I’ve not done a postmortem since #27, Deadline so I thought I’d include my streak of failures from 28 to 34 as I finally broke the streak!
28 – You only get one: I had decided on a turn based battle game, and got a day or so into it and ended up getting sick. This was the first LD I had made that used the pathing system I wrote.
29 – Beneath the Surface: My usual libraries were in a big state of disarray as I ported everything from XNA to SharpDX11. I think I made a character walk around and that was about it. The idea I had was to lead an earth cult where you dig deeper to gain power, but I had no idea how I was going to do the digging part.
30 – Connected Worlds: I went through several ideas and never got anything playable. Full details.
31 – Entire Game on One Screen: Kind of a tricksy theme for us 3D folk. I’m fairly sure I worked a bit on a game called DeathBall where a ball bounced around a level and you had to avoid it. I was very rusty and didn’t get very far as I hadn’t been coding day to day for awhile.
32 – An Unconventional Weapon: Was very prepared for this one and had my libs beaten into good shape. I had this really serious story about an ultimate weapon shattered into pieces by a Goddess that you had to recover to help an overthrown king. I had planned on the final confrontation making the weapon do something silly like turn enemies into chickens.
I had just written a new physics system and it was a bit dodgy and difficult to use. That plus making my first map outdoor – an approach to a barbarian village – means I quickly burned up all my time just getting something running. BSP maps are notoriously difficult to make for outdoor areas, and I had all the usual problems.
33 – You are the Monster: Was in the middle of adding terrain to my libs so they really weren’t in any shape to make anything with. I grabbed Unreal and started trying to use it and got very very confused. Trying to make something over a weekend with middleware you’ve never used is pure madness, but I learned a lot. I don’t even think I got as far as trying to do something for the theme, I think it was just “how do I make draw something derp”.
One huge issue I had that weekend was every now and then Unreal would flip out and do a full build. That took 2.5 hours on my old machine (I have it down to 25 min with my new one).
34 – Growing: For this I started in Unreal, and was a bit more familiar with it this time. I settled on a top down slasher game with loot that “grows” as you gain XP. I had basic move and attack going but hit a wall with unreal’s UI system. I was determined to use C++ for it and it led me down a bad bad rabbit hole. In another spot I forgot to call the base class on a virtual and it led to some really really strange behaviour that took hours to figure out.
35 – Shapeshift: This is the first LD that I’ve ever thought about themes ahead of time. In the past I had always heard Yoda in my head saying “Clear your mind must be!”, but this time I told Yoda to bugger off and thought up a few ideas for each of the top themes.
For Shapeshift I had the dead obvious idea of an RPG involving Lycanthropy. A simple quest to retrieve the “Chalice of Life” would lead to an accursed monastery with doors that would only open for one with the curse of a were-something.
Things that went well:
Unity was a good choice. It flipped out on me a few times but was solid overall.
Code! I’ve been programming full time again so code flew from my fingers.
RPG stuff I’ve been really into lately so the stat/item/buff/combat code was quick.
Music: I made 3 pieces of music with Bosca Ceoil, only one of which I ended up using but I couldn’t stop playing with it. Really fun to make stuff with.
WebGL! My first ever web playable game! I know many LD folk hate running exes.
Fun! I had a blast making the game and I’ve pined all week to work on it more while doing my regular job.
Things that went not-so-well:
A storm knocking the power out.
Click-to-move: When I got fighting working, I remembered why I don’t really like top down click-to-attack games. They kind of all suffer from missclicks, where you miss what you were trying to attack and end up moving instead. The movement makes you miss again and again and you just end up walking stupidly around the enemy while they are shiving you in the kidneys.
I spent a bit of time looking at Torchlight 2 (omg what awesome music), and totally ripped off how they handle clicks and click holds and their shift to hold position thing. It makes it a bit better but I still think click-to-move is rather flawed.
UI: Just getting a health bar going was difficult. I ended up watching one of the Unity training videos to puzzle out the UI system. It was really confusing and I hate watching videos to learn stuff, and much prefer a blog post I can skim through.
Ultimately I didn’t get an inventory gump in, which is really vital for a slay & loot festival like this. Especially frustrating when you can see you are picking up tasty treasure and you can’t use any of it.
Comas: The main problem I’ve had in this jam and all the past failures has been tiredness. Even a frugal meal can often send me spiraling down into a food coma. After it kind of wrecked my weekend efforts I decided to try a ketogenic diet. Hopefully I’ve stuck with it and the next time I’ll be in better shape for long sessions.