So it has been a week and I’ve had time to think about it and now it is time to write up my thoughts in a nice solid post-mortem form. But first, play my game Path O’ Invasion!
What Went Right:
Tools – I laid out all my tools beforehand and had been practicing with them for the week before, so I knew what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. This really helps get things going as soon as the bell rings.
Starting Slow – I didn’t start on the game right away, I let the idea of Tiny World just sit there for a while whilst I did other things. This time apart from the contest ensured I didn’t make the same mistake I did last time, which was start a game I didn’t really want to make.
Time Management – I only spent about 25 hours actually working on the game. The rest of the time was spent sleeping, eating, hanging out with people, and generally being non-stressed. This time was good for me in that it prevented me from freaking out soo much, which is always a good step. Unfortunately it prevented me from adding some features that people have really missed *cough* Group select, AI balanace *cough* but I think it was for the best.
Keeping Assets Simple – Last time I created an asset heavy game, which was pretty terrible. I spent most of my time drawing very ugly backgrounds and generic level code and I didn’t get to program anything that really caught my attention. This time, for more than half the contest, I had one art asset and three class files. Keeping those things simple I was able to make a game I thought was fun, and then on the last day go around adding other assets to make it more diverse. I had a much better time this contest because of it.
Programmical Animation – Is that a word? I don’t think it is. Anyway, I’m not an artist, but I didn’t want my sprites to just slide around the screen. I came up with this little shrinking/expanding sprite movement (known in code as “squishy” movement) that I think looks so much better than anything I could have drawn.
Using Paper – There were a couple times when I was stuck on a problem and I kept trying to solve it in my head and turn that into code, and bugs just kept popping up. Finally I got out a sheet of paper and started writing out the problem, and it practically solved itself. Never underestimate the power of pen and paper.
What Went Wrong:
Programmical Animation – I spent way too much time trying to get this to look good. I’m very proud of the result, but that was all time that could have been making a decent AI. I had to stop and force myself to work on the rest of the game, which is why there are still obvious animation problems.
Scaling – While testing the game I had everything 4x bigger, to help me see animations and quickly move around. I thought that that wasn’t enough play area, so in the last few hours I shrunk it back down to 1x size. Because it was soo late, and I had been soo used to playing, I didn’t realize that this made seeing what is going on and selecting units very difficult to do. I probably should have left it ay 2x, or implemented some kind of zoom function.
Outside Testers – I meant to get on IRC and ask people to test my game before I finished, but I never got around to it. Because of that, there were never a fresh set of eyes on the game, and I think playability suffered from things not being too obvious.
I had a lot of fun and I think I did far better on my second showing than I did my first time. I would like to thank my girlfriend for coming up with the initial game idea, for making me food, for preventing me from freaking out, for dealing with me and my crazy ideas all weekend, and for making me go to sleep. Nothing would have been done without you.
If you have a moment, please play and rate the game.