Postmortem – IT Ninja

Posted by (twitter: @SteamburgerStud)
April 28th, 2016 10:53 pm

> Play IT Ninja, Now! <

IT Ninja was the smoothest ride I’ve ever had on LDJAM! Within moments of the theme announcement, the idea for a simple ninja stealth game just popped into my brain. The idea was to have the player complete a set of easy tasks while navigating a maze filled with sentinels, hide in plain sight by transforming into random objects, and go 100% undetected or fail the stage. By the end Friday night I had settled on a top-down view with click to move NavMeshAgents; Unity has a great tutorial set on this, so I used that as the basis of my player and AI. The vast majority of the game was made Saturday, with some cleanup and packaging on Sunday. I honestly don’t know how I settled in on a modern office as the backdrop, but it works well and it’s really easy to make props! Fun fact, the file cabinets, walls, and flooring are just unity Cubes and Planes stretched and squashed into position.

In my first LDJAM (28), sound was a crucial element, and it was perhaps where most of my time was spent during the polishing phase. I knew that the scope of this project would too large, so I elected to use more time working on lights, VFX, and Camera Shakes instead. I think this paid off in the end, as these elements add so much to the look and feel overall.


Diegetic UI:I really wanted my entire UI to be Diegetic (visualized spatiality as part of the game world ala Deadspace), but I simply ran out of time to do it 100%. You can see that the Level number, tutorial text, and the computer hacking elements along with the Exit signs are all Diegetic. However, the pause menu and next level screens are not. I’m especially proud of the computer screens, which use a simple UI slider, hovering just enough out in front.



Physics and randomness plays a small part in this game, and based on the feedback this needs to be cranked up to 11 for the humor factor alone. Local feedback shows that players love it when the AI pushes you around and interacts with your transformation, perhaps one day the AI will “use” you, such as pouring a glass of water from the water cooler. Updated version will also have more ambient objects that can be kicked around and manipulated just for grins.


My biggest regret for this Jam was not having more levels. It wasn’t until after Level 1 was made that I found just how poorly I designed the main game state logic. Everything was joined up at the hip by hand, rather than with a graceful state manager. It was going to take too long to redesign, so Level 2 was just as messy and I stopped while I was ahead to polish it up. I’ve since gone back in and made the beginnings of a game state machine, which will simply look for a set of conditions, rather than force-feeding it into multiple scripts and UI buttons. Hopefully the game manager will be completely modular, so that all a level designer has to do is drop it in as a prefab as they make new levels. Reception and feedback has been beyond my wildest dreams; a shameless self-plug on R/Low_Poly yielded an astonishing amount of votes and comments. The notes left here have been overwhelmingly positive and constructive, enough so that I’ll be making this a fleshed out full title under the Steamburger banner!


Thank you for playing, thank you for voting, and thank you for your creations! Can’t wait till next time!


> Play IT Ninja, Now! <

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