Prance Prance Evolution was my first ever finished game (although it’s arguably still incomplete…), and the Ludum Dare experience was awesome! Schedule permitting, I’ll be participating in these from now on!
Prance Prance Evolution is a Race Horse management simulation, where the goal is to raise the perfect horse through both breeding and buying. Since I had to cut a lot of features to make the 48 hour time limit (An extra day for the jam wouldn’t have made much sense, since Monday is a work day), it’s only marginally fun. It has several redeeming qualities, particularly since it’s my first game at all, but in retrospect it could have been better. Anyway, I’ll start with what went right.
What went right:
Uniqueness: I’ve only reviewed roughly thirty other entries so far, but my game is very different from anything else I’ve got to play. I’m really glad I was able to contribute something somewhat unique in a sea of games.
Time Management: One thing I constantly did over the weekend was carried times in my head of when I wanted to be done with certain aspects. In my time zone, the competition ran from 8pm Friday-8 pm Saturday, which created some surprisingly convenient windows. For instance, I planned to go to bed at midnight Friday night (only missed by an hour!), and my goal was to have the concept, what features would be required, what things would need to be coded that I had either struggled with in the past or had no experience doing, as well as a general idea of the assets required. Saturday, I planned to have all of the locations (And a good deal of art) done by noon, and be feature complete by midnight that night (didn’t quite make that one.) I made imaginary schedules like this constantly, and I believe it was hugely beneficial.
What went wrong:
Identity: This is, in my opinion, the biggest flaw I had. I never really considered what was core to the game. Moonmagic: “I enjoyed the rainbow horse sprites and the dizzying array of statistical options, but found myself wishing for the entire game to be a lot more ridiculous. I encountered a horse called Chevy, and I wished that it was Chevy Ray Johnston, and that caused me to wish for many silly horse names and Acme / Mariokart style random events during the race.” Moonmagic nailed it on the head. I had very conflicting styles. I had a colorful (although ugly) pallet of colors, a pun for a title, and some interesting horse names, which were appealing, but never really committed to going that route. Ultimately, I wish I would have less time coding, and more time thinking about what I really wanted to create. I think making a functional game trumped creating something worthwhile, which I hope to correct next time around.
Sound: There is none. I thought I could use music borrowed from the web, as long as it was legal for the purposes I was using it for, but after looking online, it seemed like it was a lot more restrictive than that. Because it was so late in the comp., I didn’t really have time to make something from scratch, and I also had no idea where I should begin, anyway. Anyway, this is totally my fault, but I’m not sure what the quality would have been like had I known, either. It is likely, however, that even bad sounds/music could have made it feel a lot more complete. This would have been especially true of music, since the game primarily takes place in menus.
Gameplay: My game, while interesting, isn’t all that fun. Because there is are limited options as to how to achieve your goal, the game can sometimes feel like a grind. This problem mainly came up because I did a poor job with creating my base classes, so I spent way too much time creating each individual menu (which are butt-ugly, to boot). If I had spent more time creating flexible base classes, I could have saved time for play-testing, animating, and sound later on.
Graphics: My game isn’t exactly pretty, lol. I’m not a great artist at all, so it might have been better to choose a less graphics intensive design. Ultimately, I need to learn and get better in this area.
There’s a lot more to comment on, but I think that’s plenty for one post. I just want to thank the community for the push to actually finish something, as well as all the comments! It’s a very cool thing to think that people all over the world are playing something I made, even though I’m not totally proud of it. Thanks for the support and motivation Ludum Dare!