Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Saddest Landscape - Postmortem

So under the theme "10 Seconds" for Ludum Dare #27 you can view and play my entry here: "The Saddest Landscape".

What went well 
Established an interesting link to the theme fairly quickly: 10 Seconds” made me think of old school films in which have a countdown such as: link. This then led me to think about old film projectors more specifically a film reel or film negative strip. I thought it would be interesting to create a world that lies within a filmstrip, and that players themselves are in turn telling themselves a story as they play it, this was how I interpreted the theme. I was surprised to find a number of people who thought I hadn’t considered the theme and were unable to see the connection.  There is no gameplay mechanic that directly links to the theme; my interpretation was purely visual and aesthetically which I felt could have been the reason for this misunderstanding.
Making artwork and animating: Creating art and animating are my stronger side so naturally this went relatively smoothly. I feel I do well in establishing a certain feeling or mood in the game and are happy with the results. I didn’t want to do a purely black and white game as my old LD26 game was all black and white; I wanted to have at least some hint of colour. So I went for an old sepia brownish tone which was intended to give an old fashioned kind of feel, that I hope it does.
Managed to submit something: Having almost scrapped the idea midday Saturday to do something that was easier for me to program (I was thinking of a point and click adventure perhaps) I was happy that I stuck at it and managed to submit something that ran relatively smoothly. 

What went wrong
Learning AS3/Coding: I’m not much of a programmer but I love coming up with interesting design ideas for games which is why I participate (and to learn). But I got very frustrated throughout programming the game which is why this entry isn’t as substantial as it could have been.
The game mechanic I wanted to implement would have been that the characters could let go of each others hands and that when separated one can make it over further to reach gaps and aid the other character across, so basically hints of puzzle elements to the game.
Bugs (oops): I submitted the game with one silly bug I knew about but completely forgot to fix If players hold the ‘up arrow’ key the characters just fly up endlessly. There are also some minor collision issues which are beyond my knowledge of programming to fix so I just had to work around these issues throughout development.

Not Much of a Game/No Gameplay: I think I ever so slightly bit off more than I could chew as I know very little AS3. This meant that I was able to get a concept out but unable to implement a game mechanic and to design some intrigue levels with a nice curve around this mechanic. However I learnt a ton of new things because of this. What I submitted isn’t much of a game (yet) more of an interactive storytelling conceptual piece and proof of concept.

What is next
I’m fairly happy with the concept and I feel it has a lot of room for potential. I plan to continue working on this due to the nice feedback I have received from fellow devs. I have found myself a programmer and we’re currently working evenings and weekends to maybe make this little prototype into something hopefully substantial. All the artwork/characterization will be further iterated and touched up for a more unique/established art style based on some very valuable feedback I have received. A solid game mechanic will be put in place which in turn will give some puzzle elements to the game, as well as adding some variety to the twitch skill mechanics currently in place for platforming.

Thank you to everyone who played and for your kind words.

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