I wasn’t going to do one, but I’ve decided to write a short little thing on it. My game was titled Empty, and it’s bugs make it impossible to beat, but it’s got some good stuff going on.
The idea I first had was a man inside a small screen that could only jump around in his world. It would be mainly story based, about how pointless it is to be alone with no one to share your ideas. After going a bit less than a day working on that, I realized it needed something more. My first idea was to transform the whole game into a scrolling world, where you started in the window I created, but then escaped against the will of your creator. I started working in Tiled, but after a while, I realized I had no idea what I was doing, and I liked my old story idea much better. So, I went back to that. I realized it needed puzzles, something else to illustrate how worthless it all was. I really wanted something that felt like the puzzles in Jonathan Whiting’s Craequ. I didn’t have time to come up with something cool like that, though, so I decided to go with something already invented: the sliding puzzle. It seemed like a great idea, where the man could reflect on how pointless his purpose is. Plus, the puzzles could be made harder through the fact the blocks aren’t always reachable, giving it a nice fresh feel, or at least that’s what I’d hoped. You can be the judge of that.
- The mechanic idea was pretty sweet, I think. Puzzle Platformers can be the gateway to loads of awesomeness. My idea of sliding puzzles controlled by jumping was pretty original (as far as I know) and it worked pretty well. It could have had some more smooth transitions to it, but hey, this is the pros section.
- The graphics were pretty nice by my standards, to. The noise effect was something I accidentally discovered during the competition in paint.net that I thought just completed the feel of emptiness. The title screen was cool looking, if I do say so myself. I do wish I had time to give the player a human look with full animations, but the square ended up kind of complementing the aesthetic I had going on, so it was cool.
- The music was something I can’t believe worked out so well, but it did. I wanted to compose something original, but by the time I got around to it, their was an hour left, so I simply generated something in Otomata. It ended up really complementing the puzzley thing, and despite being repetitive, it was not very obtrusive and does not get too annoying.
- The game probably should have the option to, you know, win…
- For a game inspired by story, the story could have been much, much better. I should have found a better way to convey the feelings of your character, but the length of the screen limited the length of the messages, and thus, I had to hope for a kind of “narrative subtlety” feel. Yeah… didn’t work.
- The collision detection is scrapped together terribly. It’s possible to get inside blocks in more ways than I can count. This wouldn’t have been as hard if I could make the blocks tween from place to place, but yeah…
- The controls were kind of annoying in the end. The sometimes impossibility of moving the inside block turned from an interesting twist to an annoying limitation. Plus, the clinging on the walls was slightly awkward, and the middle of the character had to be touching the block for the move to register. Very annoying.
- Finally, the game had an awful interest to hardness ratio. It was all difficulty, with no learning curve at all. There was nothing to convince people to play more.
Well, I learned a lot this LD, and I look forward to the next time I can show you all what I can do!