Lighthouse Keeper Postmortem: things learned & late bugs
This Ludum Dare was intense. I learned many things (well, not an extreme amount of things, this is not my first game jam, but still).
- The spiky ball doesn't show up. You can only see it on the screenshots (and if you launch the Godot project from Github).
- The score is broken. It only goes up thanks to the rare powerups dropped by enemies. Same thing, on screenshots you can see all the +100, +2000, etc. that are not showing up in the released compo version.
Not bugs but still criticized:
- Items are too rare. Maybe this lack of reward is amplified because of the broken score.
- The beginning can be easy/boring. This is the case for many of my other games.
- Lighthouse special attack is a lot of fun but the player can't play with it too much.
- The lighthouse can get in the way.
And finally, good points:
- I've got excellent feedback on the music. This is thanks to my previous jam games, where in Snail Ragnarök I had a similar music for level 2, and in True Light I set up a cutscene in sync with the music. So this was very helpful.
- Hand-drawn graphics. This starts being my signature in game jams.
- The storytelling. I was worried I did a bit too much of it for such a small game, but people were happy about it.
- The "lighthouse bullet enhancement" mechanic.
To be fair, at the beginning of game development, when you shot in the lighthouse, it restored a little health. You could spam healing just fast enough to counter the enemy waves. Next I removed this effect. The second morning I added a boost on the bullet (current mechanic). After first release I made the lighthouse a little hurt to prevent attack spam & camping behind it.
Here is a fun thing about game ideas.
Hours before theme announcement, I made up a quick list of game ideas per theme, based on an advice I saw on a post. I quickly put about two ideas per theme. Except for Ruins/Fragile/Decay/Keep it alive, where I combined them into 4 game ideas. I didn't think one of those themes could make it. My favorite was "Outdated Technology".
The closest game idea to "Keep it Alive" I noted was "Astronaut on the terminator of the moon. Solar-dependent equipment. You must walk". It would be a platformer where you needed to stay in the light.
Next I woke up early in the morning (4-5 hours after theme announcement), and this idea was dropped. I brainstormed a few minutes, plugged in my graphics tablet, and drew a lighthouse (this is still the final sprite, except for some added shading). Everything else comes from this.
The good thing with rough hand-drawn art style is that you don't have to distinguish final graphics from placeholder ones. As long as you have a graphics tablet (or a good mouse, which I had for Snail Ragnarök).
So that's it for the fun thing about game ideas.
The thank-you stuff:
- I'd like to thank the 30-something testers for rating my game, and the 20-something compo games I've played & rated so far. If your game is not on the web or Linux I will not play it.
- Thanks a lot to Godot Engine developers. That's so easy to add juice, animations and effects to a Godot game it almost feels like cheating.
- Thank you for playing this game or just reading this!
- Very helpful stuff also includes the AAP-MajestyXVII palette. You can find it on Lospec. I didn't use the greens in game. I slightly tweaked it because I like to work with 12-bit colors (easier to remember 3 hexadecimal digits than 6).
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