“Compendium”: a post-mortem

Image

Came across the list this morning, and guess what made it in!

I never thought I would really have to do a post-mortem yet on my game, but considering that it made it as one of the Highest-Rated Submissions for Insanity Jam 2014, it’s basically called for now. First off, I want to thank everyone for their support, whether you played the game and got to vote, or just spread the word around for this wonderful jar of jam! As my first game jam, it certainly will not be the last. I learned a lot from it and it was an amazing experience, aside from meeting other awesome devs doing some crazy stuff. I was also able to play some fantastic games, some of which on the list here that I was even surprised I was rounded up with.

After all, let’s face it, the poor game can get pretty buggy, not to mention I ran out of time to do a walkthrough. I guess it added on to the challenge though, some players were able to make it to the end, others not so much, so I wonder if I was able to add in the walkthrough like I wanted, if that basically would have been a cheap way to give Charlie the golden ticket to the Wonka factory. Perhaps it even could have rated even higher than it did already, though honestly I’m still happy it got the 7 out of 10. That’s pretty awesome, all things considering.

With that said, I’ll break down the pros and cons as far as feedback was concerned, cons basically being any bugs or any other features that could be enhanced or fixed when the game is fully completed (rather than this demo run for the jam).

Image

“Compendium” in action (click to play)!

Pros:

  • Positive feedback on the narrative and overall story. Many players liked the humor it contained, and despite being stuck on a puzzle or certain elements not working in the game, they were compelled to stick with the game a little longer since they appreciated the story.
  • Positive feedback from retro gamers in general, particularly from text adventure fans. I played these games growing up as well, and I was surprised myself that others were still making text adventures and other interactive fictions today. It’s a great way to improve reading and vocabulary skills, while still making the experience less passive and more engaging.
  • ASCII art got a lot of nods of approval as well, though I admit that’s thanks to the power of technology and free license material. I generally do all of my own art for games, but I really wanted to focus on code and story since the projects have to be done solo for this game jam. For those that miss seeing my art, don’t worry, there are plenty projects I’m doing that has it!

Cons:

  • Certain verbs were either not programmed into the game to respond to the character’s commands, or just weren’t working at all. While much of it really was the fact that I didn’t know what other verbs players would use besides the ones I would use, a percentage also went into how Quest programs certain words and verbs. It doesn’t like spaces in names, for one thing; like how post tags are separated with commas, Quest separates the keywords with spaces. Heaven knows why. Either way, I took the game jam as an opportunity for feedback, and noticing others’ problems or bugs they spotted helped me figure out how to improve on this moving forward.
  • As I mentioned earlier, no walkthrough. Really wanted to add one, and as other feedback came in, it needed one badly. If the game worked fine it probably could have gotten away without one, but I always appreciate anyone writing a walkthrough for any game though, even if I use them sparingly.
  •  Could not get the game running on a browser, despite it being coded in HTML5/Javascript. This was something more research simply could have told me in the first place though; Quest outputs the final game as (drumroll please) Quest files. From there, either you upload the game to their site’s database, or set the file up in a Cloud sharebox (I used Dropbox) and have players install Quest to run the file. Fortunately the file does run as a regular game though (not a project file), so while it’s not a true browser game upon the demo release, it was playable and able to reach the masses. I just was hoping it would have exported itself into an actual .html.

Either way, it feels amazing to actually finish a game that people enjoyed for what it is, and for it to have done as well as it did. Moving forward, I’ve continued back on the Lua game for my brother’s movie, though I regret to say that due to everything the past few weeks, I had to put my visual novel on the backburner. I haven’t forgotten about it though, in fact I’ve spent time in between polishing up on character development as well as my artwork, so expect scattered tidbits of these three projects within the next couple of months. Until then, I look forward to the next game jam!

UPDATED 8/29/16: The game’s files have been moved to Google Drive download here. The program Quest is required to play! Thanks and enjoy.

‘Compendium’ is now available to play + vote for!

Image

Testing .gif of the quiz playthrough in “Compendium”.

My text adventure is finally complete for the Insanity Jam 2014! It was quite the journey but I learned a lot! And possibly may have conquered my fear of intense javascript. Please check the official submission thread at the Insanity Jam 2014 forums, where the download link will be (you will need to install Quest to play it, link is also at the thread). If you’re able to vote that would be greately appreciated (not just for myself but for some of the other fantastic games other devs did)! Last day of voting is April 15th so get playing!

 

There are also a few known bugs so please be aware that I may know of them already, and plan to fix them as I continue coding the game. If there’s a new bug or other mechanic that you come across, please let me know! Feedback is greatly appreciated.

C’mon and slam, and welcome to the game jam

I apologize for being quiet here these past couple of days. I had just finished holding a dealers table at LI-Con, a local con within my area. I did extremely well and am planning to return to next year again. Soon after it ended, an online game jam started, and I’ve been busy building a game to complete its deadline.

I am working on a HTML5 text adventure game called “Compendium”, for Insanity Jam 2014. In the game, you play as a busted-up book in the back office discard pile of a library. You have to solve puzzles in order to gain back pages and repair yourself before morning comes. There will be multiple short routes, so the player is encouraged to play through the game more than once, in order to become different wacky book subjects.

So far the intro itself is already done, just a matter of figuring out the javascript to add some actual puzzle gameplay. By end of tomorrow I hope to have at least one route done, with up to three by the end of the jam’s development timeline.

Image

ASCII art and room description so far.

As you can see, it’s very old-school looking. The idea that the generator gave me just fit very well, and at least now I can tell people I actually made a game about a library! I’ve been working part-time at my local library for a number of years now, so it’s a bit of an inside joke when I talk about developing games.

That aside, I’m having issues with CoronaSDK (what else is new), but once I finish this jam I can return to taking a better look of that mess. By next week’s update I will have a link to the finished game jam..game..and you can play it! Don’t forget to vote as well!