So over the weekend I knocked out Soul Jar, and between lack of sleep and constant LD high, this is what went right and wrong in order! So first up a quick trailer to give you an idea what the game is like:
What went right:
Atmosphere & Theme:
I am happy with how the overall feel of the game turned out, originally I had planned that the game was going to be two parts, the first part were you learn from the human on earth, and the second played solo as the robot returning home, though I had to scrap that pretty early when it was clear that I wouldn’t make the deadline in time, instead I just focused my efforts on making the desert believable, added sandstorms and such, I thought it turned out pretty well but I would like to do some more with the areas I missed in future. If anything I would have liked to invest a bit more time into the landscapes to make them a bit less procedural, since they are quite bland at times, but I think that is an adventure for another day also.
I think I managed to get a great deal of personality out of two (almost) silent protagonists, the droid beeps really added heaps, and the way he learns new abilities was pretty decent, even if lacking in prompts to tell the player what is going on, it was vague but I think with a bit more polish here it could be something really awesome.
What went wrong:
Long story short, I started the game using box2D for mmf2, but a series of problems and my lack of experience using it had me frustrated by about hour two, I just fell back on doing a standard mmf2 platforming fastloop movement, which probably resulted in some less than optimal controls. I think the major problems are the climbing up controls, and the odd up/down pickup controls, though due to the time restraints I don’t think much of this could have been avoided. Definitely going to overhaul it with box2d when I find the time.
I wanted a pretty intricate item system at the start, with hopes to have around 20 items, and a complex digging/scanning system, the whole thing just fell apart though with lack of time, since the digging wasn’t fully implemented and the controls were clunky and the items were about 10-12 in number including the story items. The whole mining system just sucked. Other content that provided a bit of a problem aside from the extra levels mentioned earlier was a pushable block system that I had half implemented but didn’t get around to actually using, so there was a bit of wasted effort there also. Oh well.
Another thing that due to lack of time, had to take some cuts. I initially wanted a text system in the game but that seemed pretty unrealistic after day one, I had to settle for a bitmap popup of what the human says initially when the robot lands, also hints related to finding the item that removes the ships shield so the robot can return home was also scrapped due to time, and I think the game is much more vague because of it. Ideally if I did it all again I would probably try to tell the story more visually if that was even possible, and scrap the idea of having dialog at all.
First time sound making and music making:
I knew I wanted to use SFXR, but when I had the sounds in-game they sounded really out of place within the context of the game, I ended up wasting too much time into the night and just had to cut the sound effects short, and instead tried to cover up the flaws with a sandstorm-ish sound constantly playing and I filtered all of the sound effects previously made in SFXR through Audacity and gave them a more high def sound, some were redone with my mic but they didn’t turn out the best. I think I will leave the audio to people who know what they are doing, I am totally out of my element here…
Well thanks for reading guys, you can check out the game here:
Happy to answer anything I missed!