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Dreamonaut – Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @hbocao)
Friday, August 29th, 2014 9:14 pm

Hello there!

Be careful! Non-native english speaking person. :)

This is my fourth time participating, but still a newbie in game making. Since my second time I was not alone and with each edition, the team grew one member. We discussed after we finished, but this is my personal analysis

This time we made a game that looks like a beat ‘em up and shoot ‘em up crossover gameplay-wise with a simple message. The game is about a girl that fights her problems in her dreams and is called Dreamonaut (check it out and give us some feedback).

The good

Graphics: for the first time we had someone with real talent to do the art. Well, it really paid off. I think the games looks real good. Although it’s the first time of Dyoni making art for games, he did a freaking awesome job. I can’t praise him enough.

Mood: last game we did for LD, we had one sound effect and one very short song loop. This time we spent a good portion of the time to find and record some effects and ended up using different ambient sounds and set of songs. I think we did a good job combining graphics, music and effects to create the right atmosphere for the game.

Planning: last time we planned, but didn’t discuss the game design too deeply at the start and we payed for it at the deadline. Too many rushed decisions. This edition, we planned almost all the game before starting and we keep taking notes and expanding every level and cutscene with dialogs and all. We write it down which sounds would sound cool and all. This helped so much when we needed to cut some things off. Best thing we did, for sure.

Dreamonaut

The bad [luck]

The spider: Saturday, evening. Fernando, one of the programmers, forgot his toothbrush and went to the nearest mall to buy one. When he got to the car, there was a spider inside, and it got away when he tried to kill it. Goosebumps.

The car crash: While leaving the garage, the door (which closes automatically very quick) scrapped his car roof. :(

The internet is down: the internet went down and we struggle to commit and download the code (we’re using Visual Studio Team Foundation for it). This also prevent us to check some Phaser and Typescript examples.

The Sick: I woke up very sick on Sunday. Freaking sinusitis. It really hit me. I had fever late at evening and needed to go home at 9PM. I didn’t even got to my everyday work on Monday.

The Dead Battery: Monday, 3 AM. The rest of the guys kept working late on Sunday until they decide that some of them could still work on through Monday. When Fernando went to his car, it didn’t started. The battery was dead. Yup, poor guy. They all slept over Filipe’s house and at 7AM, Fernando’s father came in and helped them out.

The ugly

No knowledge: we didn’t even saw line of Typescript code before and just two of us played with Phaser before. This almost ruined us. We lost a huge amount of time finding how to do stuff in Typescript or how things worked in Phaser. Don’t get me wrong, the tools are awesome, but now we understand the value of the warm up weekend.

Gameplay: It is way too simple. We planned to do many things, but we got stuck with problems cited above and, of course, lack of talent/experience. We planned to do different attacks for the main character on each level, powerups to change the game even more, much more enemies with different set of skills, more boss epicness (like the last one would shoot “confusion bullets” that would invert the controls). But we needed to rush to finish it in time. It’s a shame.

PS. Till this day, the spider is nowhere to be found.

 

Oxy Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @hbocao)
Saturday, August 31st, 2013 11:53 am

Hey there,

I made a little game called Oxy (please give some feedback) and here it’s its postmortem.

The background

I like games and I play a lot of them. I got into programming because I wanted to make one, but never finished any worth showing project.

The Beginning

I wasn’t going to enter LD. I was only waiting for the theme announcement and I was just going to play around. I had no idea of what tools to use or how to make it. The theme was out around friday at 23h where I live and I stayed up until 2h in the morning trying to think of something to start. All I got was an “old” idea that could be adapted to the theme, but it didn’t feel right. So I went off to bed and started thinking about giving up.

The Concept

The basic idea of 2 divers in an underwater cave only hit Saturday morning. From this moment on I had a blast of ideas. Some of them were good and others, totally crap. Like the idea of moving the 2 characters at same time. I’m so glad I didn’t push it. It would ruin what become the best decision I took. Finally I got to the idea of having the 2 characters, but one of them would be unconscious and would be in need to be dragged around. Both would be in a underwater lab that would need 2 people in different positions at the same time to push the buttons to open doors. The only thing that I was certain about it, was [SPOILER-select to read] that Dave wouldn’t make to the end alive. My main goal was to make the player feel attached to Dave and then, well, kill him. [/SPOILER]

The bad

  • Instructions: I think I could have made a better job at explaining the game to the player. I made the “title”, “game over” and “win screen” in a heartbeat before the due time. I almost forgot to include the controls.
  • Planing: I hadn’t planned anything at all. Not even whether I was going to participate or not. That made difficult to polish some ideas. Next time, I hope to be more prepared.
  • Short: This is kinda good for the competition, but I wish I did more story-wise. I wanted to create a connection between Dave and the player, which some people got it, but I think I could have done a better job here. It feels a little forced how it all happens.
  • Difficulty: Well, of course I’m the master of my own game, but there’s other people in the world, with different skills and patience. Once you died, you had to go through all again. As some user stated, it felt like a chore (even if at the end it was a rewarding one). Some people suggested some sort of checkpoint but I think that would break the immersion. It just needed to be a little more easier.

The good

  • Finished: Hell yeah. I f****** did it! I finished something that I’m not afraid to show. \o/
  • Music and sound: Many users loved the music and so do I. I was very lucky to find the Circuli app. I spent a bunch of hours playing with many music generators (because I have no talent), but none of them felt right. I like how I made the sound effects (the 2 of them haha) fits with the music and ambient.
  • Mood: The music really sets it, but I think that the little narrative and dilemma makes it full circle, even with the short duration.
  • Controls: Even while I failed at explaining them, they were pretty easy to master and they felt right.
  • When Dave dies, the game continues: I think this was best design decision that I made. Because when it happens you think “it’s over!”, and then it’s not over, but you have to drag the dead body of your friend. Not everybody got a deeper thought about it in this “silly game with puzzles”, but that’s what I was aiming for, so I’m glad that some people noticed and thought about it.

If I had more time

  • Graphics: I really can’t draw as I stated in my entry post, but I know I could make, at least, the scenery look better and not THAT amateur and generic.
  • WASD: I completely forgot to include these keys. I planned to do it, but I just forgot.
  • Story: I think a better background story for both characters would make it easier to achieve my storytelling goals.
  • More and better puzzles: Well, that’s pretty much it. More and better puzzles. :)
  • Two endings: I wanted to make two endings: [SPOILER MAYBE-select to read] One if you crossed the final door with Dave and another if you didn’t.[/SPOILER MAYBE]

Future

I really liked my idea, but the execution was mediocre to good, I guess. So I intend to take this to another level. Make it a full game. I hope to do so.

Final thoughts

I had a wonderfull time. It was an intensive, scary, stressed and fun weekend. I finally finished something to be proud of. And people got it and liked it and this feels so good. This little experiment incentivated me to push more and harder now. I have met some incredible minds behind the games I rated so far and I’m excited to keep in touch.

Thanks for reading and please, pretty please give some feedback. :)

My entry: Oxy

Posted by (twitter: @hbocao)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 4:56 pm

First of all, sorry in advance for my text. English is not my fist language, so…

I never finished a game before. I’ve made some prototypes in the past, but never got back to them. So to finish this game in 48h for LD makes me very happy! \o/

And it makes obvious, but I think a need to say that this is my fist time on LD.

 

Techy talk:

I knew I was going to take forever if I started coding my own engine. So I decide to use Construct 2. I never ever used one of this game makers, but I always thought about them while wondering why I never finished any project.

I can’t draw and I used the internal editor from Constructor, except for the logo (because I wanted some fancy unnoticeable gradient and I used Photoshop). Programmer art FTW!

I have no talent for music either, and I went with sfxr and Circuli (from the same guy who made Otomata).

 

The Game:

The game is named Oxy and is about two coworkers who work in a underwater lab. Then an accident happens and they must leave right away. The problem is you two only have one oxygen tank. Ah! Also, your coworker Dave is unconscious. So you have to drag him around to help him breathe. He is useful to open doors too.

My entry is here. Give it a try!

Here is some screenshots:

1 2 3

Final Thoughts:

Using Construct 2 was interesting. Sometimes I wished for making my own engine and sometimes was pretty easy to do stuff. I didn’t know the best practices to use Construct 2 so the project is a real mess. Sometimes it doesn’t event open the level layout without crashing the software. For my next time, I will try to code everything.

I hope you guys enjoy this little idea.

Thanks!

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