Posted by: bracehare | October 18, 2011

JobQuest: Reflections

Having completed my first full game in GameMaker, I suppose it is time to collect my thoughts on the subject.  Broadly, I will contemplate on what went right and what went wrong with the game, as well as what I enjoyed and did not enjoy about the development process.  Attached below is a link to the game, along with all the documentation created for it.  The game is essentially playable, albeit severely unpolished, and the GameMaker source material is included.


The game was meant to have a sort of bleak tone and to be frustrating.  As I didn’t have much control over the aesthetics there was a limitation to what I could do to implement this, but I am very proud of how the welfare office turned out.  The idea of forcing the player to wait for their ticket to be called in real time was, in a certain fundamental way, the centerpiece of the game.  I was overjoyed to get it working, and if I hadn’t managed to do so I don’t think it would be the same game at all.  I am also fairly happy with my intro sequence, which was a last minute addition, but which I think adds a huge amount of context to the game that was missing in previous iterations of it.  If you don’t know why you are searching for work, the gameplay proper becomes somewhat arbitrary.

As far as things I am unhappy with, the aforementioned aesthetics issue proved to be a disappointing limitation, even in terms of rather simple things like avoiding graphical artifacts.  I am also sad that I failed to make a game of the scope I had originally intended to, and that I failed to include dynamic NPC responses based on character health, which I feel would have contributed significantly to the overall tone of the game.  Less loftily, however, I am disappointed a bit in how rudimentary my item menu ended up being.  I was so happy to get it functional that I did little to improve it.  It is perhaps the best example of the game being unpolished, and has been shown to contribute to player confusion more than any other single thing.  It was so frustrating to work with it initially that I suppose I just developed a phobia of it, and moved on to other things, neglecting it in the process.

All in all this was good experience, and hopefully my next game will be a little more polished and a little more successful in attaining the goals outlined in the design document.

– Jessica Evans


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