Post mortem-The Adaptor

The Adaptor(Ludum Dare): http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2011/11/06/the-adaptor/

The Adaptor(Kongregate): http://www.kongregate.com/games/caladan21ph/the-adaptor

The Adaptor is my entry to the October 2011 mini Ludum Dare(www.ludumdare.com) with the theme of adaptation. The game is a short platformer which consists of just five levels. In making  the game, I did what I usually do to brainstorm ideas and that is make a mind map while timing myself(3-5 minutes is enough). I get my best ideas( not just for games) right after I wake up so I always take the opportunity to do so.

The initial idea for this game was called “Panic” because that  the experience I wanted for the players was that emotion. I wanted the player to fumble around the keyboard while avoiding enemies and gathering keys to advance to the next level. So the system for the first game was that the controls would change randomly every few seconds and the player needed to adapt quickly to the new controls.  Well, I just read Raph Koster’s “A Theory of Fun for Game Design” and I wanted to apply his theory so I decided to think a little bit more. According to Raph Koster(to my best understanding) games are inherently learning tools which teach us basic survival skills. That is why we tend to outgrow games because we’ve already learned everything from them as children. So I decided to change the game mechanics.

Instead of making the random change in controls I decided to give the player an indicator when the controls will change. So I made the controls linked to the color of the floor the player is currently stepping on. Games being learning tools and such, I wanted the player to get used to the controls through play and gain some measure of ambidexterity(learn survival skills!hehe) afterwards.

At the back of my head, I was thinking of games like Dance Dance Revolution in which the player reacted to  visual stimuli and thought the game was something like that. While playing I noticed that the character looked like he was dancing while gliding across the screen so I chose the music based on this.

The crappy graphics I made myself since I wanted to practice pixel art and Chris De Leon from Hobby Game Development advised beginning game developers to at least learn some basic art skills so they don’t have to wait for the artists before making their prototypes. Its also more rewarding that way I think.

While making the game I had a lot of setbacks as predicted since it was my first time making a platformer. I just started using the Flixel framework and was learning Actionscript.  I had problems with the level transition, and I haven’t learned how to put animated sprites in the map using the DAME editor so I just hard coded the player, and exit positions. Before the end of the mini Ludum Dare I restarted my code two or three times I think whenever it got messy. So I started writing down the classes in my game on paper, and created a rough flow chart so that I would not get confused.

Programming is hard especially for someone like me with no IT background. Good thing I learned a few tricks while attending the local IGDA meet up. I learned that when making a game the approach is to create the minimum gameplay first. There were so many times while making this game that I was tempted to add stuff the game really didn’t need and I kept saying to myself “Just put the guy on the door”.

It was a great experience to finish a game even though its just a small one.

Improvements: Going to add in game tutorials, and more levels. A lot of improvement needed actually.

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