Well, the game’s in the bag and after a good nights sleep thought I’d do a submission/postmortem post for myself and anyone who’s interested (and to hopefully drum up some interest )
Congratulations Doc, it’s a Shrink Ray!
A platformer shooter where you play as a scientist forced to defend his latest greatest invention from the evil ninja army!
What went right
– The basic platformer physics were completed quickly and I came up with a level format that allowed me to define the level completely (with the exception of the enemies) in terms of platforms (including the backgrounds). This kept things moving at a good pace.
– The shrinking and ray gun effects. I was lucky to have been tackling problems like this recently for another project so it was all fresh in my mind (probably a large part of the reason I had the inspiration in the first place I guess). Resizing the characters to arbritrary scales was the easy part, but I really wanted a comic book style shrinking effect (you know, the blurred/faded cascading outline thing) and while it’s not as detailed as I’d hoped I did manage in the last few hours to get an effect close enough that I’m pretty happy with.
– Time management. I didn’t really have a plan but I feel I did prioritize well in terms of functionality, producing a game that wa playable (and fun, in my opinion) as soon as possible and adding features righ up to the last few hours.
What went wrong
– Anything that required artistic skill …except the main character, I’m really happy with how he turned out. I wanted the game to appear to have a little depth rather than be a totally flat platformer and, while when it works I think it looks good, it really caused me problems trying to create art assets to fit with the style/perspective (Most notably – cars. I really wanted a vehicle or two in the outside section but was completely unable to produce one).
– Enemy AI is practically non existent, they just run straight at you jumping occasionally. I don’t think I was ever going to get a good pathfinding system in there in the time but I would have liked to spice it up a bit to stop them being defeated by the simplist of obstacles.
– Enemy variety. Don’t get me wrong, I like ninjas, but when you’re killing nothing but ninjas all day every day some of the magic is lost. The one other enemy type in game was a pretty poor and ill concieved attempt but I left him in there anyway. I would have really liked to add attack dogs but my artistic skills were no where near up to it.
– Level… design I guess would be one word for it. Beyond the starting lab I didn’t plan out any more locations/setting and just stitched together whatever I was able to think of and produce images for.
– Ending. Well, the lack of it anyway. Similar to level design I didn’t have much of a story in mind so I’d never really planned for an ending, it just stops dead.
All in all great fun and I feel a pretty successful challenge. It’s been years since I tried to make a platformer and wa a nice change of pace. Looking forward to judging everyone elses entries now (and seeing how mine is judged :S )