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Ludum Dare 30 — August 22nd-25th 2014 — Theme: Connected Worlds
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    Thoughts on Boxy the Boxcat (a post-mortem, if you will)

    Posted by (twitter: @IcarusTyler)
    September 13th, 2012 4:15 pm

    So let’s talk about the evolving mutant laser boxcat and her civilization-destroying offspring.

     

    What went AWESOMELY

    Music

    Fuck yeah people love the music. If I knew I’d be able to make such a well-received track I would’ve put more time into it than 1 hour right before the deadline :)

    The response to the music-track has been hugely positive, being described as “oddly fitting” and “catchy” and *moves head to rhythm*. After hearing it repeatedly I feel I should’ve switched the Cello for another instrument

    Humor

    I didn’t really have humor in mind per se, just a bunch of interesting/irrelevant stuff to collect for your home, which I presented in a matter-of-fact deadpan way. Apparently it worked :)

    Kittens

    Because everyone loves kittens. In the end I got up to 8 cats in total, missing the goal of “1000 Kittens” just short of 9992 cats.

    Pacing

    Works well. Note how the game starts immediately, there is no in-game intro. The title is maybe 2-3 seconds long, and changes with the music. After some exploring and learning the rules of the game-world you slowly evolve and learn how to undo said rules, culminating in the ability to blow up the environment, and ultimate wreak havoc on the human race.

    Cuteness

    The other general consensus is “it’s cute”. Sweet. I didn’t expect this at all.

    Reception

    Holy hell this is going well. As of writing Boxy the Boxcat is the 2nd most-played-game this LD, it got a rather big piece on IndieGameMag, and  lot of Let’s Plays. Here’s a fun one.

    Lasers

    This one went really well. The lasers look good, feel right, and the explosions have a good amount of WHOMPH to them. Note how the just says “You now have laser-eyes”, and the players naturally figured out how to blow up cars, and then the barrels. I was a bit afraid the latter wouldn’t be readable, but it worked perfectly.

    One plan for the game was to have an evolving home/base, where you would periodically return to during the game (think the Normandy, or the Bastion). The “nest” is the result of this, changing each time after the player has found something. The items are displayed, and the kittens-effects change from “Feed us!/We’re hungry!” to “NOM”.

    Sadly, players naturally didn’t return that often during gameplay. Still, it feels good :D

    Tophats

    These seem to become my trademark, it’s the third time they appear in a game (the others being Badass Locomotive and the spiritual predecessor Let’s Protest!)

     

    What went SLIGHTLY LESS AWESOMELY, perhaps just adequately

    Level-design

    The level lacks the usual long-time-polish and testing I put my level-design-through. It’s a bit too big, the hotspots are spaced too far away from each other in an order that isn’t occurring to the player naturally. The second half is also horribly laid out, with most players going straight for the other cat, and skipping the melon (which barely anyone found) (yes there’s a melon in this game. Can you find it?)

    Cat-speed

    One common complain was that the cat-speed was too slow. This is a common fallacy in feedback. The cat-speed was actually pretty well, if it would be faster the game would feel worse. It is the level AROUND the cat that is wrongly adapted to the speed, requiring the said bit of tightening.

    Pickups

    The “pickup-effect” is awesome. I feel I should’ve added a sound/fanfare.

    Timelapse

    Decided to set the picture-intervals to a shorter time, resulting in a rather long video. Go see my post on creating timelapses for a detailed breakdown.

    Title

    For some reason I thought “Boxy the Boxcat” was too short, and I wanted to an evolution-referencing subtitle. “Evolution Escapades” was my take on creating something akin to “Hooky Hijinks”, but in retrospect I feel it doesn’t fir at all the rather sombre game (before it admittedly goes off the rails).

    Conclusion!

    So how does it fare? Pretty well. Good score, currently 2nd most-played-game this LD, which is quite frankly amazing. I’ll need your help to reach the top!

    I also had a great time playing  435 other games so far. Go check out my picks for some nuggets.

     

    Also, I have an actual chance of ranking in the Kongregate-contest. I’d appreciate any quick 4-5 star votes, if you could spare them /puppyeyes/

    Go Play | LD-Page

    -Matthew

     

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    One Response to “Thoughts on Boxy the Boxcat (a post-mortem, if you will)”

    1. Cake&Code says:

      I’ll just be sure to play the game 125 times to meet the 1000 kittens quota ;)

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