Monday, 5 August 2013

Crazy Climber Chris! - Postmortem

For Brains Eden Gaming Festival 2013, back in June under the theme "Mountains" myself and some colleges from my degree course made a game called Crazy Climber Chris in 48 hours.

The Game
Firstly, I can say that I don't consider this game to be something I am overly proud of as a showcase piece. However it has probably been the game that I have learnt the most from in terms looking back at all the things wrong with it and to learn upon them. With that in mind I do not regret working on this game as such. Failure is the fundamental route to success, and this was one of those failures that sits as a stepping stone to the next game. Admittedly it has some okay elements to it considering the 48 hour time span but the things wrong with it over way the things that are good about it.

What went wrong
Clunky slow gameplay: The game functions plays very slowly and clunky - to fix something like this would require a lot of re-iteration/engineering to and polish to make it feel right. I think it is important to avoid ambitions undefined gameplay controls that are unfamiliar to design in the given circumstance.
Unstable build at showcase: One of the most heart breaking things I had experienced was watching people who were playing the game at the end of the jam but with game breaking bugs - every time the game experienced bugs it felt like personal failure. As a result it was difficult to get an honest opinion from people who played.

Stick with what you know: None of us had ever previously made a rhythm game of any form so with that in mind it probably wasn't the best idea to attempt - sometimes it's best to stick with what you know, particularly in competition situations. I think we over scoped purely on the fact that the game was intended to be rhythm based.

What I learnt
How to deal with stress: I think the most important thing I learnt was how to deal with stressful situations, and to not feel intimidated by industry people. Arguably the weekend of Brains Eden was one of the most stressful and tiresome weekends I had engaged in. I went to the event with built up emotions to prove myself to industry professionals in the hope to stabilize a career for myself but ultimately left with content in being focused on my own work and to not worry about working for someone in industry.

Working with others: I learnt that it is difficult working with people and the importance of understanding a teams capabilities and skills within the team to the fullest prior to coming up with a game idea - understanding your teams full capabilities I think can significantly help to prevent over-scoping an idea. I also learnt the importance of communication in a team to all fully understand the idea we plan on making.

To not go with the first idea: One of our fundamental mistakes which I will be sure to never make again when coming up with a game concept was latching onto the first idea that we had in the panic to begin development. I think it's important to take your time with any given game jam theme and to really dwell deep into how or what the really can represent.

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