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Narwhal Assassin: Post-Mortem

Posted by
Friday, April 24th, 2015 11:01 pm


We are three computer science students enrolled in a game development course. We are students of if you would like to check him out.

What was the genre, objective, and theme you chose for your game?

After the theme was announced, my team started coming up with the most bizarre weapons we could think of. It was clear from the beginning that our game was going to be some kind of cartoon shooter.

During our brainstorming, someone mentioned Starwhal, which inspired our weapon of choice. We started moving in the direction of physics-based puzzle game sort of like Crush the Castle or Angry Birds where the goal was to eliminate targets on the other side of the screen with limited ammunition.

What were your initial goals?

The drawing board

  • We wanted to use only original sprites, but we also wanted these sprites to have some detail. We’re all fans of minimalist games, but we wanted to challenge ourselves.
  • None of our previous games had incorporated music or sound effects, so we wanted to play around with these a bit.
  • Launching narwhals was going to require a bit of code to talk to the narwhal’s physics2D component.
  • We talked about having a puzzle element where some obstacles would only be visible when the narwhal used “echolocation”.
  • One of our team members really wanted to incorporate wiener dogs…

Which of these goals were you able to meet?

We spent most of our time creating the assets and the mechanics of the game, so we found ourselves with little time to actually put the game together and create levels. Rookie mistake I suppose. Did I mention this was our first Ludum Dare? Extra features like echolocation were not implemented.

We succeeded in making the sprites, sound effects, and one song. We even got a wiener dog in there!

The narwhals launch a bit fast, but otherwise correctly. Implementing the aiming mechanic probably took the majority of the time. We wanted the launcher to point at the mouse pointer’s location. Lots of time was spent figuring out how to appropriately rotate the launcher, partly because we had primarily worked with 3D games up to this point and Unity has different components and method for 2D game objects.

What asset tools did you end up using?

I’ve already mentioned using Unity as our game engine.

We used a free 7 day trial of Pickle to make our sprites.

One of our teammates had a mac, so we used GarageBand to make the theme.

We also experimented with bfxr to create some sound effects. Having little experience with this tool, we produced some mediocre sound effects, but someone who actually knows what they are doing could do a lot more with this tool.

Where did you spend unexpected amounts of time?

Like I said, the aiming mechanics took a surprising amount of time. We first attempted to implement this mechanics using Unity’s 3D components, and of course, bizarre things happened. It’s not pretty when a 2D game incorrectly uses 3D mechanics. After substituting all of the 3D components and methods with their 2D equivalents, there was still some math to work out. Even after hacking out something that worked, I still don’t fully understand Quaternions.

What broke at the last minute?

We got pretty lucky here. We found out that our level selector didn’t work. Fortunately, we only had three levels, so we decided to scrap the level selector until we add more levels.

How do you plan to improve in the game over the next two weeks?

  • Add more levels
  • Add music to levels
  • Create some interesting backgrounds for various screens including levels
  • Adjust the launcher velocity
  • Add obstacles to levels
  • Echolocation?
  • Make the villain look more evil

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