Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pauline Postmortem

Pauline PostmortemThe postmortem sounds a lot more morbid when your game is named after it’s protagonist… Pauline didn’t really die don’t worry everybody.

Before I go too much further!  Click HERE to play our game!  Yay I’m actually doing stuff it’s not all pretend!

But it is that time again.   The time when we reflect on the end of a prototype cycle and evaluate what went well and what we can improve on.  It’s been nice to take a step back and evaluate ourselves in what was hopefully an unbiased manner.

I’d like to start off with what went right in this prototype.  First and most important, we found the FUN in this game.  Throwing Luigi at barrels really was a fun mechanic and created some really nail biting moments for players.  Another strong point for us was that the team worked great together.  We had a strong idea that we were excited about and our team got along swimmingly throughout the development process.  Morale was high with everyone the entire time and you could tell that we all had pride in the thing we were making.

But our prototype was not without it’s drawbacks.  We were tasked with building in a language that we were unfamiliar with which set us back some time in getting up to speed on the engine.  We took the advice of some of our professors and looked for ways to speed up our coding by recycling code that was publicly available in order to rapidly make the prototype, but the code we used ended up being too buggy and we had to scrap it and start over about a week into the process.  We were plagued with illness and issues that were outside anyone’s control and had to learn how to work around these life issues that no one could do anything about.  We also had issues with balance in the final game, having a tough time finding the place where our game was neither too easy nor too hard.

I learned a lot with this prototype.  It was a lot quicker than our work on Starving Artist and it really taught me about scoping appropriately and having realistic expectations.  I think my inexperience in game development was probably my biggest drawback with this game as I just was never sure exactly what can be accomplished with engineering or art in a given time frame.  I did however try my best to keep everyone motivated and enthusiastic and I think my efforts there payed off.  The team ended the prototype in good spirits even after receiving some harsh but valid feedback from our professors.

This prototype truly was an embodiment of agile methodology.  It feels like it ended in the blink of an eye, and we all had to get better at working efficiently and with direction in order to deliver something on time.  It was a great experience and I wish I had more time with that team, but I’m excited to see what we can all move on to do in the future!

Poor unconscious Luigi...

Pauline

So that Donkey Kong game I mentioned last week is shaping up to be SO cool.  Our demo of the first prototype went alright, but was plagued by some bugs in the code we had taken to give us a headstart.  However, we had some great ideas for new the next iteration, and Bob and Roger really helped us give the ideas some shape.

Our game now asks the question, what if Luigi tried to rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong’s tower rather than Jumpman(Mario basically)?  Well, clearly he’d fail and pass out… he is Luigi after all.  So the new goal of our game is that Pauline has to carry Luigi to the exit, get him out the door before the building collapses.  The game mechanic is super cool.  When you’re not carrying Luigi you’ll be able to jump over barrels, move unimpeded and everything just like the original game.  But when you’ve got the useless plumber holding you down you can’t jump and you run slower.

Just… look at this art.  I’m so excited.

Christopher did a great job and I’m super happy with how the look of the game is shaping up.  Our Engineering team is doing awesome at getting rid of the bugs and making the game feel smooth, we will have almost a full week to play around with Luigi and throwing him around which will be super fun for the players!

We have to be done with this project next Thursday though!  Our Professors moved our deadline up so we don’t have to fret about a project over Fall break, but man that Thursday is coming quick.  Since this game is being made in flash it should be easy to upload online and make available for other people to play.  So check back here next week with news on how to ACTUALLY PLAY OUR GAME!