Tiny Tactics - Post Mortem

At the start of the year I set myself the target of making four games, with the plan to release one each quarter. Tiny Tactics was first game I started on and was due for release today. The big red "failed" label on the game page is a pretty good sign that things didn't go to plan.

What went right

Slim pickings here…

I got a lot of other things done

By mid-February I had a pretty good idea that things weren't going to work out. I kept going for another week, but my enthusiasm quickly disappeared so I turned my attention to other things.

I did manage to complete some game-related code:

  • Built a movement range calculator. This was quite fun to make, and the finished version supports multiple movement profiles and land types. This makes it possible to have characters that are fast on some types of terrain (such as paths) and slow on others (such as forests or sand).
  • Added autoloading of components to the Pangolin entity system. Previously components had to be declared in a configuration file, which was a pain when trying to quickly test things out. Component date can now be extract directly using reflection.
  • Built a tilemap and tileset converter for working with Tiled maps.
  • Created system for animating UI elements. This is something I've continuously struggled with, so I'm happy to have a slightly better way of doing things.
  • Created NPC's that walk around a map at random.

Still, I would have preferred a playable game at the end of everything.

What went wrong

Aiming too high

I haven't released an original game since "Mini Shinobi" at the start of 2017, but for some reason it seemed smart to try and build a collectible card game.

Not playing to my strengths

I can't draw. Collectible card games have a lot of art.

I can't design user interfaces. Collectible card games have a lot of UI.

It seems obvious when it's written down.

Not planning my time

With a 48-hour game jam, you have no option but to work hard and quickly. Three months seems like an eternity, but those hours quickly disappear if not properly scheduled.

Taking an "I'll work on it when I feel like it" approach was not successful.

Lessons for the future

Even though things didn't work out (at all), I still created some useful bits and pieces and learnt some new lessons. It's still a game I'd like to revisit, but next time I'd like to have a more complete plan.

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