Super Battle Cycle: Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @mattlawrdev)
December 29th, 2016 2:50 pm

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Hello everyone, 2017 is almost here, and so are results! Here’s my overdue post-mortem.

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How the game looks now (1.0.9)

The Concept

Super Battle Cycle is a sort of driving top down shooter thing that I made for the compo. LD37 was always intended to be my first pixel art compo. I wanted a simple semi-monochrome or GameBoy-like art style… but with the theme of One Room I just couldn’t think of any original ideas that I would be able to execute quickly. A toy driving/fighting game sounded appealing, and I eventually decided to make a top down driving shooting physics game (how complex it sounds now). Soon enough I had created a prototype of the physics gameplay using a little motorcycle sprite I ended up sticking with.

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My entry’s first GIF

Many players have commented that the game is unique in its grappling hook mechanic, utilizing physics as a weapon. I am very happy with this grappling gameplay because I feel that it’s fun (and juicy).

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Boom. Objects are used to destroy enemies.

The game has about seven levels with three short help levels, all taking place in a room with rearranged levels for your toy cycle to shoot cars in.

The Bad

Alright, so most of all I need to put time aside for playtesting. This is what I never get around to in Ludum Dare because for some reason I put it off. Clearly it would have fixed the problems many players had with controls early on.

Something I wish I fixed before the initial deadline was pixelation! During development I had no method of rendering the correct GameBoy resolution in the exported game, and I had no time to find one (the first GIF seen above was taken in the editor, not the export). The initial version was just a 2D physics game with rotating sprites… something I am not proud of D:

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Look closely at the cars and cycle… they aren’t pixels.

Even so, after this pixelation was fixed I couldn’t make the HUD render in GameBoy pixels without reworking it entirely. Maybe this will be fixed in the post-compo versions.

Finally, players have pointed out the the grappling mechanic should be more important than the other mechanics that are “unlocked” throughout the game’s levels. They couldn’t be more right, I see now that each feature should have built upon the grappling attack mechanic! This must be fixed in the post-compo version, huh?

The Good

Now onto the good… I have felt from the start that the grappling-driving gameplay is pretty fun and original compared to my other entries. Crossing my fingers to do well in innovation, if that’s my best chance!

I sorta made a few “tutorial levels” that introduce the base mechanics through help messages. It’s not the best way, but it’s something! This hopefully fixed the previous problems I’ve had with first levels.

Also, I’ve finally scratched the surface of pixel art with this game… hooray. It’s faster than 3D modelling and animating, so I might try it again in Ludum Dare. The sprites themselves were probably a bit mediocre, but maybe I can learn more. Speaking of art, the music was quite decent for how quickly I made it, and oh man, this time around I did many good things in juiciness 😀 Camera-shake explosions never hurt, right?

Final Thoughts

I also have a timplapse that will briefly show the process of my entry’s development:

So based off of feedback, the concept is the game’s strong point, but I made a lot of errors.

I won’t continue developing this one very much if it isn’t good enough (time is precious with school and all). I’m hoping to place top 100 in something, or even get top 100 overall for the first time (I doubt it). If my results are my best yet, I’ll try to develop the game and even sell it! Hoping for the best~

You can play the game here! Please do give feedback 😀


 

TL;DR – The game had lots of problems with execution but it was still fun for the most part. It also might be developed further if the results are reaaaally good, ha.

 

Thanks for reading, play link is just a few lines up there. See you next time!

-Power Spark

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