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    Big Atoms: post mortem

    Posted by
    April 24th, 2012 3:13 pm

    So my Big Atoms was released on time and I like it. Here’s its post mortem.

    Not real atoms

    The idea:
    I am happy about the theme-idea (“hey atoms are tiny”). I wanted to try to do a physics game, and the result, even if classic, has some less used features, like flying and complex shapes, thanks to the molecule theme. The plan was to add special atoms having electromagnetic forces etc, but the bonus atoms already took too much time.

    The time:
    My main problem was the need of an editor. Creating physics level always seems hard and I avoided any polygons fiddling, but I needed to handle much more objects. So, I kept adding editor features to allow me to create levels faster, and trying to find the good balance optimizing the time left. It was almost an epic fail since I made only few levels at the very end.

    The controls:
    That one was a big problem and I experimented with various methods most of the first day (mouse, rotation). All were hard to learn and tweak, so I got back to some dead simple stuff and started the game itself, also because it was still impossible to test correctly without real levels. The final result probably relies too much on inertia. I was planning to have bigger molecule at each level and thus wanted to start weak. A bit more power seems more fun now, but it also makes things much easier, so the sweet spot needed more testing to be found. [edit:] I just documented a method how to tweak your molecule’s power using the editor. Funny, we can’t patch things, but providing an editor allow the players to fix and tweak the game if they want :)

    The challenge:
    It was really fun. I loved searching and deciding an idea in few hours, experimenting quickly, using tricks to create stuff faster and the rush at the end when so much is done. Also really happy to have managed to finish it. Definitively be back next time.

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