It’s been a few weeks (!), but I feel like I’ve been sitting on this retrospective for so long I may as well post the thing. LD #15 had a fantastic theme, Caverns, and I got a kick out of participating. As usual.
Looking back at my past LD and MiniLD entries, I really feel like I’m improving. My games for LD15 and MiniLD12 just feel more polished, somehow — a feel which makes me inordinately happy. I did something a little different with Shelter From the Rain; I knew I didn’t have a very strong gameplay idea, and that my mechanic (running around picking things up) had more holes in it than a ten-gallon coffee strainer. So I got the basic game together, then spent most of my time working on little polish-type features. Things like my (relatively) slick menus, configurable options, and online high scores — not to mention some, for me, pretty good atmospheric audio. In my previous entries I’ve always tried to focus on improving my skills in a particular area; this compo was no different.
If I were to go back and re-do Shelter From the Rain, I’d break it up into a series of ‘quests’ — tasking the player with going out and collecting, say, 10 cans of beans. I’d also add more hazards to both the above- and below-ground: fallout, soldiers, survivalists. In short, I wish I’d made the basic game more complex. I also feel like the visual style was crazy-disjoint, something I’d love to improve. “What are these black geary things?!” you cried. What, indeed.
Oh man. I’m so pleased with this one. If I’d realized it would receive any publicity at all (ohmygod, indiegames.com. I feel legit) I’d have spent way more time working on it this weekend — as it is, the game is basically the product of some hasty Saturday morning programming, and a little polishing on Sunday night. It’s rough, and ugly — but, I like to think, actually Fun.
This is promising. I’m working on a post-compo now, to fix some of the glaring usability bugs people have been reporting and clean up the AI a little. Breath, held.