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[Post-Mortem] Cat in a Box

A topic by Alaris created Jan 23, 2017 Views: 189 Replies: 1
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So uhh... given the simplicity of the game, I wouldn't think there would really need to be a Post-Mortem, but... well, here I am.

I had a very minimal amount of GameMaker experience going into this game, as well as Zero Artist experience, Zero Music experience... well... all in all, it was a project doomed to fail.

But seeing how many people were working diligently on their own games, I kind of pushed myself to finally do it; after all, I really do want to get into Game Developing as more than just a passing thought or a hobby.

Anyway... my initial thought for Cat in a Box was as a platformer; you would control a Human, picking up cats and putting them in boxes. It seemed like a simple, cool idea to me, for a first game anyway.

So... as a non-artist (my sister got all the artist genes in the family), I started scouring the Asset sites for sprites. Found a decent cat one... but I couldn't find a Human one that really... clicked for me.

I figured I would get to that later, and decided to focus on getting the basics of the code down. I got a basic walking system down, as well as gravity (because what platformer DOESN'T have gravity).

Real life kind of got in the way in droves shortly thereafter, and the rest of my first week was pretty much eaten away.

And with the start of the second week, I decided that, since I couldn't find a Human sprite that would satisfy my needs, I guess I would completely change how I envisioned the game; let's just pick the cat up with the mouse! Because that won't have any issues...

This had many issues. Many... many issues. Collision. The mouse leaving the room. Getting stuck in walls.

I sought some help from a mentor, and managed to get it at least... semi-functional. I could pick up the cat. Drop it. Put it down. So on and so forth.

I threw together a box sprite, as well as a food sprite, and started working on the mechanics of AI for the cat; it must follow food. Harder than it sounds, actually.

Real life (hate work) ate up even more of my time, and then I was down to a day and a half to finish the game. So I scrambled together a 'rage' mechanic, and with my last few hours, threw together a handful of 'test levels.' It... didn't turn out how I really wanted it... but it was a game. One you could play from start to finish. And I was proud to be able to submit it.

What I Wanted:

I wanted to create a puzzle game involving putting cats in boxes. You would use toys to lure the cat, and food to appease it so that it would not attack. Various different items and mechanics were in mind, but I just didn't have the time to implement them properly.

Instead, I got a game where you must grab the cat and rush it to the box ASAP, because a timer starts when you pick them up. Ideally, I wanted their 'rage meter' to rise the further you moved them, not the longer you held them. But I couldn't figure out that mechanic in time either.

Where Do I Go?:

Well, I'd like to polish up the game; get some consistent sprites, program the mechanics the way I'd like them, implement a lot of other features... yeah.

After that, I'm not sure. I definitely want to do more Game Jams; they've pushed me to actually make my first game!

This all kind of turned into a long rant about my shoddy development, rather than a decent post-mortem, but it definitely helped to put this down in writing.

I'd like to give a special thanks to the MFGJ team, for hosting this event. You guys are pretty freaking awesome!


i encourage you to take the time to poke around itchio's other game jams--there's a lot of cool events running at any given time and it will give you the chance to push your dev skills and learn new things. rushing mechanics to fit deadlines is actually pretty normal for jam games and it's actually really neat to see the creative solutions you came up with the time crunch! even if it's not something you wanted from the outset, i wouldn't discredit your effort to create a finished product--this is the kind of hard work that makes and finishes games! thanks for jamming with us i hope you can continue to create games and learn in the future!