01/11/2012 – ThreeThingGame Post-Mortem

Right, so where do I begin with this?

Well I should note that I did not do much programming during the event. My team-mates were much better than me at understanding and using the software. I did help put up the assets and make sure that the gameplay stayed close to our ideas.

At 11am on Saturday, I turned up to the lab and set my stuff down and waited for my team-mates. Watched some of the Double-Fine Kickstarter Documentary while I waited. When they got there some time later, we set up Visual Studio and set up XNA, also writing up the pseudo-code. You can see pictures of our work station in the previous blog.

At around 11.30am, we got a lecture that officially started the event. From here on out, I’ll instead post the time spent in hours instead of the actual time. It was a long night, it’s hard for me to remember these things.

At about an hour-and-a-half later, Rob Miles gave a lecture on developing in XNA, especially in regards to Windows Phone development, and pointed out specific pieces of code that we should use to get certain ideas to work. He also uploaded the code for the teams to use. The thing was, the solutions he put up did not actually load properly into Visual Studio, so we had to base it on a previous piece of code he had given out. This was probably a bad idea, man.

So at around 4 hours into it, we lost our code after trying to save the solution. Luckily, 10 minutes later we managed to recover it. We wouldn’t have lost much, the characters and items were not implemented yet and the code would not even compile properly.

At the 7 hour mark, our code was incredibly butchered in comparison to rob Miles’ original code, and our character was still not moving. We realised that what Rob originally wrote wasn’t going to work for us; our game operated in a completely different way, we did not understand many of the coding practices that he was using. It was very confusing at this point in time.

At around 9 hours, we got pizza. A lot of pizza. Like, 45 boxes worth of pizza. 30 minutes later, we got the main character (The Spider) animated, as well as the “Power Bar”. the two were actually interlocked, so when the Power Bar animated so did the Spider. Which was really cool to look out, until you realised that the Spider couldn’t actually move. Of course, that was fixed around the 10 hours mark. It wasn’t a particularly good-looking movement path, but it worked. Essentially just translated the Power Bar progress to move the Spider across the screen a given amount, and then drop down and hopefully hit the coin pick-up. Still better than nothing I guess.

At around 12 hours and 30 minutes, the “Dragons” were added into the game. This was much easier to implement, they flew across the screen  and would gradually speed up as the player progressed in level. There was a odd glitch where the sprite was put in such a way that is was flying backwards and upside-down. We made a joke in reference to one of Skyrim’s patches that caused a similar bug.

At around 13-and-a-half hours, the game was finally playable. At this point we were making necessary adjustments to the gameplay, and were thinking about multiple levels. That ultimately never happened due to time limitations.

At 20 hours we started trying to put in the sounds. Unfortunately, Dr. Miles did not explain the code for inputting the sound files. It took us another hour before one of my team-mates came back from his break and fixed the issue in a few minutes.

At the 22 hour mark, we made the final alterations to some of the graphical elements, made a proper “Game Over” and “Welcome” screens, and finally “Finished” the game. Technically speaking, we realised we ran out of time and knew that we couldn’t implement all of what we wanted, so we made it as “Playable” as possible, despite the fact that the overall gameplay was not all that engaging.

Well, we did not win, but that doesn’t matter. Even though making the game was frustrating in parts, the general vibe of the event was great. People having Nerf fights, the free pizza, the annoying assholes behind us using the Kinect to make their game with horrific and extremely irritating music. Awesome. Totally doing it next year, but I’ll probably learn XNA more before then, and get some serious templates made so that we don’t get caught off like that again.

That’s all that I remember or at least all that I can really comment about. Later.