Prototype Post-Mortem 1

Still on Eastern Time, so I wake up hours before my California hosts. So I made good on my intended laptop plans and prototyped this morning. I’ve done prototyping whenever there’s time between scrambling for jobs, but this time I’ve decided to do a post-mortem. My habit with making anything is to always end looking at things I still need to do, things I did wrong, things I need to learn. Typing up a Prototype Post-Mortem this morning helped put the prototype into context; for whatever rough edges, the thing I set out to do was done and worked (mostly), and even the flaws are just successfully building a list of things to learn. Good start to a new year.

prototype post-mortem 1: box toss


I went through a long debate after I started learning Game Maker on how to make a point & click adventure game from a completely side-view perspective. After spending some time thinking perhaps I could hack Game Maker’s path behaviors (designed for handling enemies) and setting up a system of different areas that set the character to different paths and different animations and different speeds, til I finally said “oh fuck this” and decided OEM would have keyboard-and-mouse controls.

It’s actually very refreshing to take puzzles I’ve had in mind, in some cases, for two years, and re-imagine them with more tactile controls. If the characters are going to move around with WASD, then the game in general needs to have a more direct-control feeling than your usual point-&-click game, so one of the first things I decided was that every inventory item should be throw-able.

So that’s what I was prototyping this morning. The two larger boxes are your player-characters. You switch between them with Spacebar. If either collides with the blue box, it gets “collected” (the instance is destroyed and a hasObject variable turns on in the character’s Step Event). If the object is in your possession, a mouse click with throw the object towards the mouse, and it will drop with gravity til it hits the ground.

By those criteria, everything is working. Here are the snafus:

-for unknown reasons, using Spacebar as the character toggle works but not using Tab. No idea why, need to check on the Mac when I get home and see if it’s just a problem with the Netbook’s Tab button.

-I was sloppy with collisions because I had trouble with them while making my MiniLD game. The blue block should use move_to_contact to make sure it always connects with the ground, but last time it made the collisions look funky, so I need to learn more about collisions before I sweat them

-biggest actual problem: if the purple block “collects” the little blue box, it’s still the red one that throws it. Must be some kind of glitch with the parenting – both blocks are parented to an oBox object that has all their movement and item-collection code so I don’t have to repeat anything. I’m assuming this causes trouble with triggering events on the oBox object – Game Maker seems to be running with the first oBox object it finds, not necessarily the one that triggered the event in the first place. I’ll need to ask advice on the TIGForums for that (if you have a solution, post it in the comments, por favor).

Otherwise, it worked fine, though for the number of objects I’ll have in OEM I might need something a little more elegant and streamlined, but at least this is functional.

As I make more prototypes, I’ll probably share post-mortems here. It’s hard to practice open development with an adventure game without spoiling the plot, but as long as we’re just working on mechanics, I can share the odd success story. Anything too integral to an actual puzzle will, of course, be kept under wraps.

New Year’s Resolution is to rock your fucking socks off. How’s it going so far?


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