April 22, 2020

Protect Thy Cargo - A Post Mortem

"Enough of the negative stuff though, I'm very happy that my creative spark is back and that I'm doing game development once again." - Luke 2020

Protect Thy Cargo - A Post Mortem

This was my first completed game jam in about 2 years and the first time touching game development in about a month. So I was slightly rusty, but I think overall it actually went pretty well, there were obviously so issues that came up mainly around the design and having the lack of one and the lack of audio within the game itself.

What went right?

The core game:

The first thing I'd want to touch on is the core game, once I'd gotten a solid design in my head the core of the game mechanics came together pretty quickly in comparison my previous game jam projects.

The code behind the game:

The main thing that probably helped the core game coming together quickly was mainly how I thought about how things should be split out, this was mainly between the management systems and the entities.

Splitting out all of this sort of helped with determining what called what but that could have been better.

The ship graphics:

Considering that artwork is far from my strongest point I felt that the art for this project (after I got rid of the developer art) for the ships came out pretty well and turned out better than what I was initially aiming for.

I thought this turned out pretty well.

Breaks and the hours worked:

Something I've always kept in mind since the times I first did game jams is the hours I work and doing things like taking breaks.

What could have gone better?

Having a more solid vision:

When I went into this I wasn't intending to make a space-themed game at all, let alone one with the mechanics that I used. Initially, I was going to do a game where you had a bonsai tree and needed to keep it growing/alive throughout the years, but considering this was my first time doing game development in a month or so I wasn't that confident in doing 3D stuff as well as the coding.

Even when I settled on the new idea, I didn't have a solid vision of what I wanted and it shows up pretty easily in the enemies. I could have had some more order to them, more styles in the way the bullets were fired and just made them a bit snappier.

Having an actual design:

This ties a bit more into the above, but I didn't have a solid design once I'd settled on the idea. I feel that if I'd had a physical design I wouldn't have had so many issues with certain aspects of how the game would have played.

I feel like I would have been able to identify some of the more obvious game-play issues, especially around the enemies. As they are pretty slow.

Being able to add in some more polish:

I only really got to add in the final ship designs and some particle effects sorted. It would have been nice to make this a bit more polished, even though it is a prototype.

What about that conclusion?

Things certainly could have gone much better that's for sure, but a lot of it comes down to not having a solid design neither on paper nor in my head. That coupled with diving straight back into game development with little buildup.

Enough of the negative stuff though, I'm very happy that my creative spark is back and that I'm doing game development once again. In the not to distant future I might take the time to do a few more game jams outside of Ludum Dare and build up my prototypes.

Have a whirl and tell me what you think over at https://lparkermg.itch.io/protect-thy-cargo