Minima: Postmortem

So I made a game. I think it’s pretty good. Definitely the best game I’ve made solo. I wanted to not just finish, but to created something very polished. For the most part, I succeeded.

Play it now!

Let me walk you through my process. Friday I discover the core mechanic of my game. Saturday I perfected the core mechanic. Sunday was for polishing and play testing.

I was sitting at my desk right at the start of the competition. I needed to know the theme for my game, only LudumDare.com was having problems. Probably due to 3,000+ people all hitting the refresh button as fast as they could. Including me. So I download Mirc and went to #ludumdare. Fortunately, word had spread there that the theme was Minimalism. Crap, I thought. I had no idea what to do for minimalism. So I fired up Unity with a new projected called “Minima” and stared at this:

v1

V1 was a physics puzzle game where the moving pieces would paint on the background. I didn’t really like the aesthetics and it sucked, so I scrapped it.
v2

For V2, I wondered if exploring the world of Mondrain would be interesting, so I quickly hacked up a random maze generator:
v3

I tweaked it a bit so that instead of generating a static square, the world would be created as the user moved through it. v4

What went right

  • Unity3D. It’s so easy. Minima is only about 1700 lines of code. I got to spend a lot of time tweaking game play instead of fighting with complex code. Also I can target Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms for free! I even built it on iOS fairly easily.
  • The theme. I can’t draw. The theme let me stick with boxes and make them interesting.
  • Pentatonic scale. I can’t compose music. Procedural music from walking around worked out great. Next time I would like to experiment with other scales or fifths.
  • Playtesting. I got some great initial feedback Sunday morning and was able to tweak it.
  • Talking blue cube. I was under about making the cube talk. Making it not talk seemed to fit the theme better, but making it talk increases player motivation. Everyone really hates Blue, so I think leaving it talking was the best call.

What sucked

  • The ending. I underestimated how much people need to know when to stop playing. I thought the ending was clever, but it’s only clever if you’re me.
  • Analytics. I really wish I had put analytics in the game so I could know how far people go. Next time it will be a core feature.
  • Unity 3D. It’s great, but I got reports of failures on the web build. I had no way of debugging it. Eventually I figured out what the problem was when I ported it to iOS.
  • Web hosting. I started the weekend with www.screaminggoose.com being broken. I’m all fixed, but next time I’ll have my web hosting fixed up before hand.

So, it was awesome. Thank you everyone that played my game!