Modus Catapultus on LD36 Jam

Posted by
August 31st, 2016 12:23 pm
Attack enemy forts and catapults with your catapult and supporting units. Use special stones to build/reinforce forts and spawn new catapults.

Movements – WASD or Cursor Keys
Shoot – E/Space hold and release
Switch stones – Q/Shift

Retreat to friendly forts for fixes and resupply.
Screenshot from 2016-08-31 19-49-04

Development Log
@40m into competition (and 4:40am in the morning here) I read the theme and posted that I’m going to participate
@4h – after crawling web for inspiration, looking at Da Vince sketches, reading about Antikythera mechanism, Rome warfare among other stuff I went to sleep feeling that I have some understanding of a game to build. It is supposed to be a top-down naval warfare game.
@8h – waked up, reviewed the sketches and considered the scope to be totally unrealistic. So I’ve changed direction into land-based warfare and simplified it a little.
@9h – changed direction once again to a side-view scrolling artillery-like game that supposed to be about catapults
@14h – have first boxes moving around the screen.
@18h – spent time on tech, that should have been in the toolbox at the beginning – like camera view and rudimentary physics
@20h – stopped and went to bed
@30h – development continues
@32h – first shoots have been fired. What should have taken just 2-3 hours (theme selection, basic setup and rudimentary mechanics) actually took more than a day to develop.
@40h – I started to realize that even the basic mechanics can’t be completed on time.
@47h – decided to target the jam
@62h – back from work and on track again. Reevaluated the concept, removed some features, layered out 12-step program to make that game playable.
@71h 50m – PANIC, since I’ve just completed all necessary features and having some troubles scp-ing that on the server (As it turned out – I’ve been DoSed at the time)
@72h – I’ve managed to release the game and started to update the Jam post entry for better readability.
Total hours logged in development and playtesting:
Day 1 – 14h
Day 2 – 16h
Day 3 – 9h

What Went Right
Almost nothing actually.
* I’m glad I’ve switched the initial concept, since that allowed me to release some moderately playable prototype at least for the jam deadline.
* Also good that I’ve sticked to Vanilla JS and dropped the idea of using full-features JS game engine – last time I’ve participated 1 year ago (LD33) I failed miserably because spent too much time struggling with technology.

What Went Wrong
* I wasn’t ready for the theme. Tools I’ve selected were better suited for some retro-styled art and I didn’t see at the time how that can work with Ancient technology.
* I wasn’t ready whatsoever in general. Good idea would’ve been to participate in one of miniLDs and in warm-up weekend. Also, it would make sense to get familiar with possible theme list, analyze it and consider at least remotely what kind of game can be done with that particular theme.
* Most activities of Day 1 should have been fit into 2-3 hours at most.
* I probably could have squished couple more hours in development. But more could be achieved by better readiness and better focus on things that are important.

Tools Used
JavaScript + 2d Canvas proved to be simple and reliable to provide needed functionality. No surprises as far as I can remember. All game shortcomings are caused by me, since I haven’t been able to deliver more elaborated art and sound content and left striking holes in the gameplay itself – the decision to block fire on entities overlap is one of these ‘dirty rules’ that ended up in the posted game. And it looks really stupid now, once I play it.
Aseprite is not fitting well for that kind of game.

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