I just realized that I didn’t make a post-mortem! Well, I knew I hadn’t, but it’s been on my to-do list since the competition ended and there’s only about an hour left, so.. here goes!
I made a nice little arcade-inspired shmup called Neurochronic Alien Fighter: Evolution!, a game where you fight aliens as they fly towards you where you slowly become more powerful as you adapt to fighting them while they also adapt to fight better against you.
At least, that was the plan. Unfortunately, my implementation of the evolution mechanics (that had the aliens mate with one another while offscreen) made all the enemies go from multicolored creatures with strengths and weaknesses into gray generic blobs! And while that made intriguing social commentary, the gameplay definitely suffered. It reminded me of a quote by Jony Ive about the problem with focus groups: “They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products.”
With only a few hours left, I had to remove the evolution mechanics, and quickly write up a replacement: using power-ups that slowly evolve both you and the enemy over time into your most powerful versions. I sacrificed the better use of the theme for better gameplay, because I refuse to make a game that isn’t fun.
As you can probably guess, I put most of my effort tweaking the game mechanics. The game turned out very fun and addicting!
A huge mistake that I made in this competition was essentially attempting to make my game *and* learn a game engine at the same time. I had played around with pygame several months ago, and Python is a fast language to code scripts in, so I figured it would be a perfect choice for LD! In reality, it turned out to take up around a few hours total of my time to figure things out, which otherwise would not be a problem, but with only 48 hours to work with, was a big mistake.
Another downside with the engine was that I found out that pygame doesn’t support using the GPU, so even something as simple as scrolling backgrounds is difficult for it. I’ve been told I should use pyglet as a replacement library, but I haven’t looked into it yet. I will appreciate comments on here/twitter if anyone has any information about this.
Overall, my first LD was an amazing experience and I’ll definitely make an attempt to join in more often!