What Went Wrong
- Developing a game like this in a resolution-independent manner is very difficult. I do not recommend it to anyone working under a deadline.
- I started the project with a team of four others. One person helped with ideas and design, which I appreciate. But in the end, I did the lions share of the work; all the coding and all the art, for certain.
- I spent way too much time working on the dynamic lighting, which didn't really get used at all. "Scene 3" is just the debug scene I built to test the lighting and physics; there's no puzzle to complete. The game just promptly ends at that point.
- That left no time for a title screen, audio of any kind, additional materials to clone, additional scenes and puzzles...
- The art style in the first two lab scenes also suffered greatly from the dynamic lighting time vacuum; It's supposed to represent a bright room containing the subject (flying saucer) being observed by scientists through a one-way mirror, behind which the player also views the action. However, the scientist silhouettes did not turn out as I had hoped.
- All said, I think this was just another case of biting off more than I could chew.
What Went Right
- I was able to get the balloon cloning mechanism working fairly quickly, with a handful of bumps and potholes along the road. But even with that complete, it was extremely difficult to get the small craft over the obstacle until I added the air flow currents. (Also finished quite rapidly.)
- The dynamic lighting was hugely successful! I really wish I could have made better use of it... On the bright side, I will be able to use it for another game concept I came up with before this project started; one which makes use of light and dark as the primary gameplay element.
- The art style on the scientists is actually kind of cute. Though it did not turn out how I saw it in my head, I'm glad I didn't throw it out. (I came very close to git clean -fd && git reset --hard while working on it!)
- Chipmunk-js proved again to be a fantastic physics engine. It starts to hiccup on iPhone 4S when three+ shapes collide with one another, but it still works very well regardless. The vector math functions were also instrumental in developing the dynamic lighting effects.
What To Do Next Time
A list of some things that I want to have for the next competition I enter. I think have these will ease my burden a bit.
- Having a team as focused and dedicated as myself is the number one priority. I already know how much I can get done alone. I don't know how much four of me could do, though. If only I had built a real flying saucer capable of making clones of myself...
- Especially one person dedicated to art, and another dedicated to audio.
- A storyboard would be nice to use as a roadmap. It would give an excellent overview of what's left to be done.
- More detailed design documents would also come in handy.
- Suck it up and stop worrying about how bad it looks. Make it fun, first.