At the end of October I web-released 'Curse of the Sock'! a spooky short 2d platformer for the Halloween Spooktacular.
I recently made a last update with some last tweaks, so it's a good time to give it a try!
This was a fun process so I just thought I'd dump part of my brain cells into a recap post, I hope it sounds interesting, let's go!
HOW IT STARTED
So halfway through October I was low on freelance work so I wanted to try to make something Halloween-esque, either an animation, or in the most ambitious case, a game. I began sketching a bunch of grotesque/semi-spooky creatures which could eventually fit into whatever I decided to make.
While I wasn't sure I eventually decided to goof around with Construct3 to see if I could get the basic elements working for a 2d action game, I had been playing a lot of Castlevania 3 (still can't beat that monstruosity!) and been wanting to do something in that line: A linear medium-paced platformer with combat elements. It didn't took long on Construct to prototype the most basic actions, I also wanted to add something I hadn't done before, so my personal "innovation" was... LADDERS!
The enemy characters I made before were good fits as enemy sprites, so after that I mostly focused on getting a main character working. While I can be an animation freak I tried restricting myself to limited frames on the main character, so instead of a 12 frames idle or walking animation, I ended up just doing 4, while it's faaar from fluent, I actually liked some of the 'snappy-ness' of the results.
Another thing I hadn't tried in games was a character with a 'melee weapon', most of my games have been projectile based so this was a bit new. I managed to get the concept of a basic disjointed hitbox on Construct as spawned boxes, while this can be polished a lot more for precission I think it worked well overall.
Flash forward a bit and by October 29: I had most of the player and enemies working, but no real levels! so I finally began sketching them out, I don't have much of a 'formula' for level design, so for me it's pretty much looking for ways to introduce and mix each new enemy and hazard, trying to leave something unique for each level. I aimed at making 6 levels, which looking back was a bit insane, even if they were short by 2d gaming standards, and finally decided to make 4 and a boss-only level, phew.
One of the super rough sketches I make when designing a level.
With the levels working I moved toward the extras from the priority list and found some extra time on the remaining hours of Oct 31 to both add a (visually and mechanically) simple boss fight, along with a story sequence, so that this weird nightmare made at least a liiittle bit of sense. A friend also helped me testing it out on a few versions trying to reduce both the unfair moments and exploits.
I also got help from my pal Moralo González who was again up to the challenge making a haunting organ song, there wasn't time for more level tracks but considering the length, one main theme with variations did the job.
It was a bit of an endurance, kind of a game jam but more spread out during 2 weeks so, mostly focused on the final one, and I uploaded in time here on Newgrounds!
I'd say I released the game in a functional and beatable state, but as usual it didn't go aaas smooth as planned, there was a good amount of issues!
So I went updating these details through the following days:
Unfair enemy placements - There were a few 'cheap' scenarios where you couldn't land without taking a hit because an enemy would just stick there to attack you.
Broken ladders - Ladders had hitboxes I didn't get to fully test, these could even trick you and make you fall to your doom instead of a platform, OH NO!! (we didn't find this when testing, just because we were used to just get off the ladder by jumping, goes to show, there's always room for more varied testing)
No Checkpoints? - While not a technical issue, this "oldschool" difficulty was on the higher side, and just for added challenge I released it with no checkpoints, you had the beat the whole level in one go! While achievable, this was asking a lot considering many enemies require some practice to learn their movement.
I could go on and on with more technical things, but that should give you an idea.
I just want to add how awesome the community feedback has been here, always great to find reviews detailing common and something super specific issues of the game, I read them all!!
LAST UPDATE (of the 'Demo' at least)
So finally last Sunday I made the last -unless something super breaks- update of the game! A good amount of things smoothed out, a little bit of maniac polish (like an extra idle animation if you wait, a blink here and there), visually hinted checkpoints, an 'ending' sequence, Language (Spanish) toggle, and even a little hidden passageway (more of an easter egg)!
And that's Curse of the Sock! As usual I'd like to see how it does, could be manageable as another project I could expand beyond the Demo, also let me know if you make a let's play video or something like that, those are always fun!
Any eventual updates will probably have to wait now because after the personal-project-weeks it's time to get back to work. Lulz.