After failing to make a playable game for LD #23, my first attempt a non-mini LD, the motive for making a game for LD#24 didn’t really kick in until after the theme was announced. I didn’t want to repeat the failures I made in LD #23, so I actually took some time jotting ideas into my notebook before opening up FlashDevelop to set up the framework for my game.
What went right:
Planning. After the theme was announced on the IRC channel, the first thing I wrote in my notebook was “EVOLUTION!!! FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU!!!”, then I had some ideas about monkeys evolving, then about ‘devolution’, where you have to remove genes to make a species dumber, eventually leading to extinction. I finally settled with a game where you have to ‘evolve’ a spaceship by defeating enemies.
Keeping things simple. I made an effort not to make sure the game mechanics didn’t go beyond my abilities. I’ve never tackled AI in a game I’ve made before, so I just created a very simple ‘AI’ system.
Sense of getting stronger. I really didn’t know about how this turned out until I played my game after submitting it.
What went wrong:
Work commitments / Real life. I spent the majority of Saturday at work, leaving me with little time to work on the game.
Lack of play testing. Some felt the difficulty of the game was too hard, and others said it was too easy, once they’d figured out the tricks in defeating the enemies.
Not knowing what I was doing. Sometimes, I would forget what I was working on within my code. I feared that some things could be left unfinished.
Cut content. I had originally planned on having the player destroy smaller, lower level ships in order to gain health (which would’ve given a greater sense of evolving), but instead, decided that stopping vertical movement would restore 5% of your health per second instead. I also considered having icons appear above the enemies, to indicate their ‘dominant’ stat (the one which will be upgraded when you defeath them). I was running out of time, so these features were cut, as well as a score system, and a win condition (getting to the ‘Dragon’ level).
Why did I name the game ‘Gravallax’? Because I work in a restaurant that serves Gravlax, and I thought that the name of this dish sounded like a retro space shooter. We sold a lot of Grav(al)lax that Saturday.
You can play my game RIGHT HERE