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Post-mortems

RubyWeekend #3 Game Creation Contest (June 26-28 2009). Theme: "A Tiny World"

Post-mortems

Postby jacius » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:58 am

I'd like to encourage everyone who made a game -- or even attempted it -- to write up a brief post-mortem. Post-mortems are a look back at the creation process, answering the broad question "So, how did it go?". Post-mortems are common in the professional game development industry, although those tend to be more substantial than ours will be, since they have months or years of memories to condense, instead of just one weekend.

Your post-mortem can be as long or short as you like. You can check out my post-mortem from RubyWeekend #1 for a simple example. (Sadly, the forums where the first two RubyWeekends were held have been lost; they had many more, better examples.)

I recommend writing about at least these four topics, but you can write more or less, if you want.

  1. What went right. (What parts of making your game went smoothly? What aspects of your game turned out well? What are you proud of?)
  2. What went wrong. (What difficulties and challenges did you face while making your game? What parts turned out poorly? What mistakes did you make?)
  3. What you learned. (Did you learn any new skills? Gain any wisdom or experience?)
  4. What you would do differently. (Sleep more/less? Spend more/less time coming up with an idea? Choose a more/less ambitious project?)
When writing, it's best to set aside your personal pride and ego, and write openly and honestly. We're not here to judge you or criticise your technique, we're here to learn from each other's mistakes and triumphs. Nobody learns anything from a post-mortem that says "Everything went great, my game is perfect and I am the best programmer ever, end of story."

So, take a deep breath and tell us... How did it go? :)
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Re: Post-mortems

Postby Garepjotr » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:58 am

I guess i'll be the first again since i don't have a life. Yay for holliday :P

1. What went right. (What parts of making your game went smoothly? What aspects of your game turned out well? What are you proud of?)
I like how my gameplay turned out. I still play it now and then. I made sure that the player could play the game again and try and improve, much like snake. Games with simple gameplay and a highscore tend to be very addicting.
I liked how the grafics turned out. It looks crappy but it could have been worse :P.

2. What went wrong. (What difficulties and challenges did you face while making your game? What parts turned out poorly? What mistakes did you make?)
My main mistake i think was to start hacking stuff into the game without thinking of design. This made adding/changing stuff later pretty difficult and tedious. I put pretty much unnessesary stuff in game.rb.
I guess next time i could also add sound effects. Like a little *chomp* sound when you eat a pellet.
Also next time i need a highscore system of some sort.

3. What you learned. (Did you learn any new skills? Gain any wisdom or experience?)
I leanded quite a bit i think. Atleast more then i expected. I thought it would have been just applying my knowledge, not learn in the mean time. I chose a really simple game so i had a bit of time to learn.
I learned about how to move entities with rotation/velocity. I learned about circle on circle collision (yeah i know easy but i'm not that maths-savy). I learned the basics of rubygoo :P. I learned about sound in rubygame.

4. What you would do differently. (Sleep more/less? Spend more/less time coming up with an idea? Choose a more/less ambitious project?)
Next time i may choose a bit more ambitious project if it falls inside a vakation again. I slept alot in the contest, like i always do :P, and i'm not sure if i would change this next time. Next time i WILL need a way to stay focussed and motvated for a longer time. I spend all of day 1 coding, but at the end of day 2 i was lacking alot. Day 3 i didn't even bother anymore.
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Droplet Post-Mortem

Postby jacius » Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:04 pm

What went right:
  • I’m really happy with how the plants grow and change and move. I think I got the rustling to be pretty convincing, almost like it’s using a physics engine, even though it’s just some sine waves.
  • I think the overall polish level is high, even if the “gameplay” is a bit limited.
  • I’m glad I settled on the concept I did. I love making stuff like this, and the competition was a great motivator.
What went wrong:
  • It took me the whole first day (8 hours) to come up with a concept. (This is typical for me, actually.)
  • I spent the next two days just making the plant system…
  • I didn’t manage to work in any real gameplay. It could probably be a pretty cool puzzle game if I invested some more time.
  • Nobody likes my toy. Boo hoo hoo! :cry: … Just kidding. :P
What I learned:
  • I learned a bit of how to use Gamebox. But I didn’t learn it very well or thoroughly, because I was in a hurry.
  • I discovered how cool Garage Band is, although I didn’t end up using it.
  • After the contest, I learned how to record video and audio in Linux using the aptly-named RecordMyDesktop, so that I could record a video of Droplet in action. I need to figure out how to convert it to a format that YouTube supports, though.
  • I learned how utterly irresponsible I can be, participating in a game contest on a whim when I had work deadlines coming up… but it all turned out well in the end, so that’s okay! I have yet again avoided needing to learn a life lesson about personal responsibility. \o/
What I would do differently:
  • Use a different system for drawing the plants. Probably image-based sprites that are scaled and rotated, instead of using drawing primitives. Then I could have gotten more visually interesting trees with less time-consuming coding.
  • Use OpenGL. I think this game could have benefited quite a bit from OpenGL (or even better, OpenVG). The graphics would have been a lot smoother, I could have had more separate branches per tree, and the code would have been simpler to write, even without an image-based sprite approach.
  • Probably not use Gamebox. I’m not saying Gamebox is bad, but it felt a bit restrictive and limited, and trying to learn a new framework while I was in a hurry wasn’t the best idea.
I've got a longer version of my post-mortem on my blog, which includes a long section about my experiences using Gamebox.
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