Glitched Spaceway little Post Mortem

During the month of June I participated in the Game Jam hosted by Game Jolt, #glitchjam.
I have studied a lot game development, all aspects of it, the programming itself to marketing… But this was one of the best things I’ve ever done (to help me study).

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Self teach to do something, be disciplined, is very difficult. Even more without an “immediate objective”. Join this JAM, with a deadline considered “long” (one month) ended up being an excellent choice for my learning. I learned a lot throughout the process and the results you can check here: Glitched Spaceway.
Took a look? Well now the rest of the post will make more sense.

The game is full of bugs and incomplete. Many of these bugs nobody notices, but they are still there. And for this JAM its not much of a problem: The idea IS the game being buggy and strange. My shooter actually can be considered one of the most shy in this sense, just take a look at the other games. :]
Despite the fact that this is my first experience in every way, both as a developer and as a participant in a JAM, I learned most things were not as related to the use of a development tool (Stencyl 3.1) or the creation of the graphics themselves: was to organize and put ideas into practice. Was the design of the thing
First, what went right:
Some of my decisions and practices helped, some partly learned in making a short film:
  • Planning prior to the creative process, I researched and got a lot of stuff that was helpful in the production of the game (in its current state), from sound tools to visual references of Glitch Art“. I did it for almost a month before the start of the JAM.
  • Be organized: I used Simple Note and Trello to organize the entire project, from bugs to the list of features.
  • Simplify the design of the game to the fullest, not super plan each feature or system: This was another very beneficial thing of the process, because of this the game “was ready in timeand is directing in a way that pleases and excites me (I plan to finish the game in two different versions).
  • Put in mind that the most important thing was to have fun in the process, nothing to take this thing too seriously.
  • Use tools and methods to create graphs (Sprites) that allowed me to create and experiment designs quickly. In the case I used Blender and GIMP for everything. Yes, I did the 2d Sprites in BLENDER! And it was easier (for me personally)!
  • Make daily backups: In the middle of the process the game refused to build and even doing backups every day I walked into despair. Imagine without them!
2d = 3d

2d = 3d

What Not went so right:

As said before, this was my first experience in everything except the creation of sprites in Blender (already was researching). I figured that much of the time would be spent learning how to implement the systems and familiarizing myself with the other tools. What I did not expect is that even the simple idea that originally I had was not going to work at all.
Originally the game was happening into a space where several elements, sprites and enemies randomly invade other games, causing chaos and destruction in a universe inspired by the classics Asteroids and Space Invaders games. All this fought by a ship that had skills directly inspired by Fighting and Beat’ then Up games.

Got boring. I made the prototype and was boring. VERY BORING. The whole thing had no personality, gameplay combat did not work well with enemies... From there, I decided to review the game, implement only the asteroids as enemies And it was when I walked into a vortex of stupidity and forgot the simplicity: Implemented a system of physics inspired by Super Star Dust, Now the game became a little better, but was basically impossible to play it: The simulated and non-deterministic nature of the physics elements made the Meteors killers that laught loud at the attack attempts of the Ship. I spend three days implementing these physics. THREE DAYS (almost) NON-STOP.

This was the point where I was discouraged. But to my luck, the next days I could not touch the game, because I was teaching replacement classes all day (I’m a digital art Teacher at a “technical school”). While I was teaching I thought about how to improve things. In the end, I chose to follow the tips from a Master of 2d action games: Jan Willem Nijman.
What ended up being:

Sem título-Screen

Turned every thought to the idea purely Arcade: From the top of the stage are born enemies or obstacles that prevent the passage of Space Trucks attempting to cross the stretch. From this it was creating semi predictable reactions for the Meteors, to an extent that led to predict how they are going behave when taking shots for example.
While doing this, other ideas were appearing. I bravely resisted all impulses that would make it a complex thing until I got to the part of the implementation of the Score received by the player. While implementing the score, a bug appeared: The points were always negative: -999 thousand“, -1134″ as I stared in amazement at my inefficiency in basic mathematics I had an idea for the theme of the game that I really liked: The Player is bankrupt and has a negative bank account. To pay the debt you have to escort Space Trucks.
The idea of ​​a negative score is pleasing me. It gives a nice PURPOSE, very interesting motivation for the game: In the entire history of mankind, Shooters are focused on scoring. The theme, music, absurd art design (“WTF Japan”) and other things are EXTRAS. What matters is the final score and basic gameplay. That’s why games like Ikaruga and Radiant Silver Gun were and are so important to the genre”: In Radiant we have a story told via Japanese animation, A WELL DONE ONE! The addition of a story and concise” universe was a very important thing for these games, was an additional motivation to play them (it was not the main motivation, after all they are EXTREMELY well done Shmup‘s).
From now on:
A negative score takes the game to other interesting directions: I have ideas of how to handle the purchase of equipment and game systems that are relatively simple to implement (in other words, I can do) and at least sound very interesting. Think about something like A mix between Papers Please Spaceship Shooter’s“. :]
But first I have many things to do, basic stuff like:
  • Correct and improve the score system;
  • Making more enemies and challenges;
  • Improve the basic progression the capabilities of the ship (like powerups, but not necessarily so);
  • Insert more sounds and music;
  • Make more than one stage and a better introduction to the game systems (much goes unnoticed).
  • Putting sense of humor! (VERY IMPORTANT)

And thats about it!
For an upcoming post I want to show how I’m making the game sprites, I quite like the method. :]

Thanks for any support,
.dilly

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