Well, after patching up some stuff, I realized I hadn’t written up an actual postmortem forSuper Rope War, my Summer Game Jam entry. Oops. Hey, better late than never, right?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to write one, so I’m pretty much
gonna write whatever comes to mind. Without further ado…
What went right…
Using something I was already comfortable with
As per usual, I used RPG Maker VX Ace for the game. I was planning on using something else like Unity or Game Maker, but then it hit me: I had no friggin’ clue how to use those engines. Period. I didn’t want to crash and burn in my first game jam, so I ended up deciding against it. This led to a much more smooth development process, even more so since I
decided on using the graphics pack I had bought for Silicon Savior Sasha and using royalty-free music. (I’d much rather have made my own, but whatevs)
Good time management and planning
As soon as I heard the theme and got my slices of pizza, I immediately went to my computer and started typing up ideas. As soon as I got at least two solid ideas, I boiled it down to which one was simpler. The unused premise was that you were the leader of a kingdom being attacked with monsters, but you were able to physically move that kingdom one tile.
With each tile changed the surrounding environment and monsters that you had to fight.
The premise I ended up going with (violent tug of war match) was a lot simpler to make and understand. With that, I planned out all the stages, spells, items, etc. within Word and created a schedule which I was to kinda-sorta-not really adhere to.
It pretty much went like:
- Create forest stage (8:00-8:30) – which then went to 10:00 since I decided
to add more stages. Stupid me.
- Add spells, items, and weapons and finish shop. (10:00-11:00)
And so on, and so forth. It was the first time I actually made a development schedule for myself, and it worked for the most part. If I hadn’t finished something before the time alloted in the schedule, it was either cut or drastically simplified. Done and done.
Trying out new things
For SRW, I decided to do some unconventional things I’d never done before. For starters, this was the first actual turn-based RPG I would release to the public.(Starlight Adventure would’ve been the first, but that’s a loooong story) Second, I decided to create maps first before starting the actual story and battles, rather than making a map,
setting everything in place, then moving on to the next map. I tried doing this forSilicon Savior Sasha, which is why there are a few screenshots available for that but little in-game cutscenes shown.
The method used for SRW is definitely beneficial, seeing
as I was crunched for time and the game would be short as it is…but not for
something longer like Sasha. Still, it was a good learning experience when it
came to using that process, but I don’t think I’ll be using it for longer projects.
What went wrong:
Too complex and ambitious for its own good
Making an RPG is hard and time-consuming.
Making a 5-15 minute RPG in less than 48 hours with lots of ‘depth’ is even harder.
Honestly, the battle system should have been a lot simpler. The NPC’s in
The Famished Falcon talk about features that I never had the time to implement. Coding and balancing the ‘Rope’ mechanic was nothing short of hell. I tried to make a bite-sized version of Final Fantasy 1 when I should’ve been making Baby’s First RPG! Super Simple & Easy Edition!
It would’ve saved me a lot of headaches, especially when it came to…
Bug and balance testing
SRW isn’t balanced. At all. Like, seriously.
The most powerful weapon in the game can be purchased as soon as you start the game. And you get the most powerful skills very early since you level up way too quickly.
This is where my schedule failed. I only had a limited time to test the game (pretty much an hour and a half before we stopped), so I couldn’t make a whole bunch of changes. There is also a bug where the final boss doesn’t die, so you can’t beat the game.
Again, if I had made it simpler, this whole dilemma could’ve been avoided. Ah, well…
Public speaking skills
If there was one negative thing I had to say about the jam, it’d be this.
Now, usually I’m pretty good at giving presentations…at school, in front of my fellow classmates who I know pretty well and am comfortable around. That was totally different at the jam. I was presenting in front of a room full of (mostly) adults, most of whom I’d never even met
or talked to before. So, obviously, I got a bit nervous.
And by a bit nervous, I mean very nervous.
I stuttered. I totally forgot exactly what I was going to say. I totally forgot
what I was going to do. I even forgot some of the game mechanics!
It. Was. A. Trainwreck.
Somehow, despite the crappy presentation, I got a lot positive
feedback from the game! Someone even came up to me and told
me how impressed they were! So, y’know, that felt good and whatnot.
Again, in front of classmates, or even just other teens, I’m fine. In front of
adults I don’t know, I’m most certainly not fine. Maybe this could’ve been
avoided if I had actually socialized with the other developers instead of hiding out within an office with my desktop & laptop. I’ve become ever so slightly better at public speaking since then, but I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m also trying to get involved with more game developers and whatnot, so I’ll see where that takes me.
So yeah, overall, the Summer Game Jam was a positive experience. I met some pretty awesome people (mostly after the jam ended, but whatevs), got to do what I love in an air-conditioned room, and actually finished a game!
…Granted, this isn’t the first game I’ve completed, but there’s nothing wrong with another finished game to add to the list.
But yeah, that’s my month-late postmortem. Hope you guys enjoyed it. 😉
(holy crap this is my longest post ever D: )