So I failed to finish my 7DRL game in time. Work, family responsibilites, blah blah. The real reason is of course that I didn't plan the poject properly.
I'm disappointed but somewhat relieved too. My goal from the start was to make this a proper game, one that at least I myself and perhaps my kids would enjoy playing, not just a quick demo. The jam gave the project a good start, but rushing even slightly interesting playable version out in the two last days would have made me take too many shortcuts and the code has enough of those already.
This was my first game jam and I have to say it's been great: following the other participants progress with their games and getting feedback, even if it's just from random screenshots. I've already played some of the finished ones and looking forward to playing more of them this week. Congratulatios to all who who made it!
Anyway, here are somes lessons (re)learned from 7DRL:
- It's certainly possible to make a classic roguelike in PuzzleScript with procedurally generated maps and content, inventory, combat system etc. PuzzleScript makes some things hard (especially things that require calculation), some quite easy. Creating a simple procedural maze takes one line of code inside of a loop.
- For a short project it's important, no, paramount to set a very limited scope. I knew this of course, I just didn't really know it.
- You need to manage the project somehow: to follow the time, separate the essential features from nice-to-haves, to record all the ideas. I can't figure out why on earth did I not use Trello for this. I didn't even have written todo lists before Thursday. Dumb ass!
- Don't get bodgged down by graphics or sounds. Yes, you can do that even with 5x5px tiles and randomly generated dings and scuffs. Blank squares or one color stickmen are fine. The less you commit to that in the beginning the easier it is to make it all coherent in the polishing stage.
- Don't blog. Tweeting is ok, someone might even read those and getting feedback is a great motivatior. Vlogging might be ok, just because speaking aloud what you are doing helps to clarify what the heck it is that you're actually doing.
I've now set a goal of getting a playable version out by the end of March. Now, I've said it. I'm now accountable for doing that.