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Agoraphobic Post-Mortem

Posted by
Saturday, December 31st, 2016 11:11 pm

Akbar

Play Here

Starting Up

LD37 was my first game jam, and I was looking forward to entering for quite some time. At the last minute, I asked my little brother, Alan, if he wanted to join in, and he agreed! So we got the “One Room” theme and while brainstorming, Agoraphobia came up. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder regarding unsafe environments, and people with agoraphobia will often shut themselves in and try to never leave their house. So in our game, our character would be someone who’s scared of facing the outside dangers, choosing to remain in their one room. The game play conflict would then come from the outside dangers coming inside,  and if the player wins, overcoming their fear.

We decided to create a male and female character that would have some game play and story differences. We also added our third gender, the attack helicopter, because we couldn’t stop laughing about it. Luckily, the attack helicopter was a good testing bed and Alan knocked out the art for it and its related assets really quickly. The game was going to be a top down shooter, and I added the 5 hotzone objects to add a defense element. Our enemies were going to represent physical dangers as well as social and mental pressures, like, debt, “Why aren’t you married yet,” or “When are you going to have kids.”

Game Programming

I had some experience with Unity 2D so I went with that to make the game, although I hadn’t touched it for over a year. While I was brushing up on the engine for the couple weeks prior to the jam, there was a lot of things I forgot to do. I lost a lot of time fighting with the GUI and animations. I decided to try out Scriptable Objects in various parts of the project. They were great for defining both the individual waves and the series of 15 waves that made up a play through. They were an awful idea for defining the spawn points (should have used GameObjects) and probably overkill for the character data (prefabs for each character would have been better).

One of the main criticisms we’ve seen from our comments were that the controls were too slippery. On Unity’s rigidbody2D there is a linear drag setting, and it was zero. Oops! Maybe I should have used kinematic rigid bodies, anyway.

Another criticism that came up even more was lack of feedback of getting hit and doing damage to enemies. I think this was our biggest flaw as the side panel health GUI was the only way to know if you actually got hit and were in danger of dying. The helicopter’s anti-air wave could be especially difficult, and in general the female characters lower health could lead to dying almost instantly.

Content

We made 3 characters, and each character had their own projectile, stats, themed enemies, a series of 15 waves, and an ending paragraph. About 5 waves were unique to that character and featured its themed enemies, often in excess. We also had 10 generic waves that filled in the gaps, many of these were the hot zone defense waves. Each wave had a string to play when it started, ended, and if you lost on that wave. There were also 3 health pickups, and around 15 enemies. The enemies had 8 spawn-in spots and could chase the player, wander randomly, or move to a hot zone.

A few of our comments praised the amount of content, and a few expressed concern with neglecting the above criticisms to make it. I won’t disagree with the latter, but I will say, making prefabs for new enemies and pickups, tweaking their values was all pretty easy with the scripts I made and unity’s inspector. Alan was able to knock out art and the background music in parallel to my coding. What I definitely wasted too much time on was the GUI; I spent a bunch of time trying to get the speech bubbles and wave story text to appear and move around with the player character. I had to rush making a lot of the text in the last hour, so we didn’t get to tell the story we wanted to. And most unfortunately, we didn’t get to making our puppy bomb pickup, which was going to act as a wave clear for the player:

Doggo

 

Post-Jam Build

I’ve already added in a 1.5 second invulnerability phase with a little red circle that fades in and out once you get hit. I’ve also created animations for 2 of the 3 player projectiles when they hit an enemy. The girl’s teddy bear breaks up in a pretty hilarious way, if I may say. I’ve tweaked the health levels to be a little less punishing. Nice buffs, right? Well, I’ve also nerfed the fire rate! I left the base fire rate value in the inspector set to 0, so all the characters had no delay in between shots. Oops, again! All in all, I think the post jam build will be a better experience and better balanced.

 

Summary

My brother and I had a lot of fun with LD37 and we’ll definitely be participating in future jams. I’ll upload the post-jam build after another review and after the voting period is finished. This was a great learning experience, both in game programming and project management. Special thanks to the Ludum Dare runners, and all those who commented on our game. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Agoraphobia Release

Posted by
Monday, December 12th, 2016 9:30 pm

Got it up with 30 minutes to spare! Defend your room, and yourself, from the outside elements with 3 different characters.

https://tylerraz.itch.io/agoraphobic

Need to tweak some of the GUI elements positioning/size.

JamJamJelly

Posted by
Friday, December 9th, 2016 6:57 pm

I’m in!

First timer, will be using unity, inkscape, gimp, and bfxr.

 

Best of luck to everyone!

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