This blog hasn’t been updated for quite a while. And never will.
My adventures in game design are continued here: groebelsloot.com
Finally I submitted the game prototype to the Experimental Gameplay Project website.
Also created a little website for the game: vuurboom.com/5summersleft.
I fixed the last issues with the tilesheet and added a version number in the main menu.
Things left to do:
- Waiting for feedback
- Fix and polish the game prototype if necessary
- Add the dowloadable windows-version to the website
- Evaluate the game
- Make the sourcecode available
Time spent in total: about 60 hours
Hurray! I’ve more or less finished my game prototype. Well, at least I have 10 levels now. I have to do some playtesting and maybe change a few things.When building the last levels I’m more and more convinced that my game design is having some major flaws, or is just incomplete. More on that in a later topic where I will evaluate the game, the design and the building process.
For now, play the most recent version here (to play, click on the game to give it focus):
So what did I do since the last time?
- Levels, levels levels. Finally completed my level ‘design’. I’m not happy with all of them, but at least I have all levels now.
- Removed 1 level, so now I have levels 1 to 10 instead of 0 to 10.
- Added an end screen for the player who beat level 10.
Things to do
The game prototype is almost ready for submission so some more people can play it. Just a few more things to do:
- Add a few more tiles to my tilesheets. You can see some ugly tiles in the last level.
- Polish a few levels. Haven’t tested them all that good yet
- Maybe change a few sounds
- Some last graphics polishing
- Set up a website containing the game and a description and a download link for the Windows version
Only worked tody on the game. Spent around 5 hours, so according to my own plan I have 2 hours left. That’s not much, but I’ll see what I can do…
I have to admit: level design is not really my thing.
During my level-building I was constantly distracted by all kinds of features I wanted to add to the game. I spent about 10 hours last days, and only half of it on level design/building. The other half I spent doing some more polishing.
Here is what I did:
- Built 2 more levels
- Changed fonts
- Changed some graphics (menu, background in game)
- Added some graphic effects for season switching
- Added sound effects (not great, but it’s something)
- Moved level selection to a new screen and changed it
- Added Help screen
- Added About screen
- Fixed minor bugs in enemy movement
- Probably some other things I can’t remember
Play the most recent version here (to play, click on the game to give it focus):
Adding sound is really easy when you use Flixel. You can just use a statement like:
It’s as easy as that.
Creating good sound effects is not that easy at all. So for now I created some ‘retro’ sound effects using ‘Sfxr’, a tool that is widely used during game-jams. It can be found here.
There is no music (yet). Creating original music is hard and time consuming. So not sure I have time for that.
Concept and design
When I was designing and building levels, I found out that my game design of this game is not what I had expected. There just is not enough mechanics to build 10 different levels.
Also, when I thought of the concept (use season-switching to affect gameplay and strategy etc), the ability to switch seasons was meant to be a ‘power’ of the player. But when building the levels I found out that the player is forced to change seasons instead of using this ‘power’ when the player desires.
This is not necessarily wrong, but it changes the gameplay, so it affects the ‘fun factor’.
The problem I have now is the ‘identity’ of the game. Whan genre is it? A real platformer? A puzzle platformer? Why the time as a score? What am I missing to make it more fun?
I have to give these questions and problems some thought and I will evaluate the outcome of my game when it’s finished. Even when it does not turn out to be what I wanted, it is at least a great experience to learn from.
Although I did polish the game some more, it is still not finished yet, because I need more levels…
So up next:
- … and probably more polishing
Time left: 17 – 10 = 7 hours.
I’m still in the process of making levels. And yes, it’s still hard. And no, I don’t have an update to show, because I didn’t had that much free time last week.
I found out that my gameplay mechanics are not enough to make interesting levels. The whole concept of the game is changing the environment from sunny summer to froze winter and back and by that the player is able to find/reach/collect all collectibles. But the changes between summer and winter are too few. It feels like I’m missing some elements to make it really fun.
All I have now is:
- Winter is slippery, so difficult to run and jump fast -> player needs skills
- In Winter you cannot climb, so some areas may be impossible to reach -> player needsto plan the season changes
- In Summer water is deadly, so some areas may be impossible to reach -> player needs to plan the season changes
- In winter enemies stand still. That seems easier, but they can stand in the way of the player -> player has to plan
And that’s about it. I can only think of a few interesting puzzles/challenges, and that’s not enough for 10 levels.
Maybe my game concept is not ‘rich’ enough, or maybe I’m a lousy level designer.
The designs I have on paper will be transformed to real levels the next days. At the moment I don’t have that much free time to do it all, but I have plenty of time left to finish this game this month, or the next.
And I will finish it, even if I’m not all satisfied with my design choices. Finishing a project is important. It feels like an accomplishment (and it is). Besides, it is not a complete game I’m making. In the end it is just a prototype, an experiment. So it does not have to be perfect.
I hope to find some time this weekend to build the levels. Maybe not 10, but at least a couple so I can find out whether my game design makes any sense or not.