Postmortem: QuetzalAnd another Pyweek ends. :)
I liked my idea and how the game turned out, but for some reason during development I wasn't as excited as I usually am. I'm not sure why; maybe Pyweek is kind of becoming routine for me. :) I'm satisfied with my entry, although I feel like I could've done better. At least, this time, I managed to "finish" my original entry (unlike my two previous Pyweeks which turned into a "game in one day" competition because I went too ambitious for one week). Well, "finished" without polish/intro/in-game-instructions/sfx, without proper testing and without balancing, that is.
I had problems finding an idea using the feathers theme. I started two days late due to other issues and I was somewhat hoping I would have a good idea in these two days, but nothing came up. Finally, I decided to make a more traditional side-scroller shoot'em up game. I personally like innovation and creativity in games and I always try to make my games with something that's at least not too common. So, even though I wish I had a better idea, I decided to throw a little platforming on the shoot'em up to make it a bit different. The feather theme fit well with that.
I'll speak a bit about the game here and the intended strategy; if you haven't played, this post probably won't make much sense.
The implicit theme of my game is an Aztec priest/mage who drains powers from flying feathers trying to defend his people from the (flying) invading Spaniards. Not that it matters much. :) Anyway, the core of the game is that the hero must jump from feather to feather to be able to attack and at the same time avoid the enemies.
I wanted the game to encourage the player to jump from feather to feather to create tension and that feeling that you're always close to falling. I added two elements for that: 1, if you stay on a feather too long it decays and, 2, you keep the "attack" of the feather for a few seconds after you leave it. So it's always a good idea to change feathers given that you always gain or "reset the timer of" an attack when you land on one. After the player learns that, the player should hopefully try to change feathers as often as possible. I think that's the optimal strategy, unless someone finds another one.
I also wanted to encourage the player to kill the enemies without having any kind of score system and without much work. I did that by having the enemies respawn (at most two times) if you don't kill them. So killing them is always a better choice, because, if not, you'd end up having to kill them along with new enemies. Hopefully it should be evident for the player, but I'm not sure. Maybe the player would have to play for a few times to realize that. Even if it's not evident, I wouldn't have time to do anything about it.
There is only one level and it lasts a little less than 4 min (that's when the music ends - I wanted to synchronize it better with the music, but I didn't have time). Creating enemy patterns by hand took longer than I thought, and I did it in the last few hours of the challenge. So you'll probably notice that the closer to the end you get, the lazier I felt to add new and interesting patterns. :) I wanted to add a boss, but that didn't happen (saw that coming).
I tried to add some sense of progression, but I had too little time for that. I think I messed up the difficulty towards the end; it gets particularly difficult near the end. Since I was running out of time, I just threw in 12 lives and hoped it would at least not make it so bad. I know it's an ugly fix that doesn't really fix at all (and even decreases the tension), but it was the best thing I could do at the time, since I didn't have time to test and tweak it further and I didn't want to see people frustrated for not being able to finish the game. Ah well.
Another feature that attempts to add progression is allowing you to have more feathers and more combos as it goes. I think that part is ok; it would have been too overwhelming if you had everything from the beginning.
I think I achieved what I wanted from the "same color combos" (you only get them later on the level and you use them by landing on a feather of the same color while you still have that color's attack activated). They're not easy to use, and once you use it, it's not only powerful but necessary towards the end. It feels the way I wanted it to be, except for two unintended consequences: it's a bit too based on luck (the feathers you get are uniformly random) and if let yourself be overrun by enemies, it's too hard to use it (and since it's somewhat necessary, you're pretty much doomed at that point). So maybe a good strategy here is to focus not being overrun by enemies and to keep the combos as activated as possible. And also not die, because if you do, you lose your combo. But maybe that's not so clear for the player. Anyway, figuring these things out it's part of the game (and if you haven't played the game yet, I'm probably spoiling it for you :)).
Anyway, that's it. I haven't gotten much feedback yet and I'm looking forward to see people's opinions.
Some entries look really great. Unfortunately, I might not have time to judge all games this time. Maybe I'll pick a few at random and judge them.
I appreciate any feedback. Feel free to be verbose in your rating comments.
Thanks to Richard for hosting it. See you all next Pyweek!
(log in to comment)