I just wrote up a postmortem for Cosmic Heist over on the Ludum Dare website, and I’m going to post it here, too. So, without further ado…
So, Cosmic Heist was my entry for the recent Ludum Dare compo. It was a major success by my reckoning, as it was completed in time. That aside, however, I would like to write a little about how things went.
What went right
I spent some time coming up with a couple of interesting(ish) ideas, but ended up throwing them out before settling on what became Cosmic Heist. When I designed the game that actually ended up being made, I actually cut out tons of things, and cut even more as I developed it. This is one area that I really want to improve (I, like many others, am horrible at the “cutting things until it’s right” part), and I feel I made some good progress during this compo. I was able to reject tons of ideas, some good, some bad, but all non-essential.
I had a decent personal code base to start from, and already knew all about the language, libraries, and tools I used beforehand, so I was able to jump right in.
I left some time for play-testing and bug fixing/tweaking near the end, but ended up not needing very much of it. The game was small and simple enough that it wasn’t too buggy by the end, and my wife and I tested it some as I worked on it anyway. However, I would definitely leave this buffer time again anyway, because it really kept things stress-free.
The menus ended up looking/working/sounding great, and I added a cool animated menu background near the end that I really liked. I’ll probably use some of the work that went into that stuff off into the future in other projects.
The music turned out to not suck as much as I thought it would. That was actually my highest-scoring area in the competition, and I am still somewhat unsure what to make of that. This was my first time really making any music, and I don’t really have experience playing/reading/etc. music either. But it doesn’t sound too bad, so I am counting that as a nice success.
The controls are really fluid, and are my favorite part of the whole thing by far. The way you control the ship is great, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I actually didn’t spend much time tweaking that, and by implementing everything I needed for it, I had a whole system for various enemy ship movements, too.
What went wrong
The player’s ship is a bit oddly shaped. This makes it hard to see where you are going. I didn’t realize this at all (duh! isn’t it obvious! the ship points in the direction I drew it to point!) until people began commenting on it. Certainly something that would need to be fixed.
Some people kept looking for the shoot button. I didn’t make it very obvious (at all) that there is no shooting in the game. You just pilot your ship, and enemy ships try to plow into you.
There were a couple of features I wanted to get in, but had to cut due to time constraints. I wanted enemy ships to shoot at you, and every level was supposed to start at a shipyard, from which you had just stolen a ship.
There might be a problem with the Linux build of the game, as one person mentioned they couldn’t get it to run. Unfortunately, it runs fine for me, but I only have two machines to test it on, and they are both almost identical in both hardware and software. If anyone has or can test the game on Linux and tell me if it a) explodes, b)doesn’t run at all, or c) runs fine, I would greatly appreciate it.
All in all, as I said, I was very pleased with the outcome, and I even got some people to play my game, so that was really exciting. I hadn’t ever participated or followed LD until now, so I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I honestly didn’t think anyone would even see my game! Thanks to everyone who rated mine. One thing that I regret is that I didn’t have time to rate any games myself. I did play a few, and they were all great. Next time, I want to set aside some time to rate a good number of games.