Unsealed: The Postmortem

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while, but with the 4 dozen reviews I wrote, I ended up postponing it. The time has served to clear up my mind a bit and get some feedback on the game though.

This game’s plan’s changed. A lot. Throughout development, I constantly changed what I wanted to do with the game. For starters, I originally wanted to use Slick as the Game Library, and spent all of June practicing and reading documentation about it. I was convinced by ‘davexunit’ to use LibGDX instead, and on the second day of the contest, I made the decision to switch engines and risk not delivering anything.

I had never even heard of LibGDX before, and I approached it at a bad time, with all the “refucktoring” going around the project, using nightlies meant constantly breaking your code in new and unexpected ways, and in turn, made documentation and samples be obsolete. Despite this, I’m quite glad I did switch to LibGDX, and it’s a decision I won’t regret.

A quick glimpse of the planned maps with quests proposed by lastplacer

As for the game… I originally envisioned an RPG. The kind where you walk around, talk with people, go on quests and level up through random battles. The Battle Engine, however, took all of my time, and I didn’t have time to work on a walk-on-maps engine with collisions… but I had fallback plans. Plan B was to have the character move around automatically, just like it happens on the current version. Plan C was to have a single, static PNG as a background and have endless text on it.

What I ended up doing wasn’t my original goal, but I’m still slightly pleased by it. I think I spent so much time with the “Scene Director” which moves around the sprites… I could’ve instead done the walk+collision system instead, and if I could go back in time, I would’ve spent the time on the collisions system instead.

As for the Battle System… I’ve written about this before, but I’ve always wanted to make a “MegaMan: Battle Network Online” game, without Capcom’s forgotten Trademarks, but I’ve never felt comfortable with making a 1:1 copy of MMBN’s system. With the help of lastplacer, Cookiez, my brother Alan, and Phileas Fogg we brainstormed the current battle system: Still heavily inspired by MegaMan: BN, but tweaked enough to satisfy my inner “do not make a clone” self.

For the story? I honestly didn’t have any plans thought out for the story. I knew I wanted to make it a “Distro Wars”, with parodies of Linux Distros fighting one another, but ended up making a “Linux vs Apple” parody. It probably wasn”t obvious but “Lidia Terious” is sort of a female “Linus Torvalds”, Archimides the Penguin / Guardian was named after Arch, the Distro, and the Townsfolk of New Lion are named after fellow Fedora contributors.

Xios, on the other hand, was a mix between “iOS” and “OSX”, and the enemy was a big Lion-Tree because Apple likes cats as codenames, and the area was surrounded by apple trees. Lastplacer took it a step beyond my imagination, and made the actual area where the fight takes place look like an Apple Logo. (Bite me, Apple!)

This will sound totally hipster, but note that I did the whole “Good vs Apple” thing before Samsung vs Apple went mainstream

Finally, I plan to continue working on the game. First, concentrating on optimizing the Battle Engine, which was so rushed that it was very unoptimized. I plan to make the “Battle Arena” mode into a full fledged game mode, similar to Smash Bros’ Single Player Mode, with stages. Once that’s done, I’ll work on Multiplayer, then continue working on the story mode and finish what I had originally thought of.

I’ve also been working on an Android version, which I haven’t published fearing a ton of 1/2-star ratings due to its current status. Although it’s very playable on my Galaxy Nexus, Nexus One and on the Galaxy S2, I noticed performance bugs on older devices, and the game definitely needs a lot more polish.

And last but not least, I’d like to throw a Special Thanks to all the people that made this contest happen, from Open Game Art, from the Free Software Foundation, from Creative Commons and from Mozilla, as well as to my family, to Laura, lastplacer, Cookiez, Wyverii who worked hard and helped me with the game, to Daneeklu who did the awesome magic effects used in the game for the competition, and to other LPC competitors as well, and to the LibGDX community without which I probably would still be staring at a broken Menu. Thanks a ton, everyone.

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Posted in Free Software, Free Software Games, Gaming, Unsealed

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September 2012
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