Thursday, May 30, 2013

Towels for Earth Postmortem

As a fan of Douglas Adams since I was a kid, there was very little chance of me not partaking the Towel Day Mini-Ludum Dare. I find it really interesting that Mini-Ludum Dare#42 happened to occur just in time for Towel Day but as Douglas Adams has repeatedly said "42 seems to show up a lot." For those not familiar with The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is an important number as it happens to be the answer to "life, the universe, and everything". I decided to take the challenge a bit further and make it a Towel Day challenge instead of a weekend challenge. Here is my postmortem.

What Went Right

Making Towel Day an important part of the project was my personal goal of this challenge. Technically, the theme was "Earth will be Destroyed" to make the challenge accessible to those sad souls who are not Douglas Adams fans.  I managed to incorporate the reason Earth is being destroyed, a two headed alien, adding nutrient enrichment to a towel, towels and 42 . Not too bad for a rushed project.

What Went Right and Wrong

The decision to create the game on towel day was a mixed blessing. A game jam is short enough without artificial restrictions. In this case there simply wasn't enough time to add sound and other minor gameplay enhancements such as an unlimited mode. Time limits and other restrictions do help build creativity and let you refine your skills so the extra self-imposed restrictions are useful. To be perfectly honest, though, the real reason for the extra restrictions were the emotions related to creating a game on Towel Day.

What Went Wrong

When I first heard about the challenge, my plans were to create the game using HTML5. I figured that work porting my GameJam library would be useful as it would make it easier to finish the game in time. As creating the functionality of the Flash libraries in JavaScript would be a lot of work, taking advantage of the existing CreateJS library seemed like a good plan. From my experience with this library, it works great but it is still in development. When I ran into issues with the event handling, it became clear that rethinking the jam plans was in order. While I think these issues are JavaScript issues related to the way I am creating classes, they could be CreateJS bugs or some  other code issues I am unaware of so the time needed to solve or work-around the issues was too random to chance it. With not enough time to solve the issues I resorted to my Plan B and created the game in Flash.

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