28 October 2017

Afterthoughts: Overcome

I thought that I wouldn't be doing anymore blog posts on this version of the website, but I guess I was wrong. That happens sometimes. ;)

Back in the late spring, I got the urge to whip up a quick freeware game which I planned to work on for up to a month. As tends to happen whenever I decide on such an undertaking, my life decided to go in 10 million directions at once, and game development barely happened at all. When the dust finally settled in late August, I had a little metroidvania that was far enough along that I felt compelled to complete. That game is Overcome.

Though no where near my most ambitious project to date, it is perhaps the most 'complete' feeling freeware title I have every completed. It has something that resembles a story, thoughtful level design, and a relatively polished feel to it.

What went right

There was a serious effort in the development of Overcome to make things as clean as possible in the backend, and I felt that it really made a difference. I spent much less time hunting though everything trying to patch bugs, and I felt like a good majority of the programming feels logical.

I also planned the level design out thoroughly before I started laying the game out in the engine. This made the actual programming duties go much quicker as I didn't need to spend nearly as much time experimenting. I like to think that my experience with previous projects has also helped in that regard.

Speaking of the level design, I made some effort to give more freedom to the player in exploring and picking up items. Certain tools still have prerequisites, but there is definitely a lot left up to the player this time around, and I think it makes the project a lot stronger.

Finally, I feel good about the minimalistic story in the game. It hints at larger concepts and has meaning to me as an individual. I can't be sure if it will speak to others or not, but including it made the development process much more engaging.

What could have gone better

One thing that I heavily regret with Overcome's development was neglecting to code an event stop earlier. Sort of like an artificial pause that prevents player and enemy movement during story portions, I put this off until nearly the end of the development cycle, and I found myself trying to comb through previous work trying to figure out where this oversight should fit. I need to remember to tackle this earlier on in future projects.

Sound effects also gave me more trouble than I expected, and there are a couple that I'm still not happy with. The quest to create a library of sounds that I can always rely on continues, I guess.

The verdict

Overall, I feel very satisfied with this project. It took a little more time to release than I would have liked, but I'm slowly coming to realize that just might be the nature of the beast, especially when working on it only in rare pockets of spare time.

Either way, give it a try and let me knowwhat you think via Twitter or Facebook!

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