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Little Screen Time – Post Mortem

First off, Once again here is a little game, Just a Little Screen Time, it’s a Point and Click (more Move and Use, but i’m not sure that’s a thing) adventure. You play as a TV that’s become lost after a malfunction with the force field in your attic home, I guess the idea was that you are an old discarded television that’s sort of gained sentience and live with other discarded toys and tech from the past in the attic of this big futuristic house which is part of a bigger TV show that you exist inside of. How ever you look at it in simple terms you’re lost and you need to get home but the front door is locked so you can’t get home, and initially you’re drifting off in to space so you need to act fast….

http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=43512

So I want to talk about the Mechanic first, I basically woke up at 3am, saw the theme, had this idea pretty instantly, thought it was too obvious, and too much work, ditched it and went back to sleep…. after having a little scrum meeting with Blair and Zoe and having run through a few ideas which we weren’t exactly happy with, the idea came back to me so I pitched it, and it seemed unanimous that we all wanted to do it, but it would take a lot of work. At this point we know building a point and click adventure was going to be tough, and neither of us had ever built one before. But it’s Ludum Dare, isnt that what it’s about?

So by 4am on Sunday morning we had a full environment and a character with animations, almost all the props for the scripted narrative, and I was fairly happy with the direction the artwork was going. Zoe had scripted out the events for the game and was ready to make a start of the music, while Blair had built a huge bank of scripts that we could just drop on placed items with a ‘Use this item with this other item’ functionality so when it came to connecting up the events it should have been easy… right? Nope… Hardware failed us and we ended up building the game solely on my computer, as Blairs laptop just kept misbehaving. I would say we were lucky that I decided to work through the night on the first day so that my computer was free for most of the second and third day for Blair to use. Sitting around, talking through the game while Blair worked was actually a lot of fun, and watching Zoe reel off new sounds that were just waiting to be brought in to the game felt very organised. In the end we worked well as team and I feel that the end product is something to be proud of.

I guess if we were to do it again, and build the exact same game I would probably have liked to sit down with Blair and Zoe for longer at the beginning, worked through the story and maybe had a bit more input, although I think the story is great and it is quite nice to play through the story itself was sort of thrown together around the mechanic and we could probably have told the story better. Also the interactive items aren’t as clear as they could be, we all agree that replacing one of the items (trying to give spoilers) with a hammer would have made one of the puzzles a lot easier to work out. Also the dog should be animated and have a growl sound making it clear that you cannot get up the stairs in the Western Channel. After watching people play through the game last night at a Indie Dev meetup and seeing everyone take the Knife and the Gun to the dog to try to kill it….. it’s just clear that we needed a different way of blocking off those stairs….. also people can be scary when playing games 😉

Finally it would be great if it was an actual point and click game instead of a WASD to move game, and a mouse over on interactive items would have made the game complete and much easier to play. Whether we finish the game, add the extra floors and new channels that we would like to add to make it a complete game and release it is another question all together. I think it would be a fun project but with so many other projects on that I’ve already put a lot of my time and on life in to I think this may have to be set aside for now.

Thanks for reading, and playing 😀

Also, if enough people get stuck and comment on this post, I may make a walk through video, because I understand that point and click games can be frustrating, and so point and click games made in 72 hours must be undoubtedly even more frustrating!

Martin

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