Before I start this port-mortem I would like to thank the staff of Ludum Dare as well as the staff of one game a month for bringing up such initiatives. You guys just opened a new era of game development.
I remember all these prototypes I never released when I was younger just because I had an idea and then would just jump on another sexier idea. I think it’s all right because when your’re young you just follow some trends and that’s not very important. But later when you want release your own projects and make a living you need to build-up strength, that is: motivation. Now if you consider that motivation is 50% based on personal will and 50% based on other people feedback/interactions – and that’s my case because I release ‘personal’ games for other people – I think feedback is one crucial key. Today there are so many games out there that getting people other than friends and relatives to try and make critics about your games is tough. Here comes Ludum Dare with all these fellow developers who are there for you as you are for them for a few days. And they are ok to try out your somehow weird game because that’s part of the deal. And then you happen to tweet them and then you start to exchange ideas and so on. So you now got feedback and so motivation is easier to build during these times when you lack some personal will. Of course if you’re already part of a team then you may not need that kind of feedback. At least not as much as a lone developer would need.
Now that you don’t lack motivation, you need a goal that you can reach. Not something far far away. Here comes the One Game A Month initiative that pushes you to release things. But with such a short time window – a month – you need to let your ideas flow like water and stop to constrain them. I mean you have to release that personal concept you came up with. That’s what creativity is all about. Then you can elaborate. You always have time to elaborate if you feel that your idea can transform into a more ‘serious’ project.
So now we can see so many ‘games’ released for so many different people. This is an era where you can make your very special game and you will find someone who may love your game. Players are not there to condemn you but to spend time have fun with your game. And fun is a highly subjective matter. No matter what they say. There’s absolutely no rule for fun. And when I am speaking about fun I am not speaking about I find a game fun because everybody else says it is. No it’s : “I find it fun because this game seems to have been made for me.”
You may agree with me or not, but anyway thanks again to #LD and #1GAM and of course you my fellow game creators!
Ok so now let’s continue with the “post-mortem” of may Ludm-Dare Entry : Seed. ( weird since the game is actually getting alive and development is certainly not finished. )
What went wrong
Music and SFX: Right from the beginning I wanted to make my seeds pop following some rhythm patterns and flowers add new layers of music. But I postponed that until I ran out of time that is 1 hour before the deadline. So I came up with this highly repetitive tune. As for sounds there’s only one. So this part is a complete failure. Ok it’s minimalist.
Scoring: I think my scoring system is good. Because it is dynamic and allows for very important scores if you decide to take risks. But the sad fact is that when you’re playing you don’t have time to check your score so it means that the whole system just does not seem important at all. There’s an evident lack of visual / sound feedback that would push the player to try to push the limits.
Tutorial: the game although minimalist actions holds in fact complex scoring rules. And I didn’t have time to make a good tutorial that would explain the system. Somehow I feel that’s kind of ok because people seem to like to explore the game and try to understand what’s going on. That’s part of the fun factor. But it’s not enough.
What went Right
Brainstorming : at first I was wondering how I could fit the theme. Going to wikipedia led me to architecture matters which led me to gardens which led me literally to the roots. So I made a game about seeds, watre, roots and flowers. About life Minimalist concept but so rich! And then My universe just unfolded in front of me with every new version. I started with the seeds and the water and the central line (earth) and right from the beginning with the visor. Then since I had water why wouldn’t it go up? Then if I have seeds why wouldn’t they grow and release flowers? And what if flowers would release new more powerful seeds? And then the basis of the scoring system was there.
Overall Development : using Haxe + NME I could build the game from my ideas like I would paint a painting or carve a stone and then release it on every platform ( I could even push it to iOs and Android if you wished). And this time I forced myself to stick to the engine and the balancing in priority. My last LD project went somehow wrong because I spent to much time with the GFX instead of tweaking the game engine / balancing.
GFX: I wanted a game that literally throw life trough colors and particles. Something that would make the player just have fun by seeing things happen. I think I succeeded.
Controls / feedback: I think the game works well because it’s easy to play even if you don’t understand what’s going on. But since you have time you can try out things and that’s ok.
Overall polish: I wanted a complete game something you could actually buy. I think the game is well polished. It’s complete. There’s just one bug (when you start a new game without restarting the settings are not initialized so your second game will be harder) . Moreover there’s a beginning and an end and it even saves your score. It’s not that it’s hard to come up with all these features but it takes time to get things polished.
So I am very happy with Seed. And I am very happy that I could join this LD and that I could add this game to #1GAM
Thanks for playing and taking time to write your critics and comments.