D_R_E_A_M_S – Postmortem

From Monday, 10 to Saturday, 15 of November I joined the 7DFPS jam. This is a postmortem of the game that came out of it, D_R_E_A_M_S.

It was my first time trying to make a FPS so I had to prepare myself ahead of the jam on some of the technical details.
I was sure i would be using GameMaker so my preparation involved checking the canonical GameMaker 3D FPS tutorial, written by the creator of GameMaker himself. It is a great tutorial and touches on everything you need to know to start making your own FPS.
With some of the technical parts more or less out of the way, I could focus the jam on designing the experience and drawing the graphics.

Speaking of graphics, when the jam started i had one thing set in stone, the artistic style would be Pixel Art like Proteus, Gun Godz, …

And so the jam started…

Even though the jam started officially on Saturday 8th, I did not start till Monday. The 7DFPS Jam did not have a theme and I had no idea what I wanted my game to be about, so the first day I just did some setup of the project, the player moving around an empty room and then some graphics.

Brainstorming

To get my ideas flowing I went running…
Lately I use running as a way to have a break, relax and brainstorm some ideas.
It worked and I quickly decided I would make a game that revolved on a recurring dream/nightmare I have had since I was a child.
Basing the vision of what you want to build on something personal and not on some bullshit you came up with is a good way to be able to take decisions clearly and the end result has more personality as a result.

Concept

This game tries to be about how you confront your nightmares and fears as you grow up and how you evolve and get more strategies to deal with them but the fears also evolve and change with you…

I designed the progression of the 5 levels that the game would be composed of. I wanted the player to feel that she was missing some ability only to give it to her on the next level. For example on the first level you cannot confront the enemy because you have no way to attack and in the second level, the player finds the stone that allows her to throw energy balls at the enemies. I planned similar situations for the jump ability and the ability to move your view in the Z-direction…
This progression would be a metaphor of the personal evolution of a lifetime.

In the first level your movement is purposely slow and the camera is low to give the impression of a 5 year old experiencing her first nightmare…
In the second level I give the player the power stone to be able to confront the enemies that are spawned and it is where gameplay really starts.

What went right

– I finished something and I am very happy of the esthetics of the game
– The FPS is functional.
– I made a personal game.
– I could try a more narrative game than my previous ones.

What went wrong

– I am not really happy about how the gameplay section in the second level turned out.
Because all there is in the level is a big playground and enemies spawning from all directions the action does not feel right to me. The player tends to feel disoriented, does not know from where the enemies are coming from and more often than not ends up being killed without knowing what really happened.
– The story and methaphors are not transmitted to the player as clearly as I would have liked.
Sometimes I did not know where to draw the line between being too cryptic and explaining too much. In the end I think my story is very fuzzy and the player can end up with the impression that she did not understand anything…
– Ideally I would have liked to implement the 5 levels I had designed but realistically there was not enough time…

Conclusion

I am always happy to join a Game Jam and have a game at the end of it. I hope to finish the rest of the levels some time in the future.

You can download D_R_E_A_M_S from dinosaurisback.com and from itchio.

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