Well, this may be a bit early to do reflecting on the actual game, given that I haven’t gotten much player feedback. Although there were no major snags in my process this time, there is still quite a lot to take away from the experience.
Stuff to Remember for Next Time
- Processing is a good tool. While I can think of plenty things I’d like improved in it, and while I couldn’t successfully export an applet from it, it saved me from having to set up a project file as I would in C++. I didn’t have any trouble with adding graphics or audio.
- Fake the physics. Last April, my greatest challenge was the physics engine. This time, I wrote another physics engine. It only worked with circles and the hardest math it used was computing a component of a vector. Also, most the math was created through the process of, “this seems to work,” rather than through any deductive reasoning. Overall, it’s not very realistic, but it passes for a game.
- Get a prototype out early. In this Dare, I had a prototype ready 18 hours in. I found that it was really boring. At that point, planets crashed into each other and stopped when they did, creating a big clump. This was not at all challenging to avoid. I ended up writing a basic physics engine and changing the goal of the game entirely to make it better. These tasks were fairly significant in scope and took a good amount of time. I also made a lot of tweaks to the movement mechanic based on some comments of, “Your game nauseates me.”
- Add variety to the game. Late in the development of the game, I decided to add difficulty levels (which are based on the score). This led to the advent of huge planets and fast planets, which make the game more interesting. I also found this in the game I made last April, when I added falling platforms, moving the game away from a pure puzzle (since it wasn’t a very good puzzle).
- Google can help you make assets (indirectly). While it’s obviously cheating to use premade assets, it is useful to look for resources on how to make assets. For instance, for my astronaut, I wanted a really easy walk cycle, so I looked up, “pixel art walk cycle” and found some useful tips.
- Details matter. The game feels quite a bit more professional now that it has fades between all the screens. The Earth graphic looks just plain weird without clouds. The tiny jump sound makes the game feel different than if there were nothing.