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Now’s my turn to announce my postmortem on my edition of “Parallel Worlds!”
Map system: Although I spent most of my Saturday on the map system, I’m happy to get that working and designed. I came up with three worlds, each with it’s own map, style, and song. The portals are working as they should: to take you to the next world in sequence.
Mechanics: Having just a labyrinth where you move eight directions overhead is not so innovated in my opinion. Therefore, I decided to add a gravitated side-scroller in one of the worlds. My initial thought is to add different mechanics to most worlds; although, I only came up of two. Likewise, I’m glad to get two different mechanics in the game to show my idea.
Graphics: I wanted to design an game reminiscent to an ATARI 2600 game but with a background/overlay reminiscent to Magnavox Odyssey. The map is full of big blocks while the background is a detailed, pixelated environment.
Audio: This is my first ever LD entry that featured audio! 😀 I’ve done both sound and music with OpenMPT. The sounds didn’t take me too much time to complete as I only have one. The music was a challenge for me to create in such a few hours. I’m not an avid musician, but I do enjoy making chip-tunes. I was amazed to come up with 3 songs in under 2 hours time.
Smooth play: This is my second game made in Flash, but I used Flixel this time. My previous Flash game was nicely done, but it suffered from laggy performance; but I manged to get that resolved later on. This time, however, this game ran smoothly during development and remained that way by its release. Flixel has helped make game development easier and efficiently in little code.
Feature creep: My initial thought was to add enemies to add a more arcade-style game rather than a standard labyrinth with portals. You will notice some rooms have particular designs. Those were designated for enemies — which, unfortunately, is what I didn’t have enough time on. Therefore, the game ended up as a maze with no combat, which is not what I planned initially.
Not enough experience with Flixel: I’m still rather new to Flixel, still learning what it has to offer and learning how to handle its objects. Most of my time was spent on experimenting and trial and error — which could be the blame for the time it took to get the map system working well. Game programming is nothing new to me and game programming in Flash is certainly not a new thing to me, but Flixel is still something I need to learn more of. Eventually, I’ll come up with tricks to take advantage of Flixel’s objects and come up with something in shorter time.
Portal system: The portal system works as intended, but not to what I planned. Sure, the portals will take you to the next world or to the first world when you’ve reached the maximum world, but I wanted an option to choose a specific world to teleport to. While that idea is already achieved in the game when you keep entering the portal, that idea leaves a better way to use the yellow keys. Currently, yellow keys allow you to access the portal in a world. My initial idea is to have each world contain keys to unlock every world (other than the world they are currently in). Any collected keys would actually not be carried on to other worlds. For example, I you are at world 2 and you wanted to go to world 1 or world 3, you will need to find keys to world 1 and world 3 somewhere in world 2. Those collected keys would only remain in world 2. This is the best as I can describe about my initial idea.
Sprite Details: Most objects in game are designed to make them obvious to what they represent — e.g. key. My only issue is the green block representing you — the player. I didn’t have much time to come up with a design and I couldn’t think of a design that would fit the style since there isn’t a story. So, an ordinary block (a la Odyssey) is what I thought best fits the game, and I made it green so it stands out better in every world.
I do see this game having a future. The different mechanics definitely add variation, so I would certainly develop more interesting rules. I like to hang on to the Atari 2600 + Magnavox Odyssey presentation, but with more details. A story would add meaning and thought once I come up something compelling. I really want to add enemies, even bosses, to make this game an action game with a point and life system. With enemies, you can punch and kick them and destroy them accordingly. I have an interesting idea for how the enemies are eliminated, but it’s too complicated to describe. It might be easier to explain once I post the game footage or a prototype.
So, I would definitely like to continue working on “Parallel Worlds” — under a different name. I’ll post details on Twitter, so check out my Twitter account for the latest! (@jprogman)
See you all next time!