack or a similar tool.
– Don’t drink too much energy drinks, they kill your focus (and they’re a diuretic, too much time away from the computer :D)
– Make checklists on things that still need to be done, so you’ll remember and can prioritize, and this can actually increase your focus.
– Immediately write down things you think might be good for the game. They can be ignored if they turn out to be too much work.
– Get into a peaceful space to work on the project. For me, it’s the office, there’s nobody else there :)

 


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