About bodsey (twitter: @bodozore)

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MISHMASH post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @bodozore)
Saturday, August 29th, 2015 1:25 am

Hi all,

I’m on vacation in Bulgaria, and saturday it was rainy, so I decided to enter LD. Of course sunday was sunny so we went to the beach instead. Anyway, I worked appx. 8h on the entry, and being not home meant I was only with my laptop and without my usual software and tablet. I took my notebook to the beach and draw the assets which I photographed.

I used this very image and cut my assets from it

I used this very image and cut my assets from it

Note that while cutting assets from the photos I added a small drop shadow. I was afraid that the paper texture would create a mess visually, and also I wanted to build on the “craftwork” visual.

monster

I used Playmaker. It’s the first LD I do with Unity and Playmaker. It’s very helpful for small routines and animations, but it can be a pain for more complex algorithms. I wouldn’t say there are complex algorithms in this game, but I lost time at some point doing one thing it would have taken me less time with scripting (it was making the multi-color jauge for the planets)

Overall a great experience. I ended up rushed things a bit on sunday night, to put at least some music and to put together the title screen I had in mind. My only regret was I didn’t have time to test the game properly, although I’m used to iterate a lot. Comments on the game so far seem to support this idea, as the major complains come from things I just didn’t test, like gameplay loopholes.

Here’s my work time breakdown :
– 3h for basic gameplay scripting on saturday. Tested only a bit to check if it was at least fun and functional
– 1h or so of drawing, best assets creation of my life, lying on the beach
– 1h or so of processing assets, back to reality, this was the most painful step.
– 2h for extra scripting (menus, fx)
– 30 min for music composing

I wish I took more time to test the game and to put more sounds in it, but I think my gf would have killed me.

Comments so far have been great and constructive, from my friends or from LD devs. Now I’m starting to wonder where will I take this prototype. Will I turn it into a full game and release it ? I need some more time to consider the question.

Title screen

Title screen

If you want to play the game it’s there!

One – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @bodozore)
Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 5:30 am

screenshot1

 

Hi guys and fellow devs,

Just wanted to hop in the postmortem wagon and let you learn a bit more about how I worked on “One”, my LD28 entry. English isn’t my mother tongue, so be ready to read approximate french-glish.

If you’re interested, you can first test my game here.

The Concept

When I heard about the theme, I got a little disappointed because I voted against it, for the simple reason it didn’t inspire me that much. I almost gave up on participating. My first idea was to make a game about getting only one seed in an arid world, but it was too complicated and, in my opinion, not original enough.

I was a bit depressed that saturday, the sky was dark. Thinking about the LD smoking my cigarette outside, I suddenly decided to cheer myself up by cheering other up, and I decided to make the happiest and cutest game I was able to do in 48h.

With that in mind, I thought about the theme again and remembered that one dream I used to have which filled me with happiness. In this dream I wasn’t flying but jumping so high, and falling so hard ! It was fun and magic. I decided to turn that into a small game.

For those who didn’t play the game, the game is about a little child who learn to jump up to the stars. Little light balls help you to get higher and higher.

The Scope

I’m what you could call a experienced dev, with more than 20 games released in my career, and 4-5 game jams. After several years, I’m now experienced with scoping a game. My advice is to always go for the simplest idea you can have. Because during the course of development, either for a full game or a jam, you’ll always spend twice the time you planned on small things like researching, debugging, adding signs and feedback, etc. We always tend to underestimate the details, so focusing on the simplest idea and growing from there is often the best solution.

Programming

I used Flixel, which is, in my experience, one of the best technology for game jams, for two reasons : it’s perfect to create very small projects in a very short time, and it’s meant to be distributed online, as it’s Flash based. The second is useful for LD because people tend to test games with Web version more (it’s far from being enough to get a lot of ratings, but it helps a bit).

My idea for One was so simple I managed to tackle gameplay code in a couple of hours. I love when it goes that way, because I know I can use plenty of time to make art, music and moreover add signs & feedbacks.

No Instruction

Several people have been surprised, playing One, that there isn’t any instruction. Well it’s been a choice. I love to do game jams to experiment with ergonomics. Having no instruction is a risky challenge. If it’s done right it helps immersion and focusing on the message of the game. If done wrong, it simply ruins the whole experience. So far, I don’t think anybody really got stuck in the game, so I would say I’ve done it right this time !

Here are a non-exhaustive list of simple things I implemented to make sure players learn how to play by themselves :

– Control scheme : as intuitive as possible, only three buttons (left, right and up). Duplicated on ZQD and QWD

– At least one bonus is visible on screen at start, encouraging to reach it and learn to jump and move.

– Audio feedback when touching bonus and also when reaching the current max altitude, hinting a bit on what to do.

– Midgame, my texts help a bit, by notifying that there’s more to discover upward.

Art

I’ve worked with Photoshop. I’ve made backgrounds mainly using a brush to get this cloudy aspect. I didn’t want to spend too much time on animation so I made only a few poses of the character, mixing pixel art and painting techniques.

Music

Surprisingly, I spent most of my time on music, with at least 4 hours spent on it. I must say I got a little carried :) I really enjoyed making it, so I wasn’t able to stop until I was satisfied with that small piece.

What went right

This LD went really well, for the main reason I did a game with a message and an intention in mind, I think. Working with the purpose of sharing a bit of love and poetry is wonderful. I managed to do a little something I’m proud of in far less than 48h because I didn’t get too ambitious and managed to focus on a simple idea and make the best I could of it.

What went wrong

The game was a bit oversized, and loaded from a website it discouraged some of my early testers. They complained it wasn’t working because I forgot to add a preloader : the page showed a blank page for around a minute. I hope those early testers didn’t rate the game too bad. I also stupidly forgot to proof-read my texts and let a small typo in the game (which I corrected later, as I learned it was allowed).

Conclusion

Make game with love, message and passion, focus on a simple idea but don’t forget about the little details ! Happy new year everyone, and let 2014 be filled with hope, love and plenty of wonderful games ! I think games can help the world be a better place, so keep going guys, I love you all.

–Jérôme

You can reach me at contact [at] cuvegames.com if you have any question or feedback which I would love to have. 

 

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