Post-Mortem: Newton and the Fig Tree

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Post-Mortem: Newton and the Fig Tree

Postby Lava » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:40 pm

Hi everyone

This is the Post-Mortem for Newton and Fig Tree, my platformer developed for CDN's 3rd annual speed-comp (or 1st annual if you don't count CCN).

What made it in and didn't turn out half bad...

Christian content:
Even though not only all of my initial ideas were completely God-grounded, I believe God had mercy and turned them around for the better, the quote "an apple doesn't fall far from the tree" isn't a Biblical quote but I believe God showed me ideas of how to work the gospel into it. And I hope I was able to create a game that isn't overtly religious but has an underlying messianic message, and not just a connection to proverbs. I give Jesus all of the glory for that, if that is true.

I started on the graphics as soon as the competition started. It didn't take me long to make any of the initial models, though I most proud of the Newton and Locust models.

What didn't make it in the final cut...

I really wanted to expand one of the enemies, which was the caterpillar, I wanted to make it split into smaller enemies when you would destroy it, which you would have to destroy, but the problems with the enemy collision algorithm were too great then I wanted to deal with, so I dumbed him down to just a one hit enemy.

I also had an alternate boss planned. It was to be a sarlaac-esque giant worm with a bunch of teeth (image below), but I couldn't think of any good boss mechanics for him (I mean, come one, he's a worm), he was too much like my already planned Caterpillar enemy. I also didn't feel the nature of the enemy fit the rest of the light-hearted nature of the game. I got an idea though about defeating the worm by pushing a rock on his head, but there were some problems with that.

So I prayed to Jesus, that if there's a way I can make the worm enemy's gameplay better please give me guidance, then not too long after I got the idea for the locust, and lots more gameplay ideas sprung from that, plus it fit better in with the "leeching" storyline of the insects, being that locusts are commonly depicted of taking crops and such.

(Alternate Final Boss)

I really wanted to make an idle animation for Newton, and shadows for Newton and the platforms, but they didn't make it in. I would've at least gave Newton a shadow, but I don't have the best ideas at this moment of how to make a really comprehensive shadow.

Overall, I am just happy I got the game out there in time, and I still was able to retain alot of the story and gameplay elements I wanted. I feel I've completed a small, but complete game, and that's pretty rare for me.

I was happy I got to the bug fixing part so soon, what I do usually is I make the basic parts of the game, I code it in, then I get to the "bug fixing" stage and there I fix all of the problems with intial coding and details.

That might sound easy, but from all of the bug fixes I had to make and the issues simply not being resolved, I almost gave up on this project (mostly from problems with the enemies), so I stopped devving for a few days, but when I came back I had a new perspective and just focused on what I really needed to complete this game and get it out there, since I got most of it done. I think this proves that sometimes you need a break! haha :)

In Christ,
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Re: Post-Mortem: Newton and the Fig Tree

Postby Mene-Mene » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:00 pm

I helped with motivation! :D

good read!
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Re: Post-Mortem: Newton and the Fig Tree

Postby kenman » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:22 pm

Very fun game, I just have always had a real hard time jumping in games like that..
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Re: Post-Mortem: Newton and the Fig Tree

Postby JMAC » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:59 pm

I enjoyed this game a lot - I am definitely partial to platformers, and one with well-thought-out Christian and gospel-centered symbolism is most excellent. I'm just slow enough that I might not have caught the symbols' interpretation without your readme file, but that's what readme files are there for!

I found the ending to be fantastic - it is a nice scene, with a good close to the story (especially now that I read your write-up and discover that the final boss was a locust - I am no expert in insect identification, ha ha). I was kind of hoping to see some of the readme file's content appear at the end as well, whether a pointer to the Proverb again or to more Scripture to read on the gospel and Jesus as the only way. However, I can see where it is a good strategy to "keep the game world the game world", and to provide the decoder in the readme as you did.

My one request for any future work would be camera controls - there were several points where zooming out or elevating the camera angle would have helped me handle the enemies or certain jumps (especially that bloomin' locust...). That's definitely in the "polish" category, though - this is a great product, and I look forward to future work!
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Re: Post-Mortem: Newton and the Fig Tree

Postby HeardTheWord » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:44 am

Really great game! It was a bit challenging to land on the platforms but once I got the hang of it the game progressed along smoothly. Although, I still can't beat the locust at the end. :(

I hope you continue to work on this game and I have two suggestions if you do. The first is to add a shadow under Newton, which you already mentioned and the second is to add a skybox. A shadow would make it a lot easier to land and the skybox would help seperate the platforms from the single colored background.

For the shadow you can cast a downward ray from Newton and get the point of intersection on a platform or the ground. Once you get the point of intersection you can then put a billboard or sprite in that position which looks like a circle. If you wanted to get really fancy there could be a scaling factor based on the length of the ray.
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Re: Post-Mortem: Newton and the Fig Tree

Postby Lava » Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:43 pm

Sorry I took so long getting back to you guys. :(

Thanks Mene, Kenman, JMAC and Heardtheword for playing my game!

And thanks for the in-depth feedback JMAC and Heardtheword, I'll definitely keep it in mind. :)

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