Postmortem: Battleship Texas

Battleship Texas

I made this game for Ludum Dare 25. 48 hours is not a lot of time to make a game. So Battleship Texas is based on an old inside joke my friends and I had in high school. Its about a scenario in which Texas is not satisfied with just seceding from the United States and decides to secede from earth. Originally it was just that Texas sinks Mexico in order to break away from the US but I decided to ramp it up a bit. The game is all about just telling an absurd story and I didn’t focus a whole lot on gameplay.

What went right

     Made it funny. From the comments and talking to people that have played it I think I definitely accomplished my main goal with the game, making people laugh. I’m not sure that people outside of Texas will get some of the references like Big Tex and the whole secession movement but the comments say that people at least got a kick out of it.

Finished on time. I actually finished the game. That is definitely a win, even if its not a quality experience.

Learned a lot. I learned a ton about working with Stencyl while doing this project. I have used Stencyl a lot on other projects but it was always pretty sketchy. I learned a lot of ways to do things that work a lot better than the way I had been doing them and I am a lot more comfortable with the tool now.

What went wrong

Started over 3 times. I originally had another idea that wasn’t working out. I ended up scrapping it twice before starting on Battleship Texas. I think that being able to tell if a game idea is worth trying is something that will just come with experience. It didn’t keep me back too much though.

Made 3 games instead of 1. I was more focused on trying to tell a story than gameplay. I didn’t really go in with a plan for gameplay so it came out as kind of a mess. Also it meant that I spent most of my time just making assets because every screen required completely new ones.

Didn’t explain well how to play the game. Since every scene was different the player just had to figure out how to get through. I heard some complaints about that and it kept some people from playing the game.

Overall I had a good time doing it, I’m happy with what I got from the weekend. Its a hell of a lot better than the last LD game I made. I look forward to the next one!

 

Been neglecting to post lately

Alright its time to get back into this. Lately I have been working on a lot of projects. None of them have gotten anywhere near completion except for the last Ludum Dare game I made. I will post a postmortem of that one next.

I think I need a change in development strategy. I’m not sure how far I’m going to go with it but I joined a group that I think will help out a lot. One Game a Month is a twitter based group with the goal of making a game every month, and getting arbitrary rewards for it. Its about setting a development goal and trying to work on it with a supportive community and having more fun with game development. I really like the idea of the short development times and having a set schedule for releases.

There are plenty of reasons why I haven’t finished any of my big projects the past year, but I think one of them is just that I don’t have any deadlines or schedules and they end up just burning out. I plan to use the One Game a Month to refine my development skills, especially the planning part. I will try to work out a schedule that works for me, but right now I’m not sure what that will look like. I definitely intend to blog a lot more about it.

If you are reading expect to hear more later in the week about prototypes I am working on for it.