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Postmortem: Let's Make Breakfast!

Hey Everyone! It’s been a little bit since I’ve been able to think about my game but I just wanted to write a quick postmortem about the experience I had with designing and creating this game. I learned a lot and I hope y’all can take something from my experience as well! :)

The Writing Process
The process of writing and really designing the narrative of the game was really chaotic. When I set out first writing all I had was a rough prototype of a story I wanted to tell and a specific plot: A person waking up and making breakfast. At the time I had envisioned the story to focus on the protagonist’s anxieties regarding College, but over time I felt that the script began to drift from that topic. As I was writing, and as I was putting more of myself in the protagonist, I found that the end result was much closer to a story about the relationships between the protagonist and their parents. There is a lot of scenes in the game that make reference to moments pior to the character’s college experience and how those memories influence how the protagonist progressed. So much of the overall narrative in the game was discovered in the process of writing.

I think this ended up being both good in some ways and bad in others. Overall I feel like the writing in the game is stronger than it was originally. I find that the narrative choices that are presented to the player are more compelling than the choices I previously had in mind. These are the unexpected positives that resulted in this process. But… It could have been better. There was no real planning in story beats. The writing sort of came out of whatever I felt was interesting. There was no storyboarding or blocking of the narrative that was done. I’m not sure if this had an impact on this game in particular as the scope is relatively small, but I can sense how certain story elements aren’t fully explored. There also isn’t very much room for expansion as it’s difficult to parse where that would be without the overhead perspective that a storyboard would provide.

Overall I’m pretty satisfied with the writing. I’ve gotten some compliments to the friends I’ve showed it to and, based on the limited feedback I’ve gotten, people seem to understand the themes I was trying to convey. Huge moral boost but at the same time there’s a lot that I want to improve for whatever is next.

Building games and Learning programming
On one hand I think this is the weakest part of my game. I think I definitely could have applied myself more to learning the ins and outs of Twine and exploring different parts of HTML. It’s not something I worried very much about as I spent a lot more time writing and thinking about story elements. For that reason, I feel like I am still fairly new and inexperienced with HTML/Javascript/CSS. There is still so much for me to learn both with the tool and foundationally about how to write good programs. I think moving forward this is an area that I’ll definitely be focusing on more.

Other Thoughts
I alluded to this during my dev log but spending time working on this game has been some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. As someone who’s always had a critical opinion of himself, I didn’t have the greatest confidence that I would finish or be able to create something meaningful in such a short amount of time. I’m happy to say that this entire process of pushing myself and really discovering that I’m more capable than I give myself credit for. It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to create something and put it out for people to experience and play.

Finding a community here in the game jam and at in general has kind of been incredible as well. I’ve never really had people around me who were interested and focused on making games or thinking critically about aspects of game development. Seeing everyone work on something in the same time frame was amazingly encouraging. The reality isn’t lost on me though, I know that not many people are going to find this tiny game that I’ve made and even fewer people are going to provide feedback. Even so, the experience was great and I am proud of everything that I’ve done. I’m even more excited for what is to come.

Thanks everyone for following along and reading! :)
I hope to see you again in other jams and across the internet.