Before it was too long, I wanted to dedicate a post to a game I made for the Construct 3 jam : 'DUCKS'! And share a few doodles because why not... -I have at least a few posts to make about Dinomelt, those may appear first in the blog- 'Ducks' actually got #1 game of last month... WHAAAT... So it's a good time for a little recap of making this little game in the Construct 3 Jam... Let's go!
Construct 3 Jam - Good Things Come in Threes
It took me quite a bit to figure out what to do with the 2-weeks game jam, a number-based theme was still too wide to settle down with an idea, so the 1st week was just planning for it and looking at ways of making something fun which could take advantage of the '3-theme', without seeming too obvious. A part I find pretty motivating in game development is character design, so I decided to do something related to 3 characters, I thought about 3 rats, 3 worms, 3 different birds, and at the end it was just fun to go with 3 different DUCKS..
I looked back at The Lost Vikings, which was a great inspiration for a three-character game, but I didn't wanted to do a platformer (because of 'Dinomelt fatigue') or something too complex for the jam like an inventory system like Lost Vikings had, so I started playing with an overhead perspective and simple asset ideas.
Then came the ducks!!, I doodled around and the result were 3 desings I liked and were varied enough, one is the 'well-rounded' duck, the other is a heavy "brick-like" duck, and the 3rd one is just a "floating"(in the levitating way) duck.Each one should be able to bypass a certain obstacle, but also have a 'weakness' in a way that they had to work together, so it was about time to hop into the program!
My experience making other C2 games (Mastica Astros and Dinomelt) was really helpful to quickly jump into development of the game, as I didn't have much issues with the basic movement behaviours, the character-switch mechanic, and implementing objects and animations.
The thing that took me the longest was making a system to efficiently define how the ducks would interact with each obstacle. that's where Construct's "families" came in handy, as they allowed me to put all ducks into one, and define all of their properties inside of the family, adapting it to each ducks' properties (Though (blocks bullets), Floats (goes over spikes), Shoots (shoots...)...).
At the end, I made 6 levels where the ducks were slowly introduced to avoid starting with too much information, and see how much I could do for a 1-duck or 2-duck puzzle before getting too high on complexity (at the left is one of the many sketches I did for each stage, looking for interesting but not so obvious ways of making a way for the ducks (and some random creatures around...)).
I found a little time frame to add a little backstory just for the sake of completion, I actually intended more 'cutscenes' between stages which could develop the characters a little more, but that didn't have much priority for the jam... and that was IT!
After seeing the response, level 3 and 6 got a bit insane because they came really overloaded with objects, and there was a danger of dying and having to restart the level by mistake! From this experience, puzzle design was all about managing layers of complexity, defining the given information, and finding the right interactions, so it really requires some more focused testing, which is something to keep in mind for further projects (or potential upgrades of this one!).
Another thing that bothered some players were the hitboxes as it was an unusual perspective to define them, and the speed of the ducks, especially on the later stages where ducks have to travel longer paths, and the chance of failure gets higher- which means, restarting again! oh well-...
That said, players really liked the ducks in general! And this was a fun side-project to work on. While I don't have plans of making an expansion right away, it's a fun premise to keep planning on.
SO, how well did Construct 3 do?
For the most part, it was mainly 'C2 with a more efficient/structured User Interface', As other jammers have mentioned, working with images' properties in different ocassions made the engine crash, but that's mostly bugs which should be checked by now and the upcoming versions.
That said, there are a number of more technical improvements I'd like to point out:
-Sprite animation editor is so much better to work with, pretty well structured, as an animator, this is IMPORTANT.
-On-stage animation previews and defining starting animations are both really helpful to check and solve simple issues.
-Exporting (nodewebkit and html) was really fast, and nodewebkit offering export settings was a huge improvement over the C2 process.
-Being able to share a remote preview of your game is pretty handy, I didn't used it that much, but just thinking about how much I web-tested my previous games (always exporting them, uploading them, linking them...) It's a really well recieved feature!
So that would be it for 'DUCKS', I hope it was an entertaining read, Tune in next week where I'll explore deeper into Dinomelt's origins, and until then, may the ducks be with you.