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contact lost post mortem

Posted by
Monday, August 31st, 2009 8:22 pm

So! I didn’t finish my entry. I submitted it, but it wasn’t finished and I can’t help but feel a little defeated. The levels needed more design and more content, I wanted to add a jetpack (mobility enhancers are mandatory in metroid games :P), 2 more guns, at least 2 more types of enemies, a boss fight, and narration. I’d have been happy to have gotten there, but looking back… I was pretty screwed.

So I’ll start with my mistakes, first:

Not the base code I wanted: I had planned on prepping some base code beyond Flixel (perhaps even writing my own flash game engine), but didn’t get around to it. This alone isn’t a huge deal, since the starting point I had is still quite good.

A bit lost: Not much dev experience with the sort of game I was trying to build. Coding wise, it was mostly pretty simple 2d logic, but if I had had more experience, I would’ve used (or created) a level editor and I would’ve gotten the characters up and running much faster. Not to mention I would’ve prioritized dev for gameplay features a lot better. At least I learned a lot!

Bad planning with my time: On top of mistakenly thinking I had 2 hours longer than I really did, I wasn’t really in gear on Saturday, yet Saturday accounted for more than 1/2 of my dev time. I still got a lot done on Saturday, but I left a lot of important stuff for Sunday, stuff that would’ve allowed me to begin designing levels much sooner.

Point by point:

Gameplay: I wasn’t trying to do anything particularly clever, just good fun sidescrolling, action/adventure gameplay. I do like what I got, but it was a shadow of what I wanted. Unfortunately the game is such that more gameplay depth requires a fair amount of new content, which is time intensive, which makes it a bad fit for LD. Still, of the stuff I did get around to adding,  I feel like I got it right.

Art: I’m really enjoying drawing sprites, it’s not something I normally do. I love the walk animation on the guys! I might try drawing some sprites in my free time now. With some more practice, I think I could put more detail into my characters.

Graphics, tech wise: My shadow implementation could be way better, but despite this, I was able to make it look okay. It tripped me out when I realized I was placing static lights in my levels as decoration! The fx and such were okay, but now I want to make a serious fx-oriented particle system.

Sound!!!: This one really tore me up. I wanted to use pretty realistic sounds and couldn’t bring myself to use sfxr. That left me in a pretty bad spot, so I just gave up. Lame!

Overall? I like it. It can be played and enjoyed. But it’s clearly unfinished. It makes me want to work on it more.

And a parting thought:

I didn’t realize this at first, but looking back, I clearly approached this LD as an excuse to prototype a game – but not necessarily finish a game. Next time I’ll be seriously considering going for a smaller game design.

contact lost timelapse

Posted by
Monday, August 31st, 2009 1:17 am

With annotations!

Edit: I’ll try to do a post mortem later, I’m thinking tomorrow though :)

time for sleep

Posted by
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 2:25 am

cavern time!

Posted by
Friday, August 28th, 2009 9:24 pm

After making Stygian Tunnel Beast I was kind of hoping both Burrowing and Caverns would lose, but despite this I think I’ve got a pretty simple but compelling idea that I like. It involves  side-view, a really big cavern, soldiers, guns, and a jetpack. I think it’s pretty different from what Gilvado has in mind :)

Stygian Tunnel Beast

Posted by
Monday, July 27th, 2009 12:13 am

Here’s my first entry into LD/mini-LD:

Image of Stygian Tunnel Beast

Play the game at:http://www.echelon5.net/max/STB.swf


I present to you:

Stygian Tunnel Beast!

Stygian Tunnel Best is a game where, as you might have guessed, the player is a Stygian tunnel beast. Don’t worry if you’ve not heard of them, I made them up. They’re sort of like the worms from tremors, except they live in the underworld, feed on souls, and are responsible for managing the complex netherworld ecosystem.

The game is built around a semi-sculptable world where the player has to interact with a regenerating set of creatures that live in the world. The player can’t die, but if you only have 1 point of energy left, you will be unable to move. This doesn’t mean you’re dead though, because if you’re lucky and not completely cut off from the rest of the map, a soul might wander into your mouth, giving you energy to move again. If you’re really truly stuck and don’t have enough energy to move, you’ll have to restart the game manually.

There also isn’t any way to win. You can carve up the environment, place tons of obelisks, hoard up energy, thralls, and mana, and occasionally a tough enemy will show up for you to kill, but beyond that there is no end to the game, or any given objectives.

How to play:

– Move around with the arrow keys.

– You can climb along walls and even ceilings, but not around in space.  (Note: Moving up along a wall costs 2 energy, and is slower.)

– The x button makes you eat any souls or thralls that happen to be near your mouth. Eating gives you energy. You can hold the button down and happily chow on an oncoming stream of souls.

– The number keys (1-7) select your powers.

– Press c to use the selected power.

– All actions require some energy to do, even moving.

– When you eat souls, you get a bonus 10 energy for each soul beyond the first you eat, so try to batch as many together as possible in 1 place before eating them.
– Mana is required by 2 of your abilities. To get it, you need to create thralls. Either keep your thralls alive and you will slowly gain maina, or eat your thralls for a quick boost.


Gameplay reference: Read more here


Tools used: Flixel, SFXR, WinLAME, FlashDevelop, GraphicsGale, GIMP


– You can get “stuck” in midair. I wanted to overhaul the player movement (and improve the animation), but didn’t have time. If this happens, you can try placing blocks and using them to reach dry land again.

– Souls on the right side of the map walk through the ground often. I have no idea why, but didn’t have time to really debug this. Partly because I like the middle area of the map more anyway..

– I’m sure there are more. In fact there are probably some things I just accept now that are actually bugs 😛

Things I havn’t tried doing in the game yet:

– Destroying/eating every destroyable block. I imagine it would be very difficult…

– Getting more than 200 concurrent thralls. I imagine the game will start slowing down at some point.

– Building a little undead city with a bunch of thralls and obelisks in it. (Wish I had time to expand the game in this direction.)

– make a colony of thralls using only golden souls

I’ll be uploading a dev timelapse later. Time to sleep :)

EDIT: timelapse can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDbMpd0U-dI

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