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Agent Thursday Postmortem

Posted by
Thursday, May 1st, 2014 1:45 pm

As everyone knows, the most grueling and most onerous part of Ludum Dare is… the postmortem. (Well, it can feel that way sometimes.)

If you haven’t played my game yet, you can do so here. With that out the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

 

screenshot4

 

The Good

  • Graphics – people seem to like how the game looks. I’m not an artist, so it was a wise choice to keep things simple. I made one spritesheet for the player, two backgrounds, then two frame animations for the npcs. It’s not perfect (the background colour is too close to that of the player in places, and the two backgrounds aren’t consistent) but it did the job and allowed me to focus my time on other areas.
  • Theme – I hadn’t given it much thought before the start, but after seeing what other people were doing, I discarded the first ideas that came out of my head and decided to base the game around being an undercover cop. The game is set in a criminal underworld which hides beneath the surface of civil, law-abiding society. The player is also pretending to be someone different beneath the surface. To go one step further, the identities of the criminals are also not what they appear to be on first inspection.

 

The Bad

  • Slow Text – the one variable most responsible for negatively affecting people’s response to my game. And to make matters worse, there was no button to skip the slow-as-molasses* text. In a game about reading text. Even making it half a second quicker might have made it a lot more tolerable. Fine margins, eh?
  • Design – my game may suffer from a condition known as ‘not-being-game’. All you do is talk to people, inspect items, and then try to work out who the boss is based on some nebulous puzzle logic. I’m not sure what would have improved it, except some adventure game puzzly-ness, but that may have been too much to do. Also, since people could just accidentally brute-force the puzzles through trial and error, I made the dubious decision to prevent people from accusing the boss until they had found the five items in that level (sorry!).
  • Animation – I wasted a few hours in Unity, first not going down the Mecanim route before learning that didn’t work for sprites, and then wrangling with the Mecanim animation system which I wasn’t used to. This is why, when your mother tells you to do the Ludum Dare warm up to get familiar with all your tools, you do it.**
  • Audio – there’s only one sound effect, and some very basic music that I would have been cruel to include without a mute button.
  • Juiciness: it’s something I still find hard to do – and maybe the game isn’t best suited to it – but it lacks all that satisfying shiny, bouncy, camera-gyrating goodness.

* That’s molasses, not mole asses, people. I know we’ve all been playing a lot of subterranean games lately, but it’s no excuse.

** This may not have actually happened.

 

screenshot3

 

Overall

All in all, it may look like there’s more bad than good, but I’m pretty happy with this entry, and I had a lot of fun making it. I even did a post-compo version, fixing the most glaring problems with the game, just in case there was anyone who wanted to see how the game ends without enduring the tediousness of the compo version. The post-compo has the following changes:

  • The default text speed is quicker.
  • Pressing either X or C will skip text.
  • Instead of having to find all the items before making an accusation, you only get a warning before hand.
  • The player animation system has been redone (and is no longer an absolute mess).
  • The hint screen has been polished.

You can also find that here.

Thanks everyone!

Phew, done!

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 4:39 pm

We did it, ma!

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but I got there in the end.

screenshot2

BTW, Unity users, I don’t know if this still needs to be done, but if  people are asked to download the Unity plugin on web builds even though they already have it installed, changing https:// to http://on the link does the trick. (Is this still the case?)

End of Day One…

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 2:36 pm

A mixed day…
+ Pleased with the concept so far.
+ We have dialogue.
+ Player animations done.
– Time wasted with Unity’s animation system.
– No gameplay yet!
– No music/audio.
– Originally wanted to do three levels. Think I might only be able to manage one.

screenshot

Love seeing what everyone else is creating, and how differently the theme is being interpreted. :) Keep going everyone!

Over the Finish Line…

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 5:02 pm

Phew! I made it!

screenshot4

There were moments when I didn’t think I would make it, but I did, thanks to my Guiding Light.

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