Posts Tagged ‘post moterm’

The life of John – Post Mortem

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Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 9:22 am


This is my fifth Ludum Dare. However, there are only 4 entries on my profile because I didn’t finish my first game. (So if this your first LD and you finished the game, good on you!)

I’m a big fan of strategy games, as a result, I have the tendency of making strategy games for LDs. As it turns out, strategy is not the best genre for LD because it requires a huge amount of work to build the system and fill it with contents. On top of that, it needs a lot of play testing to balance the complexities you have built. And finally, it needs a great tutorial to introduce the player to the complex system. I’ve learned that the hard way from my previous two entries so I’ve decided to try something simpler.

And I failed 😛

I set out to make an idle game because it is a genre I’ve been wanted to try and it doesn’t require a lot of arts (I’m bad at making game arts). After the theme was announced, the idea of making a game about growing up caught me. I found the idea compelling because I love The Sims series and it also fits the idle game genre very well. As I was toying around with different game mechanics, it occurred to me that the card game dominion fits very well with the ‘growing’ theme. In dominion,  you started off with this crappy deck and you have to build and grow your deck while playing it. It is a very cool mechanic and I wanted to corporate it into my game since life is kind of like that where you started of nothing and slowing build up. That’s when the idea started to form in my head. I started working on a card game prototype:


This is what I had after day 1 (I was quite slow because I got distracted by Youtube. Lesson learned: Do NOT watch youtube during Ludum Dare!)

As you can see it is pretty similar to the final game. At this point, I’ve decided to have the player draws a hand each turn and he can only choose a certain amount of cards to ‘play’ (like in real life you can’t do everything either). However, the amount of cards you can ‘play’ depends on your age (like in real life you can do more things while you are young but as you grow older, you have less choices). I’ve also decided the cards the player didn’t ‘play’ will have negative effects in order to create difficult decisions. Sorry if it caused you agony when playing the game, it was all intentional (that’s how life feels like right :P?)

It was all well and good until I realized I need a lot of cards to fill ~80 turns (that’s roughly the amount of time I wanted the game to last). I spent half a day making the arts and the rest of the time went into the cards. Cards for the early game were fine as in they were balanced quite well because I have been play testing them. However, as the deadline draws closer and closer, I have less and less time play testing. That was the first mistake I made.

The second mistake was that I never build my game. I learned this from my last unity game but I didn’t take it to my heart. Throughout the submission hour I struggled to build a game that looks great: the fonts looks blurry on different resolutions. (I still haven’t found a good solution to this problem yet. Let me know if you have one.) In the end, I rushed out my game without properly playing it once.

Everything was settled after I submitted my game, it was then I have time to actually play my game through. That was when I had the ‘holy crap!’ moment. I found that my mid and late game cards were buggy as hell. As some of the early player pointed out, some cards just kept appearing again and again. For example, the ‘Marriage’ card kept popping up even after he has married. The pace of the game was also terrible because of balance issues, as I said some cards kept appearing and that makes other cards never appear. It turns the game into a very repetitive experience. In my attempt to remedy this, I made a build after deadline and created a separate link on the page to that build.

To sum up, I’ve learned the same lesson the third time: play test the god dam game! I guess what I should done was to cut out some contents and made the time to play my game. However, I’m very happy that I finished another game and others can play it. I guess that’s the best part of LD.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you are interested, play the game and let me know how you think. For me, the final score doesn’t really matter, what it matter is your feedback. So make sure you leave a comment whether you like it or hate it, I just want to know. Thanks for reading :)

Play my game here: (As I said, play the fixed version otherwise you would have a bad time)

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