Release & Post-Mortem

{This is the post-mortem I wrote on the Wizard Jam forums when the game was completed).


Like with most things on this project, I'm doing this write-up much later than I planned, but it worked out well, as I stayed up way too late last night (aka this morning) doing some bugfixes, UI improvements, and most importantly, a tutorial. When I "finished" the game on Sunday night, I was pretty happy to have just made a full, playable game, even if I knew there was still a lot of work that needed to go into it.   

The next day, however, the game dev group in my area hosted a Demo Night for projects in process. As others played it and I looked at the game after getting some sleep, it became clear how rough the game really was. There were playstyles I hadn't accounted for, some of the additions I had made the night before had broken other things, and the game was all but inscrutable to players without me walking them through it. Despite all that, once players got the hang of it, they seemed to be legitimately having fun, which was one of the coolest feelings. Taking the feedback from those players and my own observations, I went back in over the last few days and fixed some of the most glaring issues, and am pretty happy with the result.  

Since this is my first game jam as well as my first "shipped" project, there's nothing too technical to go into, so I'm just going to jot down some things I learned:  

- Scope: I've heard from multiple devs to scale down every project by 50%, and then do that again. If you're also in the middle of a big project at work and apartment hunting, halve it a third time. I don't think the scope of my game was unreasonable, if I'd been able to consistently work on it nights and weekends, that's just not how the last couple weeks worked out.  

- Prototyping: My original plan, which I did not accomplish, was to have the core mechanics by the end of the first week. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I should have shot for earlier. I could have saved a ton of time by realizing that my original ability system was too complicated, not to mention setting more informed priorities.  

- Experimenting: Speaking of the ability selection system, I probably should have just built the simpler version first. I was not entirely sure how to implement the more complex system, but thought the idea would be more engaging than the Tetris-like system I ended up going with. Not only was it not, I fell behind on my schedule, working on a mechanic I would eventually scrap.  

TLDR: When in doubt, make Tetris  

So ya, with that, I'm going to call this a Wizard Jam, though based on the feedback I've gotten so far, I'd like to keep working on the game. Since I'm a graphic designer first, I'm pretty bummed that I didn't have the time to put in the level of visual polish I wanted to, and there are still certain playstyles that kind of break the game. I would also love to add audio, enemy types, and maybe bosses, but right now I'm satisfied with the current package, and am already looking forward to taking part in Wizard Jam 6!


SignatureMoves_WizJam5.exe 3 MB
Jun 24, 2017

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