Mortimer the Lepidopterist: postmortemThis was the closest I've come to completing my game idea for Pyweek, so I feel pretty good about that. In retrospect, it's easy to see why I was able to finish: by underestimating the amount of time I would have.
I was busy this week: packing Tuesday, moving Wednesday, then staying at a friend's house with just my netbook. Also I flew across the country Friday to attend a wedding on Saturday. I knew all this would happen at the beginning of the week, so naturally I had low expectations for getting anything done. That, combined with the fact that "caught" was the only theme I didn't have a good idea for, meant I picked something unambitious. I was able to get 95% of the game mechanics done by Tuesday.
It turns out that I was able to work on the game despite being on the road, and this let me add polish to the game for the last two-thirds of the competition. I think this ratio of one-third core mechanics to two-thirds polish was about right for me.
What did I learn this time around? Not a lot. However, I did stumble upon a solution to a problem I've had before. This game has a lot of text popping up on the screen, way more than any game I've done before (Sorry I don't have a scanner right now, but here's a photograph of my notes):
So, how do I write my label class so that I can ask for a label appearing 20 pixels from the bottom right of the screen that stays for the entire game, and also ask for a label appearing 100 pixels below the center that appears for 1.2 seconds, rises 10 pixels, and then disappears, playing a sound? And of course they have different fonts, font sizes, and colors. Usually when confronted with this problem I try to create a good, extensible constructor with tons of optional arguments that cover every possible need. This time around, I said "screw it" and did something quick and dirty.
Every type of label in that picture is a different class that inherits from the base class and overrides one or more of several static variables and methods: the variable "expiring" determines whether it disappears, the method "duration" determines how long it lasts, and the method "position(self, surf)" sets its position in terms of the surface. So I don't ask for a Label that appears in a certain place for a certain time; instead I ask for a ComboBonusIndicator, and all the specifics are contained in that class. It worked really well. I plan to do it like this from now on.
So, I feel like I figured something out. Whenever I do this, more experienced game makers explain either that this is obvious and everyone does it like this, or it's flawed and there's a good reason nobody does it like this. We'll see, but I know it worked for me. :)
Thanks richard, for another great competition! Good luck to everyone in judging!
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