Thursday, February 7, 2013

CRA Agent Postmortem

David S. Gallant was fired for the dreadful sin of creating a game about his job. Ludum Dare decided to host a game jam related to this. I created my CRA Agent game as part of this CRAJam. Now I am writing my postmortem about the development of this game.

What went right.

I had a very clear vision of the game I wanted to make. Having clear and realistic goals made getting the game done fairly quickly. The fact that the game was fairly simple from a coding perspective was a bonus. While I had hoped to have the adventure game kit portion of my GameJam library ready, it simply was too far from completion to contemplate using it which may have been a blessing as I probably would have spent far more time working on my generic adventure game library than on the game.

One big change from my original plan did occur, which is why it is always good to have some flexibility with your designs. Instead of the single inevitable ending I was planning for, I decided that the underlying score systems could be tweaked to allow for three different endings based on how the player plays. It actually didn't take very long to tweak the numbers and I think the game benefited from this change. It is still a short game that can be finished in a couple of minutes but now it has enough replay-ability that it allows more exploration of the theme.

What went wrong

Politics. I hate politics so having a politically themed game was certainly an issue for me. While I think my political opinions can be discerned from this game, some of the decisions that the player could take clearly went against my beliefs. I think I handled both cases with enough humour that the game should be enjoyable even by people with differing opinions than mine, but the fact that politics happens to be one of those subjects that invoke strong irrational emotions from people I am sure I have pissed some people off.

Too much art.  Instead of creating unique art for the agent, the 8 people being audited, and the boss, I may have been better off creating a face-making program that would generate a huge number of faces based on a small number of art pieces. I could have then spent more time creating text for people being audited which would have added a lot more content to the game.


I think even though this game is likely to piss some people off, it turned out pretty good.

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