Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.

Nathan

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Picking the details

We are planning to submit Grapple Buggy to the Dream Build Play 2009 competition in August. Weapon of Choice won third place in last year's contest, so we're certainly hopeful of winning, but there's plenty of solid contenders already swirling about such as Elysian Tail: Dust and Duality ZF.

While Grapple Buggy is far from complete we'll be submitting a subsection of the final game. This will include a full story with multiple endings, lots of enemies and bosses, and all the Mommy's Best fixin's such disgusting aliens and their viscera.


There's only a few weeks left which presents some interesting polish(not Polish) challenges. On what details do we focus now and what do we decide to fix after the contest submission? Sure all these things will be made great by the time the game ships, but we have to sculpt an amazing game now.

One example came about recently between the TrailFly and the LoogeySnare, two examples of the xenofauna within the game. Both need some extra polish, but there won't be time to commit before the contest to address everything. The LoogeySnare is a 'flavor' enemy for later in the game. His attack is currently too powerful and needs some serious time to rebalance a fight with him.

The TrailFly is nearly ubiquitous enemy which inhabits all sorts of caves and passes on VALD-END 317. The work required to improve him centers around making him attack more often, making his attack more obvious, and then rebalancing his flocking behavior to counter-balance the new attack.

I generally consider how often the player will encounter the gameplay and how long it takes to implement as most important. Sure it's probably more fun and cooler to fix the LoogeySnare, but he's encountered much less frequently. The changes to the TrailFly will be seen by the player constantly, and the improvement, while small will cumulatively pay off the most.

When it comes to gameplay optimization and polish, if there's a timeline, I balance ease of implementation with the impact of the change. And I almost always pick how frequently the player encounters the change as the motivating factor when picking which details on which to focus for a deadline.

4 comments:

Matthew Doucette said...

Thanks for the Duality ZF mention. Good luck in DBP09!

Geichz said...

I would really like to see Grapple Buggy have a larger difficulty tier - not necessarily anywhere close to as large as the difficulty tier that Duality ZF has - whether unlockable or not it seems to me that any substantial replay-ability depends on it. Plus I would have loved some kind of "insanely difficult" setting for Weapon of Choice (I'm thinking Castlevania 1 or 3 on second quest kind of difficulty level or at least upping the life of bosses & quantity/speed/life of non-boss creatures) no death-brushing alone would have taken the game to a pretty freakin insane difficulty.

It's something to consider - after all - remember back in the day how you'd get through a game hoping for a reward of some kind and it usually came in the form of a second quest of some sort, often humiliating the sh## out of ya on the first level,. I miss that :-) LOL

Geichz said...

Sorry I realized that this may not have been the proper place to post my last comment. Good luck with Dream Build guys(I was kind of surprised that you only came 3rd with Weapon of Choice but I guess that version may have been in early development.

Jeremy Eden said...

I wonder if Owlboy will be submitted? That'll definitely have a chance at grand prize.