I had recently been watching a tv show called Venture Bros which features villains, some of which have henchmen, combine this with some inspiration from a film called Bunraku with the numbered killers, and I had an idea set in my mind.
What went right
Firstly the gameplay came out exactly how I thought about it, I wanted quite an abstract game with very little user control, which I have written more about later in this post. The naming on the henchmen amused me and I even felt some sort of attachment to some of the top henchmen I have had, this was sort of inspired by the names in the game cannon fodder. The “combat” between henchmen and the other characters was inspired by the combat parts of half minute hero. I was also quite happy how the graphics came together in the end, I don’t normally consider myself a graphics person but the consistent look of the game I felt was acceptable.
What went wrong
The thing most obvious I felt went wrong was the total lack of instructions. Given that I had been playing it most of the weekend of Ludum Dare I knew what to do, but didn’t really get to writing up some instructions or even putting some of the less obvious parts somewhere to give the player a clue as to what s/he was doing. I also neglected to add a losing condition that means the only way to restart after losing all your henchmen and money is to reload the page containing the game. Another thing that I wasn’t happy with was the unfinished title screen and game over screens that were just left as scans from my notes instead of graphics to match those in the game, although this has been fixed in the version on kongregate now There was (and still is) a lack of decent sounds (a couple of bleeps and bloops from bfxr) and music. Ideally I was going to make some music on my Gameboy with LSDJ, but I didn’t find the time to put anything decent together so this was left out entirely.
Thoughts on the lack of control
One of the major criticisms of the game I have seen is that there is little control over the henchmen and that it all appears too random. This was one of the points I wanted to make with the game to express my feelings of lack of control over various parts of my life and that despite the best instructions and intentions, not everything is totally under your control. Ideally I would have been able to make this much more obvious with the henchmen by implementing moods or something that would have made them less or more co-operative with the instructions given but time didn’t really permit me to do this totally and it may have to be done in a post-compo version