Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ManaGen postmortem

ManaGen has been a success!

It currently has 113 downloads on download.com, and for the past two weeks has been #5 in the action puzzle game category download (in downloads per week). I thought it was about time, to do a post mortem.

What worked?
- Levels: I wanted to have a system in place that would let me develop a lot of levels at a relatively quick pace. The system I developed worked out great, allowing me to just paint a new environment per level. It gives the player 50 levels to play, while never having a repeating world.
- Co-Op: Funny thing is I almost didn't have co-op! But that is what I'm all about, so there was no way I could leave out co-op play.
- Music: The sound track was great, Aidin did an amazing job. Also it doubled as giving me background music for the cinematic. I would love to bring Aidin back to do music for WK.
- Fun: It's fun! This was a big deal for me, when you make a puzzle game its hard to know its going to be fun, so the fact that its as fun as I hoped it would be is a perfect.
- Difficulty: Listening to my Beta testers I understood that it was very hard to get 100%, and in some levels near impossible. So i implemented Co-Op mode to take care of this. The game is still difficult, but you can jump in with a friend if the going gets tough.

What didn't work or could you have done better?
- Co-Op controls (in the 1.1.0 version): I didn't properly test co-op play before releasing the first build. The throw button was broken, and that was an unacceptable problem. Next time, even if a feature goes in late, I will make sure it goes through the proper testing.
- Cinematics: I wish I had more time to make the Boss animate more. I changed my idea to hide the lack of time I was able to devote to his animation. I went with more humor in the intro, to hide the lack of actual animation in the animation.
- Menus: I wish I had put more time into my menu's being a cohesive system. They are all controlled differently, and the way i made the select screen stopped my from letting you play the game entirely without the mouse. I should have tested earlier, so i could have changed this and not had a problem.
- Controls: I wish i could have made pick up and throw the same button! I should have focused on making an inventory system to help make this possible.

Did you meet your expectations?
Yes, I was hoping to make a Action Puzzle game that was a quick pick up and play game, and fun, with a little humor in the Cinematics. I think I suceeded in that.

In closing
My biggest goal was to take a game from design to finish by myself. This was to show me that I could handle completing a project. I've watched too many games and mods get started and show so much promise and never get completed. I needed to be sure that wasn't going to happen here, now I know, and anyone interested in my company can see that at Algitt, if nothing else, we are Finishers.

----- Studio Update -----
I'm in talks with two publishers about funding for Warlord Kingdoms, I'll keep you posted as talks continue.

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