No Fish To Die was my first experience in a Ludum Dare Game Jam. I've participated in game jams before, but this one was very last minute for me (I didn't even realize LDJam was happening until I saw Quill18's video that Friday morning). But it was still a ton of fun and I'm super glad I chose to do it. And now that it's over and I'm starting to get feedback, I figured it would be fun to do a little postmortem.
What went right?
Honestly, most things went really well here. The concept actually came pretty quickly, though I did fear using a fish wouldn't be unique enough (and from the other games I've seen far it wasn't...), but I do think my particular take on the LD46 fish sub-genre has been pretty unique. I'm also happy with how the whole fish mechanic came together. I really wasn't sure how to implement it, by my first approach worked almost flawlessly.
I think the most surprising feedback I've seen so far is on the graphics. I am NOT an artist. I was happy with how the art turned out, but I really didn't expect anyone to compliment it, so that was a very nice surprise! If anyone is curious I used the Sweetie 16 palette from Lospec. I actually think it was the limitations of the sprite size (16x16) and the small color palette that helped the art look halfway decent.
What went wrong?
I didn't have time to test the game as much as I would've liked to. Fortunately, I was able to make a few bug fixes and code tweaks, but the initial release had some sort of math error (I think) where jumping wasn't working as intended for some people. Lessons learned for sure!
But the biggest feedback on the game has been extremely clear: it's too difficult! I really didn't expect that to dominate the feedback. Had I been able to do proper play testing I probably would have caught that and made changes. But in the meantime it's definitely another lesson learned.
I haven't decided yet if I want to make changes and release an updated version of No Fish To Die. Based on the feedback I would obviously start by flattening the difficulty curve. I think I'd want to add more content as well. I built the levels sequentially, so the reason those springs don't appear until later is simply because I didn't think of the idea until then. But launching the fish off those springs is easily my favorite part of the entire game, so I'd want to add more of that. That said, I'm not even sure it's worth developing further. Difficulty aside, it feels like the perfect length for what it is, so adding more content might take away from its original charm as a little game jam piece. I think I'll let the idea sit for a week or two and then revisit it.
My key takeaways from this:
- Play testing is crucial
- Difficulty is too difficult to judge when you're the creator
- Creative limitations can help a bad artist make decent looking art
Get No Fish To Die
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