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Pep Quest (aka Taen Saeck)

Posted by (twitter: @Udrian)
Sunday, September 1st, 2013 6:26 am

Pep Quest, the game formerly known as Tän Säck (or Taen Saeck, for the latin1-bereft masses), is probably our most complete Ludum Dare game yet.

18950-shot0

We started out with the story. A depressed Hero, cheered on by a Squire, making their way through hordes of monsters. We had a ton of ideas on what you could do with the Squire, like throw bombs, solve puzzles along the way, or have a mini platformer game running in parallel where the Squire jumped around above the hero looking for hidden treasure. In the end, we decided to limit the Squire’s role to Motivating, managing loot, and healing, so we could get something resembling a game out in three days.

motivateicon

Second came the content: How do we deal with that? An upgrade game needs visual feedback, the player needs to feel like they’re progressing. We’re both programmers and are primarily technically inclined. Fortunately, Udrian’s wife offered to help, and managed to crank out some really nice background art. The intro, weapons, armor, Squire, Hero, motivation bubbles and non-slime enemies are still programmer art, which clashes a lot with the other style.

squire

A note to add, all the programmer art was drawn on a laptop with a touchpad. Lesson learned: Your fingers will murder you, get a mouse.

The music was a last-second thing, created with WolframTones. One of the main complaints we’ve had is that it’s repetitive and grating. Those are very valid points. We just didn’t expect people to play this game for so long >_>. If we can manage it, we’ll get something nicer to replace it.

Lastly, the upgrades, the tweaking, the balance. This is where we should have spent a few more hours. The absolute #1 complaint we’ve had is that the pacing is too slow. On the one hand, that’s to be expected in Ludum Dare, where every second spent playing a game is precious rating-time wasted. On the other, the game is pretty slow, especially in the beginning when the Squire doesn’t really have anything to do most of the time. You have to convince people right away that your game is worth investing time into, and for people unfamiliar with this kind of game we probably failed pretty hard in that respect.

slime

Come the last few hours before the deadline, we were busy making late-game content. The last tiers of weapons and armor, enemies that weren’t just palette swapped slimes. We were so focused on those aspects that we forgot to test the early game thoroughly. At the last minute, we doubled the value of the early coins when we realized that non-cheating playthroughs were moving like molasses in the beginning, but we didn’t playtest it enough. Exhausted, we just went to bed.

We still haven’t found the time to do a proper tweaking session, since work and a team-wide mysterious illness has taken up this past week. We have, however, added a much sought after feature: Save games! Which we hope will alleviate the pacing problems a bit.

We’ll continue to work on Pep Quest, at least for a while. It’s grown to be very dear to us. Finishing up the last pieces of weapons and armor, tweaking the pace, removing the 10 second timer and making enemies spawn based on distance instead (yes, the theme was forced in there with a crowbar) and maybe making something resembling an end goal, are our top priorities. Hope you’ll try it out then!

http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-27/?action=preview&uid=18950

To adventure!
//Jonoleth && Udrian

Going for Jam!

Posted by (twitter: @Udrian)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 6:25 pm

Now we are going to bed on the second day! Now we are heading for the jam! Here is a screenshot on how it looks so far.LD27-4

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