Woah! We won first place in the Metroidvania Jam 2!
The final two days of the jam were an utter rush for us. At about day 26 of 30, I had just about completed all the little systems and was busy polishing away at bits and corners of the game (I didn't find the adage the last 10% is the last 90% of game making to be true, but darn it the last 10% of a game that consists of polishing is really tedious!) This mainly consisted of simple menus had to be made to look good instead of white letters on black rectangles, save games had to load correctly, transition screens required improvement. etc. etc.
Only the Slime King Boss had been made at that point. Then my music composer passed me the intro scene music and man, that was inspiring. From there I created two more bosses, and then, then I really felt we had a game.
But now we only had some 24 hours left to ensure that the game was complete: absolutely rigorous play testing, stamping out as many bugs as I could find, more refinement of menus and presentation, my son refused to sleep well, day job called me in 2 hours extra, mother in law wanted help running errands etc etc. It was intense. The final day, I was up at 4.30am coding and coding all the way to midday, and back just an hour before the deadline to tie up the very last loose ends. My music composer also threw his weight in by coding an outtro sting in the last few hours.
And we did it!
Yes, there were a bug or two lurking that we didn't find. But phew - nothing majorly game breaking or badly distracting turned up.
All in all, it has been a mammoth piece of work for me. The future of Alchemist's Mountain beyond here is uncertain if I were to be honest.
In its current form I feel it's a neat game. It's got a light and attractive aesthetic It has the potential for some epic scenes and feels.
The core game loop is still my main concern: the energy system is not as intuitive or attractive a system as I hoped it would be. Now either, that is simply because people are not familiar with the concept, and simply we needed clearer and better refinement of it. And it would be a neat innovative system. Or it is fundamentally broken somewhere and cannot serve as a core game system. Much more play testing will be required to know for sure.
Also the game has to deliver on its promise of a wistful adventure scaling a terrible mountain. Metroidvania's are founded on a lot of atmosphere and story building. For the developer that equates to a lot more investment into story, art, and graphics than say... a puzzle game? I suspect for this game to be developed in a reasonable time (I would consider 6 months maximum 1 year reasonable) I would need the help of at least 1 more pixel artist and funds to pay said artist as well as sound/music composition.
As is I will be doing polishing of this game. Probably some graphic updates (like proper Boss death animations). There were a couple of game mechanics, such as teleporting back to the last camp site that I did not have time to implement but that would have really helped streamline some gameplay.If there is enough interest in the game, I might even put some effort into tweaking and communicating the energy system better.
Well that's all folks. Till the next game! Catchya.