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Pixelander postmortem?

Posted by
Sunday, December 18th, 2016 8:04 am

The first 30 hours after the theme was announced I was making a compo game about a kid on a pogostick that had a fun mechanic about using the previous room to solve the puzzles in the room you were currently in, the bad thing  was that IT SUCKED.
I had spent the first 30 hours of the jam making a game that I hated playing. So what could I do after that?
Option A: Polish the game in the next 18 hours and hope for the best.
Option B: Make a new game  and go for the jam (42 hours left for that).
Option C: Make a new game from scratch in the next 18 hours and go for the compo.
So since I work better under pressure, I went with option  C and this was the result

In Pixelander you  play a series of levels where you  try to get through a door but there is only room for one inside the  door, so it opens when only one character has survived the level.
The trick is, that you don’t have direct control of your player, you can only add objects in the environment to make him or his enemies change directions, jump and go to places that they wouldn’t go in the first place.
After you place the objects in the level  and you are ready to start you have 10 seconds to make your enemies  kill each other and your character go through the door.

So since this is a post mortem let’s talk about what went well and what didn’t.
Things that went well:
Graphics. I liked how they turned out considering the 18 hour limit I had.
Gameplay. Loved the strategic placement of the objects to solve each level.
Game Length. About 30-40 minutes to finish the game depending on your puzzle solving skills
Mechanics. Felt unique and different from everything I had created before.
Level Design. Levels  have different ways of being solved, and it was nice seeing different people (streamers on twitch and friends on skype)solving them in different ways.

Things that went wrong:
Music and Sound FX: Didn’t have enough time to implement any of that
Difficulty: After the first 7 levels I realised I didn’t have enough time to spend on them so I made the rest on a hurry, which means the last levels are easier than the earlier ones… a bit weird difficulty curve.
Tutorial: Again, not enough time to make a proper tutorial about how the game is played without reading the game’s description.
Ease of Use: Almost everyone wanted to try solving each level without using all the objects, and they couldn’t do that, so instead they had to put the objects they didn’t wanna use in random places. The reasons you have to use all the objects before starting the level are:
A) I had to make sure players saw they had new objects in their inventory.
B) I had to make sure they couldn’t place objects after the characters started walking.

I wish I hadn’t spent  so much time making a game that didn’t feel right from the beginning, and everything that went wrong  could have gone really well. Nevertheless I am really happy with the result and I am considering making it into a full game.

Thanks for reading, and if you want to try out the game here it is: Pixelander


Posted by
Sunday, December 11th, 2016 9:19 am

I was working on my game from the beginning of Ludum Dare and a few minutes ago I decided that I didn’t have much time to create and implement the artwork that my game needed. Long story short, I am making a new game from scratch, this time a bit minimalistic on the graphics.

20 hours to go :)

Good luck to all of you guys.

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