Thursday, September 5, 2013

Apple Harvest Postmortem

For the August Ludum Dare #27 I released a simple game called apple harvest. The game was simpler than I would have liked due to what went wrong but it was finished and isn't too bad of a game all things considered. Here is my postmortem of the game.

What went wrong

Unfortunately Ludum Dare #27 happened to take place the same weekend as one of my cousins' was getting married. This meant that instead of having 48 hours to work on a game I only had about 8. This greatly reduced both my options for what type of  games I could develop and the amount of polishing that could be applied to the game. As I really need to work on my polishing skills, this was disappointing.

What went right and wrong

I have been moving away from Flash preferring HTML 5 solutions as they do not require plug-ins. Right now my choice is to use Dart, but depending on what happens with ECMAScript 6 this could change. Still, when there is a limited amount of time, Flash is a bit faster to work with. Part of the reason that Flash is more efficient is simply due to the fact that the art/animation tools are built right in so you are not switching between multiple tools and writing code to load the various assets into the game as that is all handled automatically for you. While I would have preferred a HTML 5 solution, using Flash allowed me to finish the game at a relatively reasonable time so I wasn't overly tired for the Wedding.

What went right

The first thought that I had when I read the theme was a money booth type game. The kind radio shows like to have where you have a short amount of time to grab as much money as you can. Playing around with air dynamics would have been great fun but probably would have taken me more than 8 hours so I had to apply a  Keep It Super Simple approach. I replaced harvesting money with apples. Why apples? I wanted some type of motion to the harvesting and falling apples is what came into my head so I just went with it. The apple life cycle was fairly simple with a flower, then a growing green fruit then a transition to a mature fruit. The transitions had a per-frame probability of  happening adding a slight random element.  Spawning new blossoms was also easy as I just pick a random spot on the trees. If there are no apples near enough then it takes otherwise, no spawning happens that frame. The simple artwork for the apple also got co-opted into the buttons for the menus.


For a very rapid game I think it turned out good. If I do revisit the game I would add multiple levels with quotas per level, and possibly different types of fruit trees.

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