LycanQuest Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @mactinite)
April 22nd, 2016 2:10 am

Hello everyone!

I hope playing and rating games is going well! I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about my game and the new things I tried out that happened to work out for me. Anyways, here we go!


This go ’round I got the idea for my game pretty early on. I wanted to make a game where I could focus more on design, and good look and feel. A metroidvania felt perfect for that goal. I listened to a lot of GDC design talks leading up to ludum dare so I could be prepared with a proper toolbelt for level design. From the talks I listened to, 3 things stood out to me as important:

  1. Iterative Design
  2. Visual and Audio Juice
  3. Taking inspiration

First off I will talk about Number 3 very quickly. In my game I obviously “take inspiration” from Castlevania. The level design and the look and feel lean towards that, but also games like Limbo and Risk of Rain. There are a lot of original ideas here, it is amazing how lots of new ideas are experimented with here, but personally, I see no shame in emulating the design practices a game that you love. At any rate, nothing really controversial here, moving on.Screen3

Next I will talk about Visual and Audio juice. I watched the GDC talk “Game Feel: Why your Death Animation Sucks” and it showed some really cool effects I wanted to use. (note: chromatic aberration) So that was clearly something that inspired the way I made my death animation, and when you get hurt. Along those same lines it’s a similar effect when you transform. It was important to me that the player feel the effect of the transformation without having to elongate the animation, and also to draw attention away from my poorly done animation, so that’s why you get the scream and the chromatic aberration. Now the cool screen effects were only one part of it, the particle effects were another thing that added to the weight the sprites had, it was very easy to set this up with Unity and it’s animation system, hooking a public method into a keyframe is vastly powerful for visual effects


Lastly iterative design, the last tool on my toolbelt. Coming in to Ludum Dare I had this pipe dream that I’d be done with the mechanics by Saturday so I could spend all Sunday polishing and tweaking the level design. This didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, which meant that I didn’t have a chance to really use this tool much. The level design did change a bit from my initial vision after playtesting it myself, but it definitely could have used a few more passes.

Even with the worlds tiniest toolbelt, I was still not able to avoid complications. Unity provided plenty of those for me, and the CharacterController2D by Prime31 that I adore didn’t initially act as expected. So after some tweaks I got it working for my player, but I really spent too much time with little sleep trying to tweak things like the jump that detracted away from implementing more important things, like enemies, and the boss. I kept running into little issues like this. Knockback proved difficult to implement at 3am, as did enemy wolf dashing, but still I got it to a functional state. With all these tiny features taking hours to implement, it left me with a little less than an hour to design and program the boss. Fortunately I was able to copy code from the other enemies and just change it to fit with my idea for the boss. Even with all these problems, I was happy I ended up with a complete game, however tiny it is.


Not to say I ended up with a perfect game either. There were lots of bugs and tweaks I couldn’t squash or fix. There was always a problem with the sprite flashing of enemies when you hit them, knockback was still inconsistent, human combat was awkward, the boss fight wasn’t clear, and the wolf enemies dash made them seem to come out of nowhere. I also had some design problems that I just couldn’t get to; for example getting a platforming section directly after getting the wolf form was no good as the wolf form was meant for speed and damage, not platforming. But even with the hundreds of glaring problems, I ended up with something I  put a lot of work into, and I feel like I can be proud of it.


So with that, I will leave you guys with this:

No matter how many problems you or others see in the game you made, be proud of it. You did the game developers equivalent of a 100 meter sprint, and you crossed the finish line in time. Take the problems you see and the feedback you get here to make a better game next time. I hope to see you back here in August. 


You can play/rate my game here: 

P.S. I uploaded a post-compo version of my game with controller support, improved enemies, and a sort of checkpoint system.


One Response to “LycanQuest Post-Mortem”

  1. MSiddeek says:

    Dude! That looks so cool! Will check it out when I get back.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]