ShapeMagnet Post-Mortem!

May 5th, 2016 8:21 pm

A bit late, but finally writing my post-mortem! If you want to check it out, here’s the link!

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It’s kinda bad to suck in your own game

The Beginning

So, this is my 4th Ludum Dare, so it’s been a year since I started taking the challenge! Actually it was also when I started to really game development! Time sure flies, and so much improvement! I’m really happy about how far I’ve come, but also excited about how much more there is to learn!

Anyway, since it was like 1 year anniversary I wanted to do something special, but work and life has been really crazy, I can barely work on my side project, so I wasn’t able to prepare anything really, except that I tried out Inkscape a bit. Also I had a really busy weekend coming, so I knew I wouldn’t have much time to dedicate to LD either. That was a bit sad, but whatever, I was still going to do it!

The Concept

So when the theme was announced I kinda panicked. I had no idea what to do, and I was worried about the time it would take to make all assets (my slowest skill). So I just figured that I would have to make something really simple so that assets wouldn’t take much time, and so (as most people) I decided to use just geometric shapes. And so my first reference was Geometry Wars (it’s even my recommended BGM). In the end it was mostly the aesthetics.

And then I thought about doing a stealth game, in which the main mechanics would be if you were the same shape of an enemy, it would ignore you. But then I thought it would be too difficult, but I would keep the main mechanic. And so it was time to work! (Actually 20 hours after the start)

The Good

– Graphics

So graphics were a big deal, I wanted to keep it simple so I wouldn’t waste too much time on it, but I really wanted the neon style and that the animation was smooth, since the theme was shapeshifting. And alas, my newly acquired Inkscape skills came to be handy! First it was to make geometric shapes in a fast way, then the neon I would apply a filter. I was only worried about the animation, but then it came to me the interpolation function!

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Shapeshifting frames. Inkscape did most of the job for me!

And so I did the best square, triangle, star and circle I could make (so hard!) tweaked the filters a bit, and BAM! Interpolation made all the frames for me! It came out really nice, I think! Now the rest  I could do programmatically, like rotation and light tricks (every shape has its own point light that moves according to its velocity)

– Mechanic

So one of my events was a birthday party, and there I was able to talk a bit about my idea for the game, and it helped me a lot! So I came up with the idea of having to reach a goal by collecting keys and avoiding other shapes that were different from you. The ones same as you would be repelled, and so I used a basic electrical force formula to apply force in all shapes in the arena, and there you go, simple as that! And it turned out quite fun! It was really simple, but there were a lot of possibilities to how go through the level, even without spawning the shapes randomly!

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Mechanic test. Actually a quite hard scenario.

The Bad

– BGM

So I put a lot of effort to make the assets, but I couldn’t just get the right tune for the BGM. Like Geometry wars, I wanted to have a electronic feel to it, but I don’t actually listen to electronic music, and I’m not really a composer, so after some hours trying to make the music I just gave up (and it was the right decision, I submitted the game like 1 minute before the deadline). Guess I have to practice more my composition skills!

– Rush

Oh the lack of time! All LD have this pressure feeling, but this time it was a big thing. I couldn’t stop coding, even if it was to just rethink a better way to do something. All my assets and code organization is really nasty xp If anyone is interested in having a look at my source code I apologize in advance ^^; Management stuff like Trello and Toggl were left out too, which is kinda sad, I couldn’t keep track of my performance… But oh well, it was for the greater good.

The Future

And thus, it has ended! Or has it? I think this game, although very simple and made in a rush, had the best feedback of all my entries! It’s a shame that I couldn’t work out a post-compo version, I’ve been busy with work and playing all the games (100% coolness!). But still I want to make it! Maybe I can get it before the judging ends? Or maybe I will continue it’s development even after? I’m thinking about changing some things too, even tweak the mechanics, who knows what will happen in the future?

Anyways, thank you for reading this far! I really had fun this LD and I hope you had too! If you are interested in the game you can play it here (again)! I also have a twitter and an itch.io account! There isn’t much yet, but I’ll tidy up things pretty soon! Any news about the game I shall post about it too! I hope to see you around đŸ˜‰


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