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Post Mortem for Scribble Worm

05-03-2011, 02:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Boston
Posts: 107
Post Mortem for Scribble Worm


I wrote up a summary of the development of the iPad version of Scribble Worm, which is waiting for review right now. I talk about estimates, play testing, mostly failed marketing, and the tools.

We don't seem to have a general post mortem thread on this board, so new post!
05-04-2011, 06:13 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 162
Thanks for sharing. Learned a thing or two

2D game artist for hire: www.Shadow-Embryo.com

05-04-2011, 06:52 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 240
I like postmortem.
( I like to read them in the Game Developer magazine too ).
05-04-2011, 08:30 AM
Golden Hammer, just read your post-mortem. Very nice work!

I notice you're in the Boston area... I'm a bit north, in NH. Seems isolated up here, at least I haven't seen or heard of any local iPhone or indie game groups or meetups. You say there's an indie meetup in Boston? Where and when, would love to drive down sometime and say hello!

At the very least I'd like to chat with you as a local indie, maybe have a drink and talk about design, programming, the app store, all that fun stuff!

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05-04-2011, 09:55 AM
Game looks good - your first post-mortem point about underestimating the size of the game rings so true from my experience making Lead Wars, which is also pencil+paper stylie. I think there must be a universal misconception that doodle-art equals a simple easy-to-make game

Some observations from watching the video, feel free to ignore as they are just my humble opinion:
  1. Increase the art contrast - especially the black looks way too feint. Also maybe thicker (as well as darker) edges? I had a similar thing with my game (being also entirely pencil-drawn graphics on paper) so added a choice of pencil lead blacknesses in the options and gave things thick edges.
  2. Make the worm make various "ow!", "arrgh!" and "mmmph!" noises when getting hit hard and thrown around. This will add to the comic effect.
  3. I like the Rhubarb and Custard wobble-vision animation (like Crayon Physics and JellyCar), but only the red lethal-barriers wobble. I understand why (they are lethal) but it still seems inconsistent - either it should all wobble or none at all. Am guessing this is legacy from when everything was still black+white and you needed a way to distinguish them but not needed now you have colour.
  4. It's not very clear from the video what the user actually does (do they steer the worm like in the game Snake, or just draw worms and they go off on their own?)

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05-04-2011, 02:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by Golden Hammer View Post
We don't seem to have a general post mortem thread on this board
Seek and ye shall find..

Moido Games Ltd
Our games: Hopido | ReaXXor | Wordspector
05-04-2011, 02:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Boston
Posts: 107
Wow wasn't paying attention there, sorry guys. I got a surprise email from Apple that we just got approved, so I'm now scrambling and waiting for it to actually show up in the store.

CommanderData: BostonIndies.com - It's a huge group (gets about 60 people) that meets once a month. You should definitely make the drive down to see it at least once. I know we're looking for a bigger space to make it easier. Most of the organizing is on google groups, but you should be able to get an invite to that by mailing info@bostonindies.com.

1) I'm going to have to tweak a lot of the art for the iPhone version to get it to look ok on the non-retina screens, so I'll keep that in mind. Part of the problem is I recorded the vid on Mac and the outlines don't look so good when the window is scaled down.
2) They make a cute buzz sound when they hit the kill walls. I was afraid to go overboard on the bounce sound so I left it out, which may have been a mistake. I can try out adding some more little worm reaction sounds for other situations.
3) I was going for an electrified field look on the red walls. You're right it is a little inconsistent with the rest of the game but it does make them stand out.
4) What you do: Doh! It's not a great thing that you can't tell from the video . So there's a little draw area at the bottom of the screen where you trace out a pattern. The worm will then repeat the pattern once you set it loose. Also, small worms move faster.

Last edited by Golden Hammer; 05-04-2011 at 02:37 PM.
05-05-2011, 02:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Munich
Posts: 1,137
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Excellent post-mort (although the game itself is hardly dead : D)
'Twould be an excellent thing if more developers were more talkative not only about their project but about their process. The community at large benefits by learning from another's mistakes, and the dev also has a great chance for constructive feedback from a community of talented peers.

I've placed geocached DRM-free USB copies of my newest game in various locations throughout Europe and Southeastern US. Email me if you find 'em for the free "explorer" cape.