Light Quest - LD 48 Post Mortem I want to take some time to tell you about the programming of this game, what I thought I did right, what I thought I did wrong.
I also want to comment on what I think went well with the contest as a whole, and what I thought did not go well.
This was my first programming competition ever, I was told about this competition and thought it might be a good way for me to hone my programming skills while being put under pressure to complete a comprehensively build project in 48 hours.
I have been programming computers off/on since the late 80's, mostly for fun. I work in the MEDICAL FIELD (as a nurse) full time, and computers/programming is a hobby I enjoy. I have some experience programming in Python, Visual Basic, Visual J (limited), Visual C++ (Even more limited).
My goals prior to starting the contest:
1. Write a complete game, one that is playable.
2. Learn at least one new programming idea during the contest.
3. Develop a workable time management plan to accomplish #1, #2.
4. Learn how I can improve my programming by others comments.
5. Have fun while working under a great deal of self induced stress.
I did to some extent achieve all of the goals that I set out to do before I started
What went well:
After learning of the topic, I turned all of my monitors off, cleared off my desk and went to work planning what I would need to do in the next 48 hours. I spent about an hour coming up with the finished idea for the light and dark theme. I came up with the basic flow chart of how the program should run, how objects should work. I also came up with some basic sketches of what I wanted the basic art to look like. Planning the project went well.
When I came up with my idea, I gave myself several deadlines to be completed with specific portions of the program. Keeping deadlines I thought would help me maintain my goal of submitting a working project on time. I met all of my self-imposed deadlines. Managing time was another one of my strong points
When creating the music I needed something to emphasize the feeling of my program. I went outside the 'box' and composed all of the music 'free hand' without midi sequencing any of the sounds. This gave the music the free flowing sound that it needed. In creating the end theme song I chose a simple 1,1(+9),5,7 chord progression in E which made the guitar solo part come so natural (being an 80's rocker). I really liked creating the sound
What went not so well:
I had set up my development station with VB .net, and have found that coding sound, keyboard input using Direct X 9.0 was a piece of cake. I decided that this would increase my production time significantly and reduce the need for excess lines of code to play music or generate keyboard input. What I was not aware of was the need for the Direct X for Managed Code Update, February 2005, MSI to package with the code, so that it will run on different systems. Since I was not aware of this the final code and submission was put up without this. Some who have tried to run this program have complained about .net, etc... This was my number one worst mistake. The program will not run on computers without the Fix or the entire Direct X 9.0 development kit installed.
When I designed the game, during the designing of the game, I learned how to play the game well. What I forgot to implement in my game for difficulty is that I knew how all of the AI's would work in each level. I needed to factor in that the audience playing the game would not have programmed the AI's, so they would not know how they worked.
When I came up with the idea for light and dark, my original idea was very close to the topic of the contest. During the course of the contest, to make the game more 'fun' - I took out some of the elements that tied more directly to the theme. I actually found myself at 24 hours into the contest struggling because my game had deviated from the topic so much I needed to add some of the things I had taken away to make the game fit the topic better. This is another item I could have improved on.
Programming in Visual Basic. How I learned to program required many, many, many lines of code for the game to function properly. 7306 lines to be exact. By the time the competition was over, I was having issues with cramping from typing so much. 7306 lines of code correlates to 130 or so pages typed. This item did not go well, but was totally out of my control.
What went well in the contest:
The IRC Chat Room
If one aspect of the weekend went well, I enjoyed watching those who took a few minutes out of their schedule to chat with the others around the world who were in the same self imposed predicament that we all were.
The Organization of the Contest
There is no doubt that this contest well, well organized, well thought out. Kudos to those who sponsored the contest. I wish you well with all of the contests you host in the future!
What went not so well in the contest:
Well, not much went not so well in the contest, so I leave this part blank as I can.
If you have taken time to read my entire ramblings, thank you very much. I am very open to all of your comments both positive and negative. You may mail me with any questions you may have.
Will I ever enter this contest or a contest like this again, I am not sure. I want to thank all of you who took time to fairly evaluate my submission, who made me laugh in the chat room. I want to finally thank my wife and two lovely daughters for supporting me in this endeavor, even though I know that they will never understand why I did this.