TOJam 12 - Retrospective Day 3


HI EVERYBODY, IT'S DAN!

This devlog is very late due to the annual juggernaught that is Anime North. I've now officially lost count of how many years I've been attending the convention at this point. I think this year was my tenth and the third AN for my son, who's three years old. I got to watch good anime, bad anime, mind numbingly terrible anime (Chargeman Ken is coming to DVD soon, it's like the Plan 9 From Outer Space of anime and you should buy it) and managed to pick up a boxed set of Nichijou after waiting forever for it to be licensed again.

Anyway, enough about my non-gamedev diversions. Let's dive into the creation of Kill Yourself once again.

DAWN OF THE FINAL DAY

Here's what we had planned to do for Day 3. Honestly, I don't recall looking at the schedule very much during day 3.


It's all hands on deck to get everything together before the deadline. I'm redoing the death animation and Tofski is fixing bugs and finishing up he level design.

Of all the items in our todo list the only one we flat out didn't do was the "Level intro zooom [sic]." I wanted to have a nice zoom out from the GOAT showing the whole level followed by zooming in on the player. This was meant as another way of providing some affordance to the game. Translated from game designer speak: we wanted to give the player an idea of what they might need to do to start solving the puzzle. We ended up cutting this feature for time since none of the finished levels were complex enough to need it.

If you remember the Day 2 retrospective I mentioned that I finished all but one interactive element of the game. That piece was the crusher. The crusher does exactly what it says on the tin. When it's activated, by a push button, it crushes whatever is in its way. It stays extended until the button is released. Anything crushed is utterly annihilated. Tofski implemented the crusher when he wasn't working on level creation, music, audio integration, bug fixes and such. While it worked well in the level it was tested in it did not work properly in subsequent levels that used it.

When designing anything that has behavior that's set up automatically it's extremely useful to have some kind of preview of that behavior in the editor. Having the preview means you can verify that the controlling code does what it's supposed to and, when you're designing the level, you can verify that what you're setting up will look decent when animating. The crusher preview works by drawing a cube at its final extension point making it very easy to tell if the crusher will move to where it needs to be.

The most frustrating bug during Day 3 was one which only happened when getting to a level with a laser by beating a previous level. Sometimes, but not always, the laser would stop significantly short of where it should end. This took a couple hours to work out. The ultimate cause was that the Start event on the laser component in Unity was getting called before the level was properly set up. The laser thought some object, which hadn't been set up yet, was blocking it. Unfortunately fixing this bug introduced another bug which hasn't been fixed yet.

THE AFTERNOON

The afternoon was a mad rush to fix as many bugs as possible and to get all of Eli's environment art into the game. This took a surprising amount of time but the end result was decent.

Remember those whiteboxing images from Day 1. Here's the full evolution of the same levels, from sketches, to final appearance.

THE EVENING

NO WORK! ALL PLAY! The drop dead deadline for the jam is 6:00PM. We finished to our satisfaction with about 10 minutes to spare. While the product was not ready to upload to itch.io it was ready for showcasing.

My favorite moment was when a kid from a game making family, Global Defense Force, tried the game. He loved it and had a grand time just piling corpses miles high. My son also enjoyed watching the game though at three years old he didn't quite understand how to play it.

These images were taken from the latest version of Kill Yourself. The original jam version had a worse conveyor animation and a shallower fire pit.

THE AFTERMATH

After the jam I needed to do some extra work to get Kill Yourself into good enough shape to upload. Most of this was small bug fix work. Trying to build a downloadable copy of the game failed even though the game ran fine. When this happens it usually means there's a stray reference to the UnityEditor namespace inside gameplay code. That's exactly what the problem turned out to be in this case.

I also added a quick and dirty ending to the game, fixed some glitchy transition animations, fixed a bug which didn't affect players but made my and Tofski's lives more difficult, made some levels less annoying, made some sound effects quieter and a bunch of other little things.

Stay tuned for the final(?) devlog on Kill Yourself next week which will have some commentary on what Tofski and I think went well, and what we think we could improve on.

Get Kill Yourself - TOJam12

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