Post Mortem of Loop Hell

Posted by (twitter: @axoonaa)
December 22nd, 2016 12:56 pm

This post contains spoilers, if you would like to check out the game first before reading click here.

Loop Hell is a puzzle game where you are damned to loop in the same room over and over again for eternity. The game plays with gamer’s expectations I guess, as they expect some sort of a escape room type of game, where their actions would eventually allow them to get out of the room. Instead there is no way out, the character is truly in hell, the one where you end up after doing something wrong. The objective of the game is finding this out. There is only some sort of brief explanation why the character ended up in hell: the articles and the final dialog. But again, he is in hell so there is no time for small talk.

The game is therefore a bit annoying. It was intended this way althought I may have made it a bit too much for some people. I mean it’s really a pity people abandon the game halfway before discovering anything…
In other words, it needs to be annoying because otherwise the game doesn’t have sense but it should be somewhat less annoying so that people would not abandon… tricky question really.

loop hell

Anyway this is my first Ludum Dare entry made in Unity. It worked well, I think I will be switching to this technology completely, even though it has a major drawback for game jams which is the long load time of WebGL versions.

 

The good points

graphics – I’m not a graphics artist so graphics take a lot of time, this time was no different, I have spent half of the time doing visuals but I’m quite happy with the result. I have beed practicing pixel art since last time and I feel I’ve progressed. I’m also really pleased with the animations. I used GIMP for static graphics and aseprite for animations and it worked well.

char machine

music – I like the tune I composed even though it could have been more elaborated but I guess in a loop game about hell it serves its purpose. I used LMMS which is very powerful for a free of charge tool!

time management – it is difficult to devote all 48H to Ludum Dare and usually real life can’t wait so it’s important to assess well the time available for game creation at the beginnig. The initial game idea served this purpose. I have made a list of priority stuff to implement and made things based on these priorities. I am happy because I managed to implement all the priority stuff.


Points to improve

testing – testing a loop game is hell. Literally. I have overseen that during planning. I’ve spent 6 hours just playtesting and debugging the game, and it was really time consumming. So it is an obvious point but still worth metionning: when brainstorming on game ideas think already about testing. The good side of this was that I have played the whole loop several times and still found that annoyingness was acceptable…

small details – I didn’t have time to implement any small details that should show the player that the room is changing, any superficial objects that could introduce error, or small changes to the puzzle.. the fact they didn’t make it into the game was that they had low priority. The question is whether the game would be really much better with them inside. Should I have gone for the jam? I decided it wasn’t worth it.

the puzzle itself – the puzzle itself is very simple and may be too simple. But I’m torn on this one, I know some people abandon the game because they don’t see the solution so maybe if it was more complex even more people would abandon?

Anyway I’ve received some fantatastic feedback so far, and thank you so much for that. This has been an intersting game experiment and I hope more people will play the game and tell me what they think. WebGL and downloadable versions are available.


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