Friday, November 30, 2012

Post Mortem: Fat Men Can’t Jump

This is the first of hopefully many blog posts in which I dissect a game of mine after receiving feedback on it. The subject of this particular autopsy is my very first Flash game called “Fat Men Can’t Jump.” This game has the dubious distinction of being only one of two entries to the Game in Ten Days (GiTD) contest that did not get a single vote. Anyone who wants to try this game can find it here.

Most of the people who voted in the GiTD did not leave any feedback on my game. The few comments I received are like gold to me because they gave me clues as to what went wrong and what I could have done to improve the game. Below are the comments my game received with the names of the voters withheld.

A GiTD with an AI? Wow. Even if dumb. I wonder if plain holding space would remedy for “exact timing” :D
Hurray I won. But there is no replay value.
IDK how to bounce…
They may not be able to jump, but they can stick to the walls indefinitely. The collisions seem…broken in this game at the moment.

From what I can glean based on the above feedback, it seems that there are three main issues with this particular game:

  1. The game physics is broken. I must have spent only thirty percent of my total development time on the games physics and mechanics. Much of my time was spent on making art resources and figuring out how to customize the avatar’s appearance. Considering that the physics and mechanics of a game comprise its very essence, I should have spent seventy percent of my time on them instead.
  2. The mechanics of trying to hit the space key at the avatar’s precise point of collision was confusing to players. In my own play tests, I often found myself hitting the space key repeatedly in the hope that one of my key presses would coincide with the moment of impact. This does not make for good gameplay.
  3. The game is over fast. There are no additional levels or opponents to go up against beyond the first one.  Considering that the gameplay itself is bad, this may actually be a merciful blessing for my players, but the fact remains that people expect more from a game.

So there you have it – the three reasons why my first Flash game did not get any votes. If there are other reasons for it being bad, I’d love to hear them. I invite all readers who chose to try my game to post their feedback here. Your comments may help me improve my game development skills.

1 comment:

  1. Physics seemed right on. I hit space and got the reaction I expected at what seemed a natural and precise moment.

    The same is simply too short. Atari used to be nothing but games like this, but they at least kept going (usually infinitely) by simply adding some unimaginable level of difficulty the longer you played.