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aereo postnatal

Posted by (twitter: @srmanuq)
Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 10:13 pm

aereo-p0

Day one

Theme: “10 seconds”. Nice! Having a filmmaking background, time is such a big concept to me. I envisioned a game where the scene changes each 10 seconds. Playing with montage inside a game seemed like a great idea, but too complex for my first LD attempt. Let’s keep it simple, said to myself.

Draw the sprites on grid paper and use them without any manual postprocessing. I had this idea in my mind for a while. I’ve been planning to use it in a videogame workshop, targeted for children. In the context of LD, it would allow me to forget about tweaking graphics, and concentrate on programming. To reference a sprite, I would just use the grid coordinates. This went better than I thought: took me 20 minutes to have it working with two lines of bash script. Line one scans. Line two optimizes the raw scan and converts a defined color to alpha. Is there a better way to understand alpha masking than painting the mask with your own hands? I hope to bring the workshop to reality!

aereo-p1

Having a few testing sprites, I wanted to start playing with them. I decided to go for html5 and javascript and I had been researching JS game libs and graphic libs that handle the canvas in a high-level fashion. I went for CreateJS because it looked promising. And here comes the most stupid thing I did. After playing with CreateJS I disliked the lack of color filters (it has, but weren’t working well for me). So I spent more than 5 hours switching to another JS lib, just to go back to my last commit of CreateJS. Conclusion: fear the Black Hole of Libs!

Other thing that went wrong the first day: I spent one hour doing a development setup that I ended throwing away. Namely grunt + typescript + auto-compiler ts -> js . The compiler was slow in my computer (about 10 seconds heh) and I was not using the features that TS has over JS, like types or inheritance. Next time I will follow “You Ain’t Gonna Need It” more strictly.

With all these frustrations, I went back to a blank sheet of grid paper. I started to imagine.. freedom, things flowing, wind, light things carried by the wind.. wind changing direction after 10 secs! Wind that makes the scene and the gameplay change!

Now I had something to stick to, and at least it was slightly in the direction of my first idea. I drew the leaf animation. I ran the scan script, and saw the leaf jumping in the screen. Wee! I took a few frames of the same animation and made it fly with the winds vibration. At least I was making progress.

Day two

Considering the frustrations of the first day, this one went smooth. But I was heading for the compo and I was running out of time. So I decided to go for just two scenes: sky and lake, above and below. Even with that simplification, my code had many bugs. Good enough for a first try, I said, but I won’t submit this time. Maybe next LD I could make it. /me is sad :(

Day three

Monday. I did my normal 8 hours job. Then I went for some fresh air and started to reflect about the previous two days. And the idea for the menu appeared. I have to finish it! I said. I have to apply for the Jam! Went back home: three hours left. The more exciting three hours I had in a while. I wrote a list of items, ordered by importance, and started to eliminate them one by one. Made the intro screen as a present to myself. Fixed the most annoying bugs, adding visual debug on collisions and displaying the game states as text over the screen. Made a lot of tweaks.

aereo-p2

Finally, a bit late but.. I submitted! Of course not all the items in the list were done. Here is what I missed:

– humorous ending after N levels/transitions
– incremental difficulty: speed up things while advancing levels
– visual feedback of the wind direction employing smaller leaves
– real wind sound fx or acustic guitar sound fx
– music
– improve the HUD

Conclusion

Inmediatly people started to comment on my just-submitted game. Lots of great feedback! Was worth to participate. Antidote made a screen capture while playing the game for the first time. Can we have a more valuable feedback than that?! The whole LD experience involved me, I’ve been playing, voting, and commenting hundreads of games. There are many great ones out there. This is an impressive experience!

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