Hello, fellow jammers!
we’ve had a bunch of family appointments lately, but finally managed to write a proper post mortem! This time, we experimented with procedural level generation – this is at the core of Singularity’s design and was where we spent the most time during that crazy weekend of sleep deprivation and an unhealthy peanut based diet. We wrote a post in our blog explaining in details how the procedural level generator works, take a look!
In our postmortem we do talk a little about how we spent our time, but the main focus is on what we learned about procedural level generation. But there are dev screenshots too, for we love those things, don’t we?
Yep, that awful head was the avatar in our first tests! For the close observers, you’ll notice that the bizarre archer enemy that starts spawning at about Difficulty 5 is actually the silhouette of a placeholder enemy that we didn’t have time to replace!
Anyway, several hours putting background graphics together and programming particles everywhere, the game got a substantial visual overhaul mostly during the last day. Here’s another screenshot of how it looked by the end of the day:
So, to cut to the chase:
*The level generation technology works well, and is fun to create and to play!
*The brainless gameplay summed with infinite levels gave the game a good replay factor, despite its very limited development time.
*The open, non-content-based design enables us to expand the game more easily, if we want.
*The ease to test game balancing and incorporate new mechanics in the middle of real levels makes it much easier to balance and prototype new ideas. A new jump height can be tested in an infinite amount of situations, a new kind of cannon can be easily tested in all sorts of level topographies and in the middle of other obstacles.
What could have been different
*Specifically in the context of Ludum Dare, most players don’t play the same game more than once, due to the need of playing many other games. The levels being different at each playthrough isn’t something that makes a difference for those particular players.
*The enormous amount of time spent with technology and playtest left us with a short time for aesthetic polishing. The silhouette based graphics is interesting and easy to create, but we’d need more particles, shaders and color balancing to reach the level of quality that we originally aimed for.
*The possibility that the level generator could create impassable levels led us to create ‘conservative’ level chunks and less randomization than we’d like.
Take a look in our blog to see how the level generator works, to know more about us, or our main project The Journey of Eko, for which both Singularity and Tiny Shard are some sort of prototype. Or just find us in Twitter (@pixel_cows) and say hello!
And for you hardcore platformer fans who missed it, you can get Singularity HERE!
This is our second time in Ludum Dare, and once again it was a lot of fun! It is a true honor to be part of this great community. You guys ROCK!
Cheers from Brazil
Gabriel and JP