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Moon Base Shootout Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @unept)
Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 11:15 am

Too many aliens? Break a window.

Play Moon Base Shootout

This was my 3rd LD jam, and it felt far more ambitious than my previous entries, Doomba and VIP. I had fun with this one, perhaps because I am more confident as a game developer than in the past.

WHAT WORKED

  • FEELS LIKE A TOP-DOWN SHOOTER – I’ve never done one before, so I wasn’t sure whether to aim/shoot with the mouse, or use WASD to move and ARROW keys to shoot. I went the Nuclear Throne route, including strikingly similar crosshairs.
  • BROKEN WINDOW VACUUM PHYSICS – Simulating physics without lugging down the game can be a chore. Luckily, my first attempt worked well enough for the game. It’s a hack though, and will need a revamp if I make a post-jam version.
  • FULL GAME FROM START TO FINISH – It’s not a long game, but it has 10 levels with an integrated-ish tutorial, a (rather easy) end Boss, and a conclusion. This is a victory for any jam game. It was tough to do, I had to cut corners on sound, music (none), keep the tileset simple, etc. in order to have time for level design and story conclusion.

WHAT DIDN’T QUITE WORK

  • PUZZLER OR SHOOTER? – If you play it, you will see it has identity issues. At the start, I wanted a top-down game with aliens, limited ammo, windows, and the need to think your way through the levels. By the end I had a shooter with a couple thinky parts thrown in. Two things happened during the process: FIRST, I tweaked the firing rate to “rapid” and had too much fun with it. Big mistake, I should have backburnered it for another game. SECOND, I was intimidated by the prospect of smart level design in a short time period, and the easy way out was “create more aliens.” Regrettable, as there is a lot of potential with the puzzle aspect. This mistake may be fallout from my Doomba game, in which the level designs ended up feeling “meh.”
  • POLISH – Music, sounds, tileset, stronger story, graphics, etc. But it’s a jam game, so I’m not beating myself up.
  • THEME TIE-IN – I’m the biggest fan of subtlety. I really wanted the theme tie-in to be more of a reveal at the end, and even then not super duper obvious. I used company memos in each level to hint to the player that there’s more going on than “kill the invading aliens.” I don’t think it worked perfectly. Much feedback talked about lack of theme, so either they didn’t finish the game or I could have designed it better. I think both.

Broke a window? Plug it up.

Overall, I’m happy with the result. I may or may not work on a post-jam version. If you have any questions/thoughts, hit me up on twitter: I’m @unept.

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