Postmortem: Sat-E

This is my postmortem for my Ludum Dare 22 entry, Sat-E. You can find the timelapse over here.

The Good


I was really motivated for this dare and it showed in the game and outside it. It’s super hard to make a game in only 48 hours but this time it went pretty well. My previous attempts went okay, but there were always something lacking. This time the game feels a little bit more finished so I’m going in the right direction.

After the game the programming motivation continued and with it I’ve been improving my small fast prototyping framework I use when making games. I got a lot of ideas on improvements during the weekend so that’s great.

The feedback

I was moderately happy with how the game turned out, it didn’t contain everything I had envisioned after all, but I got a ton of positive feedback anyway which is wonderful! It seems like some thinks that my game is good and there’s nothing better for your game making confidence than a bunch of flattering words. I’m even considering developing the game more, maybe spending a couple of days here and there on it during a couple of months when I have the time?

I learned a lot!

The best way to learn something is just to do and it’s still true. I’ve found a bunch of ways to improve and shorten my code, I’ve made an “infinite” space constructed by individual chunks and that game physics != real physics. Awesome.

Game design is a pretty fascinating creature. Sometimes you give it your best but the resulting game isn’t funny, other times you think your game is shit but then you get comments on your “amazing” game! This time I was certain the game was crap, a neat idea wrapped behind a boring gameplay but turns out it maybe wasn’t that boring after all?

I got this comment:
“Also the fact that when that happened the game didn’t simply reset, I lost my money but not my items, literally stopped me from rage quitting. Bravo”

My thougts? Wait that’s a bug! Hmm…

My girlfriend

Of course as I live together with someone it’s quite hard to devote an entire weekend, plus the extra time before and after, with my computer. Veronica handled it wonderfully well and she was very supportive which means a lot to me and it helped a ton.

The Bad

The music

There’s no music but I had grand plans for making music for the first time ever! It failed hard though. Which brings me to the next point…

Not familiar with the tools

I used my own framework for the game, which is fine, but my last game with it was in May 2011! Which is a looong time ago. I was a bit (a lot) out of practice with this whole pixel arts thing. And of course I had never used LMMS to make music and that didn’t happen. I was short of time and it was too big of a deal to start it with the last minute.

Not enough time

Even though I had the whole weekend planned for the dare and I skipped practice on Sunday I was still short on time. I’m not really sure why though. I made a pretty simple game, not a lot of art and I generated sound with bfxr which took no time at all… The reasons really must be:

  1. Not enough practice.
  2. Unfamiliarity with the tools. Correlates closely to #1.
  3. I’m bad and LD is hard.

When I see all these amazing games I’m reminded on how much better other game makers are. I need more practice and I need to make more games. I should enter the next dare, enter the experimental gameplay project and just make more games.

And let’s face it: Making a game in 48 hours is frickin hard.

The Ugly

The art

Oh god… I suck at making art. Let’s just leave it at that.

The code

There’s a lot of bad and wrong in there, it works but it’s not pretty. In fact, it’s ugly.

The gameplay

This is a tricky one. I thought about placing this in the bad section as I didn’t find the game very pleasing at all. The beginning was too slow, the ending too long and there wasn’t enough incentive to continue flying through endless space I thought. But I got a lot of positive comments and reactions which is wonderful! I don’t fully understand why yet so I’m tagging the gameplay as ugly. After all the gameplay wasn’t like in my dream…

Ending thoughts

Before entering the competition I’m always nervous but high spirited. That feeling is always crushed during the weekend and when I finally get the game done and uploaded I think it’s the worst game ever. Luckily I’m greeted with positive feedback and that was the case this time again. Maybe they are okay, not super of course, but simply okay.

This time the dare came at a time where I felt I haven’t done anything meaningful for a long time, it’s just school, little programming and no game making. Now after my spirits are high and I can face a new year with many more games to come!

Until next time, cheers!