Strumb Postmortem

Its only been over a year since I released it. Looking back I said I would do a postmortem so here it goes.


This has been my most experimental game by far. Strumb was meant to be a really relaxing, almost meditative game. I designed it to be a pretty easy game, that generates the music from the gameplay. The score keeps things a little interesting and there are actually some interesting choices to make in the game.

In strumb the player runs across the strings of a guitar, picking up notes and avoiding the fingers that slide down the strings.

The scoring is all about keeping up a combo. You increase your score multiplier by getting 4 notes in a row, picking up a different note than the one you have will fill up your combo meter, and the same note will add 1/3rd to it. The combo meter is constantly draining so you have to keep picking up notes to keep your multiplier up. Once you collect enough notes the solo bar will fill up. You can use a solo to make your combo meter stay full for a certain amount of time. If your meter is about to drop and there are no notes on screen, a solo can save you from losing your multiplier.

Every beat all the strings on the guitar that have a finger or a player on them are strummed.  The note that plays when the strings are strummed is based on what chord is active. So whenever the strings are strummed it plays the notes of the chord, on whatever strings have things on them. If a solo is being played, it starts playing notes on only the string that the player is on. I really like the way that it turned out but not everyone felt the same.

What went right

  • It got finished in a reasonable amount of time. This was probably my best job at starting and finishing a project on time and feeling good about the finished project.
  • Really stable. I don’t know of any bugs in the game at all. There is a “feature” that was a bug, some of the fingers scroll across the screen a lot faster than others, and thats because they are double spawning, but I liked the result so I left it in.
  • I really enjoy the game, and I think I achieved all of my development goals with it. I finished the game on time. It was designed to be a meditative relaxing game and for me at least, it really works for that.

What went wrong

  • I don’t know that I explained the mechanics enough. I feel like the system works well, but it could have used at least a tutorial card or something showing the interactions.
  • People didn’t really like it. I hate to be the guy that says “they just don’t get it”, so I’ll just say that the game is not for everyone. Maybe it didn’t reach its audience on newgrounds, or its just not a very appealing game to most people. There are a few people that really enjoy it like I do, but they aren’t the ones leaving comments. One person said that the sound hurt her dog, I don’t know what that’s about but I felt bad.

I keep saying this, but I’d like to get back to making games like this. Keeping the scope low, making a solid system, and having some time left to polish. Jam games have done well for me but they always end up being so messy. This was one of the last really clean games that I made.