My first full, winnable game/level (w00t). I really enjoyed tweaking the mechanics (of which there remains still more to be done!), and once I got down to making the level itself it was a blast (albeit slowed down by doing all of it with the C++ code, ha ha). My actual trigger/theme verse is given in the ending, and, while potentially cryptic, I was really hoping to see the theme of Proverbs tied into an expression of the gospel message - harder to do in a non-text-driven video game than I might have estimated. I hope that my at-times warped humor in the symbolic characters is enjoyable, without detracting from the lesson!
I am not a night person. Too much of this I tried to do too close to midnight several days in a row - the first week I had lab work, the second week I was on vacation with my family, ha ha (sounds like everyone's story!). As a result, there are some silly gaffes I ended up forgetting about or neglecting to remove (the worst in my opinion is the non-sticky keys - holding down keys like space or return counts as multiple key presses, making it possible to bounce yourself across the level or into a certain forbidden item). I have doubts as to how well-balanced the game is - I realized about the day after the contest closed that, for example, the lady in red can see you quite a bit before you can see her, so she'll start chasing you before she's even on screen. I'm also paranoid that there's some memory or resource leak that'd destroy somebody's computer, but that comes with the territory of liberally using pointers everywhere.
Program-wise, I know it's a good idea to use timers to guarantee that the game runs uniformly across a variety of systems, but that didn't make it into this cut. Also, the fact that it requires DirectX 9 to run a few (*cough) interestingly drawn sprites will probably raise many eyebrows.
Obviously the point is the Bible verses - I place them at the top of the screen, but that might make it too easy to miss them, or not get chance to read them in the heat of battle. I am thinking about word balloons that appear closer to the relevant character, but we'll see. I know for sure I do not want it to pause the gameplay, just because the gameplay would then be paused way too often in certain denser level arrangements - irritating to most players in this kind of game.
I didn't get to sound effects or music - I had ideas for funny sounds and voices, but when I saw that it would require learning DirectSound in about 30min as well as the potential embarrassment of needing to hear my own weird grunting and all, I procrastinated sound effects straight out of the game for now. (though I'm told I do a passable Wookie growl, I'm not sure where that would fit in)
With the single level, the epic story didn't quite get developed. Neither the Queen of Sheba nor Solomon actually appear, all that...
I underestimated the amount of time the art would take. Even with my sister drawing some of the characters (notice the blatant change in art style, ha ha), it then took almost two hours to digitize them (without destroying them, which is debatable whether I achieved that). I kind of stayed inside the box - the DirectX SDK says it's important to keep texture sizes around 256x256, and since I divided that into 4x4 grids that leaves me with 64x64 characters. I'm just sorry I couldn't get my sister's excellent artwork into the game to reflect the good job she did. There's also a whole character missing, because when the end of the time came I chose to concentrate on working with gameplay elements I had rather than work on programming the new enemy (although there's an easter egg allusion to him in the weapons).
I'm also a little disappointed with how derivative the game seems in the end - it's clear that I play a lot of Mario, and it's clear that my dream of making my own Mario game managed to work its way into this project. Avid gamers might also spot ideas reminiscent of Mega Man or Toy Pop.
Finally, there might need to be some explanation for that lady in red. Purposely drawn in a bizarre way to avoid making the next Erin Esurance, especially out of such a disreputable character. Reading through the relevant chapters from Proverbs should help you see how I came to that design - I think it's fun, but definitely could have and should have been drawn better. Unfortunately, my sister saw it and cracked up, saying it should stay as it is.
Thank you again for the opportunity and encouragement to complete a real project so quickly! I had fun making this little spiel, and hopefully it runs nicely enough to bring others a fun little way of walking through a few Proverbs.