This was my first foray into the LD compo and my first postmortem, so here goes…
What went right:
I spent about 2 hours thinking about the theme and how I could marry the theme to the game mechanics before I did any asset development. I did not get started until around noon on Saturday. Even then, instead of diving right into code or asset creation, I just sat on my back porch for several hours and thought about the theme. This allowed me to focus on what mechanic I wanted my game to have and how it would be influenced by/reenforce the theme.
I spent the majority of the first day on the mechanic. I did not worry about art assets, music, sound or quality code during this time. Instead I just played around with the player movement and the mechanic of shrinking/growing based on what the player was doing. Once I had the main mechanic nailed down, it was pretty easy to knock out levels utilizing it.
I set a clear scope that was very manageable. I really wanted to be able to work on my game casually, and spend time tweaking whatever I felt needed work. So I really tried to set a goal and scope that I felt was easily achievable. It turned out for the most part I was correct. This led to a fun weekend with ample time for error correction (aside the physics problems below).
What went wrong:
NO PLAYTESTING! and therefore floaty physics. I don’t have much experience with platformers. The physics and movement of the player felt pretty smooth to me, but of course I was developing it. I did not have anyone play the game until about 3 hours before the deadline. It was readily apparent when they played that my physics for the player were floaty and slippery. Unfortunately, because I did not have anyone play it beforehand, it left me little time to fix the issues.
When the rules say you must create your own assets, YOU MUST CREATE YOUR OWN ASSETS! This was just a stupid oversight from me. For some reason I did not think about the music in the game on the same level as art and code. So Saturday evening I picked out a nice song online that was free to use through the creative commons license. Then, as I was sitting in front of my computer on Sunday, it dawned on me that I had to create my own music. I have no music making tools, and no knowledge on how to make game music. Luckily I recorded myself whistling in Audacity and tweaked it enough to make it work. Had my game not had a minimalist style, I would have been less fortunate.
It is unclear for the player what to do. Which can be equated to poor level design. This goes back to playtesting, but in 48 hours there is not a lot of time. I should be more sensitive to a new players perspective, and build levels in such a way as to lead them where they need to go. The game should be challenging by design, not by developer oversight.
Thanks for reading. I had a great time. Here is a link to the game: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=13158