Devtober 2019, Postmortem
Hello eveyone, lunzyde here!
I participated in the devtober challenge, and I must admit it got me back into the development rhythm I used to have when working on "PixelTwips" back in 2014. Unfortunately, since I got way too busy and overwhelmed, I stopped during the last week of October. But that doesn't stop me to write about how things went with this challenge, this is gonna be a long one to read (it even took me hours to finish...).
Quick note: This postmortem is about my experience with the devtober challenge.
Let's break it down!
How was your start on this challenge?
(Ahem... What went wrong...)
When I started the challenge, I just wanted to learn something new, thus I tried creating a new game. I remember that first day, thinking all day on what should I do, trying to come up with something to do and I didn't know what to make. All I had was a track I already prepared on FL Studio Mobile and that the game must have adaptive music, that was all I had. Later on that day, I was in the campus library for hours, still nothing on my mind until I thought about a moment during a audio course. This new game became about an ant...
Long story short, while progressively working on it, I felt really unsatisfied with what I was doing for this ant game. I felt that I didn't really prepare for it and that I was being very lazy on it, so I started to work on "PixelTwips" just to take a break from it, and the rest is history.
Here's the last thing I did for the ant game, I don't want to throw the game to the can just yet, maybe I'll work on it for the next devtober...
Did this challenge brought up anything good?
(What went right!)
You'd be right to think it has brought up some good, in fact it was a positive experience!
With the ant game, I did learn quite a lot of new things like how to use the pathfinding behavior, and even got the gameplay to interact with different layers including collisions. I was able to experiment with this game even if the end result was to abandon it.
"PixelTwips" was a monster of goodness, I was able to do so much that I'm happy about it! I implemented sustain jumps, but I also made a new feature called "Momentum" that gives the game a better gameplay experience. With this new feature in mind, I created new music tracks and even different versions for each of them, I even got the game's soundtrack on bandcamp.
Not only those two things, I worked on the user interface for the much needed facelift, brought back previous removed content, added new content as well, and fixed so many issues with the game. Even learned more on time scales while working on the Momentum feature.
What did you learn?
- Actively tweeting every day will bring you interactions, I got around 15 new followers, 5 replies and retweets, and over 100 liked tweets! Not mentioning the link clicks and poll votes I received on some of the tweets.
- Tweets with screenshots/video or a thread will receive more attention, the downside is that these tweets filled with content can take around an hour or more.
- On other social media sites, posting the devtober tweets would generate curiosity and engage conversations. However, this doesn't translate to twitter interactions, you won't get new followers or liked tweets (unless you got a big or loyal following).
- To be indexed on the Itch.io page search, you can't disable downloads even if it is just a web game. I believe this is what caused the game to receive an influx of people for a brief period of days, it must have been on the main page and different top results for a few hours. This influx didn't have a major impact, it was just page visits, plays and downloads.
- Your game's page needs to look unique/interesting in order to attract potential players.
- Posting a devlog on every game update will bring some attention to the game.
- In updates/patches, when players do not see changes that are easy to spot, they will ignore it. Before updating your game, try to have something that is easy to identify as a change, do ignore this if an update/patch is necessary.
- Breaks are essential to be happy, when you are taking breaks it's best to not worry about your game, burning yourself won't benefit you at all. The same can be said about sleeping, sleep at a good hour when you are able to be up early and well rested. Do not pull an all nighter, if you really want to do so, sleep at a reasonable time to rest up and wake up around 2 am. When awake, take a shower and eat well in order to feel rejuvenated, also make sure everything is relatively quiet once you start working.
- When you're having a quite busy week/month with your occupations, you need to have already in mind what are you going to do exactly in your game and how are you going to do it. If not, you are going to force yourself to do something or you will stare at your screen for quite some time, both of them do affect your mood and productivity negatively. Don't know what to do? Try and do something else that's productive, this could be either working on another thing or learning something new, this will help you stay active. Working on your game a little bit everyday is the best thing to do if you are overwhelmed.
- Game development can be fun, but most of the times it's a tedious and hard process to be in, do think of your game as a product rather than a project, in the end you are working on a game and you must understand that it is a job even if you are doing it by yourself.
I feel happy with what I've been able to accomplish these past couple of days, I have done a lot for "PixelTwips" in just the month of October, I feel that this game is almost reaching the end of its long development. I've had friends come up to me just to talk about my progress during this challenge and it has put a smile on my face, I'm genuinely glad that I was able to participate on this challenge even if the last week was difficult for me to work on the game. Looking forward to get involved again for the next devtober!
Thanks for reading my postmortem, hope you have learned something from it!
If you wish to check out my other postmortem-esque devlogs, here they are:
Or if you just want to see what i did every day of the challenge, check out my twitter:
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