First things first: the Idea. We wanted to develop something which had few simple mechanics in it, and we wanted it to have a story structure, some kind of evolution throughout the game. We started brainstorming, but we couldn't put our fingers on any simple yet interesting mechanic, so we moved on to the story. We went back and forth on some ideas that came to mind, and we decided to settle for something along the lines of "Reigns" or "Sort the Court", and when we both cracked up laughing, we knew we had found our thing.
Soon as we started trying to put our ideas down into code though, we noticed that the free Game Maker 2 trial license didn't allow us to share the project betwenn computers... So yeah. We switched back to Game Maker Studio 1.4, since we actually followed some tutorial on Game Maker Studio and Game Maker language and it would've taken much more time to pick up Unity from scratch.
When it comes graphic style, we didn't actually plan anything for it and we had to stumble in the dark for a bit, until we settled for... Whatever it is now. We tried a little pixel art, but we soon noticed it didn't really fit with the game as a whole, and we didn't have the time nor capabilities to make it look more realistic than it does now, so we had to make do. Something we could have done, wasto pick a color palette and and an art style and stick to it. Also maybe sketch down how we wanted the whole thing to look like, and yet again, stick to it. ...On the bright side though, that's exactly what we did with our layout, and that works (we think)!
When it came to actual coding, we kinda bruteforced it all. It was a conscious choice, since we didn't have the time for fancy stuff and we knew it would've been best to keep things simple on the programmer's side. Or at least we thought so, since this thing kinda backfired on us, when we forgot to remove a debugging tool from the final product, and accidentally removed our post-it sound (which still floats around aimlessly in the game files). Other than that, though, we managed to not lose any time focusing on things that didn't make it into the final game.
Ultimately, what we feel this game neede the most was a good amount (or any amount, really) of play testing, which we couldn't manage to provide in any way other than playing it ourselves.
In hindsight, we should've made a "coolness" bar, or something that gave players one more reason to make choices and progress in the story, other than their curiosity and the small management portion of the game. Also giving the players more instant feedback on their choices and maybe an alternate endings systems, but we worked with the time we had.
Looking at our game now, we see we delivered the weirdness and nonsense we wanted, but not exactly in the way we planned to when we first sat down and talked about this. It should've been more tied to player choices and progression, and instead it now feels more like a railed system, which always progresses the same way.
At the end of the day, we'd give our own game 2 stars out of 5. We love it and had an incredible amount of fun creating it, but we didn't manage to deliver all of that to our players.
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