The Mother of All Post-Mortems

Hey All,
I know I don’t write lots of post mortem or design posts or talking about what I am doing for long time. I think that led me to be good in lots of stuffs but became some how not good in Game Design.

In my view Game Design is about talking, trying stuff showing it to other good designers and having feedback 🙂 the same with level design 🙂 The problem is that most of my friends in Egypt either don’t have time (if they had experience) or they are still amateur so they are just amazed with what I am doing without making a good discussion :S

Another problem I am having is that people (here) always to like to talk about Soccer or Politics and both I hate and don’t like and never been good in analyzing or understanding any of them beside when I tried to be involved in those activities I didn’t like what’s happening here so I made my game Mindless to show what’s happening in Egypt. My nerve can’t take political argument any more, beside I always have problems in making good conversations with other people.

Last problem in that point I have is that I am not a good discuss-er I can’t make a good discussion about anything, I can’t focus and analyse stuff good enough may be because I didn’t do any good game discussion before and my last discussion with some friends of mine about the art style of Hotline Miami ended badly because I see the art style used is the best fit with the psycho rhythm of game and making it hectic enough but they say its garbage if he made better art the game will be better and the art is not something that made the game rock. My friends always think my artistic view of things is bad because I love Pixel Art and how it look and have bizarre taste in art (for example I never like Crysis Graphics I think its redundant and repetitive but I liked Proteus art style more also I love the old art style of Bro Force a lot and like the new one and till now I think old style is incredible and is matching very well with the game) Due to that bizarre taste of mine they always making fun of me and don’t allow me to show my point.

Some people told me you can have friends from other places in the world and have those talks the problem is that I am not good to be in touch with people especially online because I have a work that I may lose it anytime if I didn’t make my Master Thesis and at same time I want to work on games (beside my problem of making good discussions with people, and that English is not my first language makes me sometimes I don’t understand what people are saying even I understand every single word they wrote but the whole meaning from the sentence I don’t get it)

I know sometimes making more games and improving stuffs and keep moving forward and making lots of prototypes is the best design practice (like Cactus always made lots of games and quickly) but its not enough alone they must be discussed and see what is good and bad with every prototype you do and think how to improve, because if you didn’t do that your level design skills and game ideas and how to expand your game and knowing if the idea is good or not, will be lowered down but at same time your development skills and art style will be improved.

Another problem I am having is getting bored quickly and want to change quickly and need for fast methods to do something, I think lots of people have that problem but most of people having that problem doesn’t release lots of games but they have lots of unfinished projects (like my friend Ahmed Saker) that he aims to finish one day. I am different somehow I rarely leave projects unfinished. I always finish them and release them quickly by making smaller scope or by justing rushing myself to finish the project. Since I was bored from the project so I never try to see what’s wrong with it or it didn’t work out with people or player which is something bad.

So I don’t know if my Game Design skills will be better in future or it will be remaining at same position. I have lots of problems need to be solved first (I have stated them before) and lots of my skills became worse although I acquired a weird and unique taste in making games and implementing ideas fast and quick.

I think I need to talk more with people so will try on both sides (real life/online), Since we here in Egypt are trying to make a game developer society so I think one day we will have weekly or monthly meet up and talk with other experienced developers 🙂 and online will try to be involved more in forums and discussions on twitter than I used to 🙂 I hope I can succeed in that.

Let’s start with Simple Love, I know lots of people think its sweet and it represent how love is nice and I wanted to create that atmosphere but guess what? The game is not good for delivering the message its like some critics say Childish attempt toward love. Why I think there opinion is correct? Its easy I suck at writing and all the sentences I just derive them while I was making the game, it doesn’t have any connection with each other (the only connection is they are about she loves you) also when I was writing I was avoiding the You word in sentences unless there is a locked door u want to open it. So the writing of the game doesn’t came from anything or an experience I had (I was a romantic guy once btw).

Second thing “the gameplay doesn’t influence the message” they had good point in that, the gameplay is like zelda top down with skill (no puzzles) I know it will be better if it was puzzle with words where you can substitute words with each other and unlock the room but I am no good to do that so I stuck with zelda style (the style of games I always loved).

May be the room design is the only thing I think is made good and art style and music all of them have same feeling of love and relaxing in a well formed way.

In gameplay using diagonal jump as a friend of mine told me is a very bad idea because the game feels like a tiled base game so with square blocks like tiles so using diagonal jump seems like a cheap trick to add some difficulty.
So Overall I think the game have some sweet factor but Gameplay experience and shattered writing with no management and flowing in rooms terrible the artistic experience of the game. I think 3/5 is the best score this game should have unless I change either the game to be zelda like or change the gameplay to be more artistic.

About Evil Goat, although the game is same like lots of old games, nothing new with it but for a game done in less than 48 hours (as I was working on other projects at same time) its incredible and the most thing I love in that game is the Levels I designed. I think I designed they are unique every group have special way to solve it and all have nice ideas.

Level 1 showing the player how to play he had to kill the child on spike to finish the level.
Level 2 showing the player there could be more than one child.
Level 3 showing the player he can die if he touch the spikes.
Level 4 showing u can move dead child on spike and use the spike again
I love doing that not to give text to player to understand the game, I just love him to learn from the dynamics of the game and making the levels learn him how to play (inspired that from Edmund Mcmillen in designing Super Meat Boy)
Level 5 is a bit difficult level using the learned mechanics but in the same time it introduced the concept that when a child hit a child it push the second child while the first child stopped from moving. Also it shows that we can use children to modify our positions and move either modifying our position on hitting the child and out goat stops or by using the child as a stone to fill a gap.
Level 6 introduce new mechanics which are the arrows without any complications also showing the new mechanics here was relief to player after the difficult level 5 (but the main reason not making a more difficult level with previous mechanics that I didn’t have nice ideas to develop a level :D)
Level 7 wraps the new mechanics of arrows with old mechanic introduced in level 5 (modifying player position using children)
Level 8 I designed it to be more difficult than 7 same mechanics but different view puzzle now new ideas or mechanics to make the player feeling progress and master the idea of the game better
Level 9 I introduce the teleports (I know I should add here another advanced level of previous mechanics to make the player feel he is mastering the mechanics more but for same reason I didn’t have enough ideas for new levels using old mechanics and I was running out of time and I was thinking about removing the 15 levels and just make the game 10 levels instead but I insisted to try to finish 15 levels and here I done it)
Level 10 was designed by mistake I was trying to take the same layout of a certain level in Snazzle and trying to implement it, when I was trying it in the level I made a child travel through the spikes and hit another child on the other side and enter the teleport so he came out and modified the position when my goat can reach. I said “WoooooooW that’s neat at that time” so I modified the level to make use of that technique which is very nice.
Level 11 while I was making the game and testing the new techniques I made a loop with arrows and teleports where the goat hit a child and the child move in the loop and hit the goat and so on. I thought at that point it will never ends but suddenly it ends from rotation in the loop which was amazing so I figured out when I make the game I must make use of that and when I finished making Level 10 I had no ideas so I thought I will try to make a level about looping and here it comes Level 11.
By the way levels from 11 to 15 are done by coincidence even if I said I designed them may be only the main idea I designed but how it will be played and how it will be solved it was using trail and error which I am not proud of but it introduced a hell levels (very difficult ones)
Level 12 I was fascinated by the idea of several rooms and passing a child from one room to another using teleports will help but it was difficult to be done or solved so I was doing a step and try playing it in the game and found it is difficult but I tried to get all difficult locations the player can reach and try it again and again
Level 13 I wanted to create a level with lots of spikes so I had the idea what if the player can only pass between two sides of the level through a single hole and anything wrong he do will cause him die also by using that idea it will confirm the idea about modifying player position using children. I think it was nice idea but not implemented so good as I said these levels were designed by trail and error so it doesn’t look neat as I wished to be (I think I added the teleports in this level because I could figure a better way to solve the game unless there is teleport to help go from left to right as the trying to adjust the player position using children is limited by number of children and their positions).
Level 14 I wanted to create a level like Level 12 but I had an idea about the starting children that I want to kill so I want to teleport a child to be at the bottom of the teleport so I can kill the left and right child. I used in this level modifying my position by children a lot but that was due to I wanted to create a good looking level and at same time difficult.
Level 15 and last level, I just wanted to try to make teleport with one direction entry and one direction exit and everything elese in that level was done by coincidence

I am pretty proud by Level Design done in that game and not the game idea itself as it was not innovative neither good with LudumDare theme (You are a Villain). By the way the game is ported to HTML5 and using mouse instead of keyboard (by Jack Brockley) so mobile users can enjoy playing it in their browsers 🙂 Also I will try to port it as a free game for iPhone when I start having developer account 🙂

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