This was, as always, an absolute blast. I’ve had to miss the last two, due to commitments beyond my control, and last weekend I remembered just how much I’ve missed.
# is a game about shooting squares. That’s really all there is to it. Wait… and sometimes the squares grow back. And sometimes they shoot out at you. Oh… and there’s a piano.
We all know the theme. My take on it was more of an aesthetic than a game play one. Soft colors, simple objects, piano music playing simple chords. I think it worked.
# was a lot of fun to develop. I had the basic concept in my head prior to the theme being announced, but some of the big mechanics, basically the “layer” shifting and the audio component just sort of happened.
The layer thing was introduced as sort of a player control mechanic. It is really easy, as was pointed out, to beat the levels by holding the left arrow and space bar. The layers gave the lower squares a fighting chance to get established, as well as forced the player to do something than just “sit and spin”.
The balance however, was off a bit. I initially balanced the game, unaware of a bug that could would make the last square invincible to most, but not all bullets. This made the game considerably harder than it really was. When the bug was fixed… the game became super stupid easy.
I made corrections, but didn’t get a chance to get back in and really do the balance work the game deserved. You can eventually get yourself comfortable enough where it’s not frustrating, but probably not in the time the average person plays a LD entry. I tried to make the early levels as accessible as possible, then ramp up the difficulty rather quickly there toward the end for the more interested. Not as hard as pre-bug unfortunately… but a decent challenge if the dice don’t roll your way.
Like I mentioned before, I wanted to go clean and simple, and that’s what I did. Not really a lot to say about it, except I really like the green, and the purple. Red needs work.
I’ve never been an “audio” guy, and this game has a lot of sound happening really fast, bullets flying, blocks breaking… I knew sounds generated by sfxr would have a high potential for ear bleeding (at least the ones I generate). As I was shifting through layers, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if the music chords changed when the layer did?
I jumped into the idea with absolutely no idea how I was going to accomplish it. I almost scrapped the whole thing entirely. I generated a lot of sound files, and tried to tweak them to work with the rapid pace, with ear splitting results. I did, somehow, manage found a bright piano sound that would pass, although not perfect.
What went right
- Fun and easy to develop
- I believe there’s a solid concept in there somewhere.
- Graphics / colors were nice and fitting
- The audio idea worked.
What went wrong
- That stupid invincible square bug wasted a lot of time.
- Balancing issues, especially consistency.
- The Red Layer
Thank you all for your kind feedback. I look forward to playing some more games!