Now that the pressure for the jam is off, I can take things slowly. Improving explosions was never a priority, but now I can take my time making them beautiful. I tried to make screenshots but it’s much better in movement. So I’ll post the 2 versions of the game (Unity web player versions):
Old explosions vs New explosions
They can still use more work though.
And here is the entry
Team SquareWars Postmortem
What went right:
- We came up with an original gameplay mechanic that is simple, yet fun to play but also to translates well to pc and mobile interfaces.
- We honed on the core of the game almost immediately and stuck with it to the end.
- A quick sketch for the battle field gave us a good starting point of how the game would look.
- The initial was for to use a 2D top-down view for an old-school look. Halfway though, it became apparent that the look would be too simplistic, and was changed over to full 3D. This improved the look of the game and allowed us to add 3D specific features like the camera following the units which gives a better feel of the “action” in the battlefield.
- Unity proved a good tool for rapid game prototyping and production.
- Using a Google docs spreadsheet for managing tasks. Although we tried a bug tracker, a simple task list with multi-user editing is perfect for managing tasks as well as a brain dump for all good (and not so good) ideas and features for the game.
- We had lots of ideas about what the unit AI should do, and spend some time implementing infrastructure for supporting it. Luckily time constrains forced us to simplify, so most of the behaviours of units rely on a randomness, which produced surprisingly good results. In part it was also an experiment to see if players would be able to sense any intelligence behind the unit AI, something like a cheesy Turing test.
- The fact that we always planned to keep going on making this game a success even after LD was over. This helped us push back features that would have taken way too long for the 72 hour limit, otherwise we would have ran out of time. “Will the time spent implementing this be good enough for the increase in fun in the game compared to other features?”
What went wrong:
- The Visuals. Even with a favorable theme like “minimalism” the visual quality of the entries was higher expected. In the end graphics proved to be very important and we spent a fair amount of time improving the look of our game, but programmer art has its limits.
- Although on average turnaround in Unity is fast, there were many cases that things need to be done in a certain way.
This invariably means scouring the internet for a Unity-specific solution and generally wasting time on trivial things better spent working on the game itself.
- Source control. We used TortoiseHG and BitBucket for managing and sharing our assets and code. Although Mercurial is an excellent tool for source control, Unity’s reliance in part to binary scene assets which cannot be merged, file commits that generate unwanted branches, added with the complexity of the TortoiseHG UI become an occasional obstacle to our work-flow.
- Not enough time to actually implement all that we wanted.
- The UI is not good, it’s functional and does what it’s supposed to do, but I wish we had had more time to actually make it nicer.
- In the end, one of us had made much better explosions (the current ones aren’t that good) but after trying them on the web player it would break the game, units wouldn’t die. A bug that made us go back one revision because just eliminating nice things from the explosions wouldn’t fix the problem. Same thing happened with reflected lasers (they don’t reflect in the final LD version).
- Unity, although great in some aspects, holds too many nice features for the pro version, which is pretty expensive actually. It also means that what you do is tied to their engine and not really portable to anywhere else.
What went weird:
- Shouting “Square Wars” repeatedly at the laptop to record a sample for the title screen. In the end sample was not used. (Best for all concerned!)
Overall it was surprising with how much of a game can get done in just a few days. Focusing on the core mechanics was very important, as well
as resisting the urge to implement things the proper way. Prioritizing everything by the how much they will improve the game as it is at that point in time is also critical, as this will prevent you from wasting time developing stuff which may or may not be used in end.
But we are still going to work on it, and probably take it to the android market.
Here is the entry:
There was an earthquake before, kind of weak but long… I had forgotten how earthquakes felt in japan. Anyways, it’s 2:45 AM here, so the post-mortem will have to wait until later.
And when youtube is done (in about an hour from this post), there will be a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRxijnn9R38
The game is finished, at least the minimum requirements for it to be a game. Now is time for polishing to make a better user experience.
And tweak those units so they are more balanced. I can’t believe I’m losing against this stupid AI so often…
Edit: I forgot to post the link! http://bitly.com/SquareWars
Tomorrow will be another day. All is left is a game over screen, and then a lot of tweaking.
Unity Webplayer version can be played here: http://bitly.com/SquareWars
The game is actually pretty fun, and very simple, but after some tweaking, we hope to give it some depth.
It’s a very incomplete game, but it moves and ithas explosions and lasers.
You can play the unity web player version here:
Instructions (no help on the screen yet)
1. Place your factories: left click on the area you’re allowed to place them (overlapping not fixed yet).
2. The game starts after you place your 10 factories.
3. click on your factories to switch production. From red to blue, from blue to green, from green to yellow, and back to red (This is the “minimalism” part, along with the squares everywhere).
Notes: There is no winning yet, and there is no real unit balance yet.
There it is, the quality is very bad, I’ll make a better video next time.
I’m such a great designer, with explosions and everything
The other guy thinks we won’t make it. That’s because he’s doing the AI and he has seen how massive it can be. I think he just needs to make the units dumber, and if there are performance problems we will simply limit the number of units (for now, until it can be better optimized)
here is the title screen though, everything is being made as basic as possible to finish before the 72 hours, but if there’s enough time things will be improved. The idea is to keep developing the game after the Jam also anyways.
Yeah, see how I made “WARS” bigger than Square? and also made it line up with the “italics” effect from the “square” word. I’m such a great designer. /internet sarcasm
This is a bug that shouldn’t be happening at all. Units are supposed to go towards that yellow thing, but when they get there, “some” start to fly away slowly.
There are soldiers that move, but they have no target assigned yet so they stay at the factories… for now
Progress is going forward, I think that there will be a working version soon. And then it will be polishing and more polishing.
I imagine 90% of the games in this ludum dare will be full of squares, so ours (a team of 2 currently) is not going to be different. I’ll be working with a friend on a game where squares kill other squares and it’s your fault.
no screenshots yet. I hope the name is not taken yet /sarcasm
Finally a theme where programmer art is as good as real art
Also, my battlestation:
And by finally I mean… I started it in the ludum dare 23
Maybe some of you might remember it, so I’m posting the end result here:
it’s a very simple game but at least kind of addictive:
“The type of game you can play for 20 minutes without noticing” is the best review I got here, and that’s great because that’s what I was going for.
The web version is here:
But fortunately I kept it to a minimum
I’m not saying blender is bad, but it likes to disagree with me.
I have an idea in my head, but I don’t know if it’s too big for the time I have left. Anyways, that’s what Ludum Dare is for, right?
You can try the stupid robots here
they are stupids and don’t do much, the idea is to keep adding behaviors… and then you can unlock new ones and make new robots with those behaviors or something. This last part is not 100% clear, because I have a few ideas and I’ll see which one works best when the time comes
I slept about 4 hours I think, and I continued with this. Now there is a selection rectangle around the little robots when you select them.
This should show you robot statistics and let you add new behaviors, which is next in my “To Do”
- I recently watched that futurama episode about evolution.
- Can’t draw.
- Robots are easier to draw and animate.
- Already had the idea in mind for a long time.
- Why not?
So to make it more in theme with evolution, the player can add behaviors, and they will reproduce and have little robots and they will inherit their parents traits.
Well, that’s the initial idea though, I might end up doing something else entirely.
This was my first ludum dare, but I’ll definitely do it again next time.
comments like: “The kind of game you can play during 20minutes without noticing.”
are the kind of things you would put on the back of the box.
Thank you all!
By the way, the current record (among my friends and I) is a combo of 10
after only 20 points!