Uhh, now that I am sufficiently burned out of programming for the rest of my life, what with pyweek, and then ludum dare 11 (which i am fairly positive I spent more hours on than I did pyweek) I suppose I may as well see what I can learn from the experience. Those of us in the industry may call this brain dump a "post mortem". I call it blarfing.
I would say that I basically failed pyweek. I'm partially talking about the scores, but I think I would be more upset about the scores if I didn't agree with many of them. I made several large mistakes, and I'm sorry to say, most of them I have made before. I am going to print these out and post them in 100pt font on my wall.
- Unclear vision - I took an idea that has been inside me for a game for years and tried to force it into the theme. This was a mistake for several reasons. First, the idea itself has never been clear. Something that takes years to form is probably not a good candidate for a time limit. Secondly, the idea never had anything to do with robots. Trying to force it into a robot game just looked bad. As a result, my game lacked spirit, and development was slow
- Technology above means - Halfway through the week, I should have scrapped the code I had been working on and re-scoped the project. The skeletal animation system was a good idea, however it took the entire week to get right. In the future, I plan on having a timeline for anything I do, and a plan B if I can't get something working right. I attempted this for ludumdare, and while my process can still be improved, it worked MUCH better. To not at least attempt some new technology in a compo would be to miss an opportunity, but to sacrifice the game to a tech is just as bad. Attempt the impossible, but know when to move on!
- Too ambitious - related to the above, but not the same. All in all, I am always too ambitious. I never try to make something simple, I always want to make the complete package. Whether working alone or with my friend, there just isn't a lot of manpower to realize what I can dream up. I think I could do much better if I could dream a bit smaller. Instead, I always manage to express in my games a small slice of what I meant to say, and the result is no one understands what I am going for.
Not to be too hard on myself or anything :) I am just tired of continually making the same mistakes. I think I would find the experience more rewarding and fun if I were less ambitious and not so technology focused.
Now to respond to a few comments!
- "Seems like it could have used a bit more graphics and gameplay, but I liked the rock'em sock'em feel of it." - Glad someone liked it!
- "incomplete." - True!
- "Too hard!" - I get this response often. I usually balance for myself, which may make the games lean a little harder than they should (since I will have the most practice). Still, this feeling isn't unanimous:
- "This was really well tuned in terms of difficulty - it was exceptionally fun to play and win. Sadly no replay value, but a very worthwhile endeavor." - so I guess it was well balanced for one other player.
- "bad game ?" - you'll really have to give me more to go on here.
- "Interesting grpahics style (still there is something missing to be great). Nice idea of making a fight game, but it is a bit too repetitive and movements are too slow to allow the player dodge properly (i.e., you get hit a lot even if you have fast reflexes)" - Graphics were mostly temporary from the beginning that I meant to update. Didn't have the time unfortunately. To dodge you have to hold the duck button down. I can win without getting hit if I am lucky, so there may be a timing issue on your computer
- "I'm afraid I could not beat it even once :( But I like the way the robots move." - I think it's safe to say the animation worked, too bad it's all I've got.
- "The robot looks neat but it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the scene." - Well they are meant to be giant robots that meet on the battlefield. I agree the art was not that good. No comments on the rest of the game?
- "EXTREME" - TO THE MAX
- "the skeletal animation was an interesting touch, but this entry didnt have much else going for it. i eventually beat it by tapping nothing but the space bar." - Yep, I didn't realize the game would be so hard for some other people because to me it seems crazy easy.
- "jajajajajajaja...." - the rogue judge strikes again
- "hahahaha" - the rogue judge's sidekick
- "never had it for street-fighter games, and i had to take extra innovation points for not really using the theme." - I'd argue it is innovative in other areas. How does it not use the theme exactly?
- "Not everyone uses qwerty keyboards, or like to use our left hands for movement, so supporting arrow keys would be nice. Also, being able to hit escape to quit is a good feature." - Noted. Multiple input options are a good thing!
- "Fun for a while, but got bored fast." - At which point the game was SUPPOSED to hit you with the next cool thing. Oh well.
- "WASD on my dvorak keyboard (,aoe) kept switching it to a red screen with the robot parts and weird behavior. If you're a dvorak user, switch it to qwerty to get the real gameplay." - Yeah, I hear you. In my ludum dare game I support wasd and arrows. Thanks for pointing this out.
- "What's going on?" - Not really fair to rate 1/1/1 for not understanding a game. Next time please either ask for help or don't rate. This goes for playing other games as well, not just for me :)
- "Good attempt, pretty amusing. Love the wacky robot hobble." - Lol. The hobble was the temp animation that was going to be replaced. At least someone enjoyed it.
- "didnt like it" - I didn't much either.
- "I liked the animations. The game was too hard, though." - Another too hard? Game balance is a beast.
- "Well.. music and sound is nice but the game is rather unifnished. ;)" - I should have used the time I spent finding the sounds to rewrite the game.
- "Nice game, although it is a bit too short - and nicer graphics would also have been.. um.. nice? ^^" - Well, I can't do much nicer graphics than these even if I try, but I could have made a better game, for sure. But I wasted time on silly things like graphics and animation.
- "Ehhh .... too hard. Graphics need some work as well. The key bindings are also very awkward for this type of game - it's not an FPS. Try arrow keys and space bar in the future." - Alright already, control config is a must. This is the last bad rating I get for poor default controls!
- "Cool skeletal animation, but the robots look like cardboard cutouts? Also the oversized FPS counter in the counter can be distracting. Is it possible to win? I keep getting hit with fireballs (I try to duck but it doesn't happen in time) " - It is possible to win actually, you have to hold the duck key to duck. It may be that there is a timing issue but I'm not sure. One thing you might not be doing is moving left - if you move left it gives you more time to duck or at least see the shots coming at you
- "Fun: After several tries to defeat the boss i had to hacked myself 100 extra health and so i could kill him :) Playing was a nice 5 minute lasting fun. Innovation: Besides the skeletal animation thing there is no innovation. Production: The skeletal animation looks really good and is a nice feature in your game. Besides that the graphics are stylish programmers art. The only thing to do when defeating the boss or get killed is to start again (using [p]). That made me wonder a little. Overall: A funny shorty." - Glad you liked this experiment. Stylish programmer art is a compliment for me!
Finally, I think the final comment I received really sums up my game and how I feel about it very nicely:
"This game has real potential. With different selectable characters using the skelatal system differently you could really pull off an interesting robot battle game here. (I imagine making the skeletal weapons like punching the main tool of damage with powerups like lasers and airstrikes and stuff.) Unfortunately it seems like the engine for this took much of your time and limited what you were able to do. I think what you probably have in your head is awesome."
What I have in my head is quite possibly the most amazing thing that could ever exist. My hope is that in the next pyweek this will be more obvious :)