Zorba the Hutt (zorbathut) wrote,
Zorba the Hutt
zorbathut

Andre Copperman Picture Panic! Postmortem

THE BAD:

The original goal for this game was to rip off the Drawing minigame in Kirby Canvas Curse, then play with it a lot to see if I could come up with neat variations.

Fundamentally, I couldn’t. Ironically I’ve gotten a lot of really good ideas since finishing it. SO IT GOES.

One problem I hadn’t anticipated, however, is the issue with the user’s control scheme. People who use trackpads didn’t generally like the game or do well. People who use tablets generally liked the game and did really well. Tablet users might be, in general, more artistic in the first place, but I think some of this is thanks to trackpads being really really awful for this game style.

I’m not sure what a solution to this is. I should maybe just have added a screen at the beginning saying “plug a mouse in you doofus”.

THE GOOD:

The game balance is more subtle than you’d expect. Scoring is done by taking the average distance-squared between each of your drawn points and the closest point to it on the pattern, then adding the reverse of that, from the pattern to your points. I quickly realized that the big simple patterns ended up vastly harder than the small ones due to how large errors tended to be. The solution was to send a beta copy to all my friends and get them to play through all the levels, then average their scores for each level and use that as a scaling factor.

The spiral ended up being the “toughest” in terms of scaling, while the rabbit crouching next to a bed was the “simplest”.

However, once I’d done this, it just worked. A was tough, A+ was very tough. User balance: it’s a good thing!

The background color. This seems like a silly small thing, but the game completely opened up when I added the background image and I was no longer making gameplay while floating in a sea of black. Every other game I’ve made has started with a black screen. I think I’m going to start with a non-black screen on the next one and see what happens.

This is going to sound silly, but I really feel like the big thing I got out of this game was the background color issue. I think that’s been a recurring issue in a lot of my games, and I’m going to fix it, starting now. And by “starting now” I mean “I already know what my next game is, and I’m going to start working on it real soon now, no more five-days-before-the-end-of-the-month for me!”

WHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO:

I’m getting better at this. I think I did a good job of the atmosphere in Andre Copperman, and the game ended up roughly how I intended. I didn’t come up with clever gameplay elements but I made a fun game and that’s what I was going for.

As a side note, can anyone with OSX 10.5 let me know if the build worked? I’ve gotten a bunch of reports of it working on 10.6, and exactly one report about 10.5 (didn’t work.) I don’t yet know if this was a fluke or some actual incompatibility.

Tags: art, monthly game
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