Sunday, 4 August 2013

5 Day On 2 Days Off - Postmortem

For Ludum Dare #26, back in April 26th-29th 2013 under the theme: Minimalism I submitted a game entry for the 48 hour solo combo category called 5 Days On 2 Days Off.
I managed to place in the top 25 for 1 of the 7 categories possible.

Here's how I ranked globally out of 2346 different games that were submitted.


The Game
5 Days On 2 Days Off is a minimalist platformer where players control a business man only to explore the office space and venture to unknown areas throughout the depths of the company building.
I approached 5 Days On 2 Days Off with the intent to make something that reflected the day of a type of person their individual thought patterns about a given circumstance. Initially it wasn't my intention to make something that was provocative or that triggered any emotional response but then did these things. Thinking about the theme, I was very much experimenting to explore the idea of minimalism through gameplay, visuals and storytelling.

My main influence for the game was this video from stand up comedian Steve Hughes and the games of Terry Cavanagh.
What went well
Characterization and Art direction: The character not only was one of the main establishments to the theme but it help me

Story Telling: The entry primarily focused around storytelling with some minor player interactivity. It was my main incentive prior Ludum Dare to work on my storytelling/written skills. From the feedback I received I not only extended my ability to articulate a story with written language but most importantly, I learnt about how people can interpret certain information given to them. As a designer I feel that it is important when experimenting with such things as language to drive your game that you give players a certain amount of information to stand on in order to avoid confusion towards misinterpretation (unless intended). A good example of a game that ties in with this idea is 'Coil' by Edmund McMillen & Florian Himsl. Coil is a game that has been known to have a response of players interpreting in many different ways due to the nature of its poetic storytelling and abstract gameplay. However it was not the designers intention to leave players so open to interpretation and could of been avoided by giving players certain amounts of information to drive the story and theme aiming to be achieved.

Feedback & Response: The game received fairly positive feedback directly through the Ludum Dare site from developers and also some not so good feedback directly through online flash game portals from non-developers. Although no lets plays/gameplay videos or written reviews (that I know of) have been made I'm fairly happy with the minute response I have made through Newgrounds and Kongregate. I should like to think that I can look back on this game one day as the start of my flash game making career through Ludum Dare.
Here's a few quotes I've grabbed about the game: 

- "This made me smile."

- "Love the cubes with ties and the little janitor sweeping the floor."

- " A great take on the deep oppression of going to a really boring office job, and just wanting to quit."

- "Another stupid, worthless idiot who thinks making shit like this makes him "artistic" and meaningful."
Finished Entry: As my first official solo Ludum Dare event I was surprised and glad to have finished something and to have submitted a game. I learnt a lot over that weekend but do very much feel that this game sits in place as a stepping stone to the next game, similarly to all the things I have made up to this point. I'm now hooked on the Ludum Dare game making competitions for life and hope that this is the first of very many.

What went wrong
Not much gameplay: The area in which this game fell short was gameplay and 'fun'. As it stands there's little to no compelling gameplay elements, more likely defined as minor interactivity than gameplay. Initially I wanted the game to give off an impression of tediousness in the early stages and to progress into other interesting and coluorful gameplay elements, but due to the nature of the game jam and some limitations I was unable to successfully implement anything compelling gameplay wise throughout. At best it has some platforming elements, but that is all.

No core mechanic: Similarly to not much gameplay there is also 'juicy' core mechanic. What I mean by juicy is - a game mechanic that designers can get multiple uses out of, if a mechanic only has one single use then it's more or less useless. As I designer I do often struggle in the area of thinking up interesting ways to incorporate a solid mechanic to enhance the experience as a result I usually tend to achieve something that lacks in a game form and just sits as an 'idea or concept piece'.

 What I learnt
What I have learnt from doing this game jam is to focus a little more on interesting and unique level design elements and to incorporate this into something that triggers an emotional responses from players to give the game some substance.

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