Posts Tagged ‘postmortem’

Did you miss us?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Hi guys, long time no see.

It's been a while since we came here and write, and we want to share why.

What happened

By the end of 2012, after we finished Clash of the Olympians to Android and iOS working hand in hand with Ironhide Game Studio, we had no ideas to work on. We weren't really excited in working by ourselves anymore because we didn't feel we could create something of the quality of Clash. Also, we really enjoyed working with Ironhide's team. In addition, Ironhide was looking for programmers and they told us they enjoyed working with us as well, so they offered us a job and we couldn't refuse (and we are still glad we did not).

Working at Ironhide

Two words: Indescribable awesomeness.

We are part of an excellent and diverse team composed by artists, developers, game designers and more. The workplace is comfy and the game development workflow is pretty dynamic. We can participate in a lot of game decisions and that rocks!

Working really close with artists allowed us to validate how much we needed one at Gemserk to define ideas and visualize, in an easy way, how our games should look like. It also works as motivation since you really want to see that art in the game.

Game design was another flaw at Gemserk, and we now see and understand it much better.

We learn new stuff each day and we also collaborate and share our knowledge to make the game and the team better. And at the end of the day, that feels really good. We hope it lasts long.

What about Gemserk

As company, Gemserk is kinda dead. We never reached what we wanted with our creations, and in those terms, we weren't successful. However, we don't see Gemserk as a failure either since we accomplished a lot in terms of technical knowledge and relationship with other game developers and tool makers and we are really happy with that.

We have no plans to work on anything Gemserk related for now but we believe we still have some stuff to share.

Thanks for reading our blog and hope we could still write interesting posts in the future.

The Gemserk team.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Our participation in Global Game Jam 2012 Uruguay

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Uruguay decided to join the Global Game Jam 2012 (GGJ12) for the first time and we (as Gemserk) decided to join them.

The Global Game Jam is an event where all around the world people get together in different locations and split into teams in order to make games in 48 hours following a theme set by the organizers.

This year, the theme was this picture:

Ouroboros

That image represents the Ouroboros which represents the perpetual cyclic renewal of life, the eternal return, and represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth, leading to immortality, as in the phoenix.

The Team

Our team was composed game by José Pedro Gioscia (The Artist), Washington Miranda (Programmer) and us (both Programmers). Hernán Gonzales Martinez from Tono Sound Production provided the music and sound effects for our game, he did the same thing for most of the other teams on our location.

The Game

The game was named Medusa - “La viborita multiloca”, you play the game as a serpent on space and you move horizontally around a cave eating or being hit by other monsters. Whenever the monsters or the obstacles hit your body it breaks from that point. If the remaining part of your body is too short, you are weakened and can't eat monsters anymore. You die if you hit an obstacle or hit a monster while you are weakened.

The interesting part of the game is that after death comes rebirth. When you die, you revive at the start of the level with an echo of your past lives. They will help you in your journey eating the monsters in their path but they will leave parts of their bodies as new obstacles when they are injured.

Right now the game has no defined objective, it is more an experimental test of the mechanics and when you play you make your own objectives enjoying going through the random level and interacting with your past lives on the world.


Play the game online, or download a runnable jar to play it. Control the snake with the arrow keys.

Conclusions about the Global Game Jam

What went wrong

  • Ironically even though the venue was in a building of the biggest ISP on Uruguay (Antel) the wifi sucked, it used a captive portal method of authentication and forced you to reauthenticate all the time, luckily we could steal the LAN connection from some unused PCs.

What went right

  • We delivered a finished game
  • We were able to meet and talk with lots of people that are working locally in the video games industry (Batoví, Powerful Robot, Belfry Games, Sebagames).
  • We were finally able to get to talk a little with Pablo Realini from IronHide Game Studio makers of the awesome Kindom Rush, who confessed that he is the biggest fan of Gemserk ;)
  • The whole organization and the people who coordinated the GGJ in Uruguay were awesome, the venue was really nice, we had food and drinks available (from the second best carbonated beverage and the second best big burger chain).
  • Everyone on the jam was really nice, included our team members, there were no problems between the participants, and it was great meeting all of them.
  • This was the first time we worked face to face with an artist.
  • We had fun :-)

Advice for other jams

  • Take your time to refine your game idea, don't just start implementing right away, think a little about how will the gameplay work, what will the player do, how will he feel when playing, are the mechanics natural, how will you explain them, etc.
  • A good way to split work between programmers is to make small prototypes of different parts of the game (in our case we started prototyping the snake behaviour while we were building the skeleton for the rest of the game)
  • Try to rest, trying to stay up both nights of the event will be too much for your body to handle, and you will be tired and it will be difficult to concentrate, making you make lots of mistakes. In our case we went home to sleep on Friday night after we had defined the game idea, and we started Saturday morning well rested.
    • Play the other games for the GGJ12 from Uruguay here.

      We hope you like it.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Ludum dare 22 - Leave me alone!! - Post mortem

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Leave me Alone!! was my game for Ludum Dare 22 introduced in this post, now I want to make a small post mortem as I did for my previous Ludum Dare games.

First of all, I was about to not enter this LD because I couldn't spend all the weekend to develop a game but in the end I did because I didn't want to break the habit.

As I explained in the previous post (it has images and videos), Leave me Alone is casual game where you use the mouse (on PC at least) to move an orange particle which has to be isolated from incoming blue and green particles with different behaviors.

LD rating stage finished the previous Saturday and these are the results for my game:

	#114	Fun		3.04
	#168	Community	2.93
	#380	Overall		2.62
	#409	Innovation	2.28
	#458	Theme		2.35
	#519	Humor		1.42  (how??)
	#585	Coolness	17%
	#592	Mood		1.61
	#594	Audio		1.00
	#650	Graphics	1.68

What went wrong

  • Didn't like the theme Alone too much and my first ideas in mind were too complex.
  • My dedication time was limited and I couldn't work a complex idea instead the one I made, or even spend more time to add more value to the selected idea.
  • Didn't dedicate too much time to gain visibility (more info later).
  • My graphics were too simple, there is no background, no effects, no nothing. There are no sounds either.
  • I made a timelapse but I was out all the time and it sucks so I never uploaded it to youtube.
  • Didn't worked on the Android version controls and current one is almost unplayable, that means no Android players.

What went well

  • Even though I had little time to spend on the game, I refine one of the possible game ideas to make it smaller and be able to finish it on time.
  • Game is fun despite being small and simple (could be better of course).
  • The game had some visibility even though I spend almost no time in promoting it (more info later).
  • Even though some people "called me crazy" :P for using a physics engine for a game like this one, I believe it was a correct choice since I know Box2d enough to simplify my life. For example, all movements in the game are made using forces on each body (the particles) and the result is a good simulation of a real movement. Also, all collision logic is solved for me so I have to code less.

How to get visibility to your game

When you make games in LD you have to make other LD participants to rate your game since is the only way to get rated. There are different ways to improve the visibility of your game:

  • Have already a lot of visibility, for example, if you are a known celebrity like Notch (soooo many comments) or Kevglass, between others, your game will be played (at least I will play them).
  • Make a great game (the main idea of the LD), then people will start to make comments about it, tell to friends, make blog posts, etc.
  • Promote the game during the development by making blog posts on LD blog, record timelapse and stream your development, between other possibilities, this allows you to get a lot of players when the game is released.
  • Promote it by making it easy to play, maybe an online mutiplatform version (applet or flash), if you make your game only for win7 with XNA 8.0 you will probably lose some potential players. Make a good gameplay video too so people could watch your game without having to play it, maybe you could even convince them to install XNA 8.0 to play your game ;)
  • If you have time after development, play other LD games, rate them and make comments about them because this is one of the best ways to get other participants to play your game and, in the best case scenario, to rate it and even make comments.

In conclusion, it always feels nice to participate in LD, and I am happy with the game I did Although I had not so much time to spend. Next time maybe I could do better.

Hope you like the post :D

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Vampire Runner score on Ludum Dare 21

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Ludum Dare 21 is finished and rating time too and we have the rating results.

Vampire Runner was #290, not so good as other of our previous Ludum Dare games, but on the other hand there was a lot of games in this one, almost three times the games of the previous Ludum Dares.

Here are the scores Vampire Runner got in this Ludum Dare:

Position	Category	Score

#87		Community	3.22
#144		Coolness	4%
#159		Fun		2.94
#168		Humor		2.18
#290		Overall		2.75
#305		Graphics	2.50
#339		Audio		1.29
#345		Innovation	2.38
#450		Theme		2.00

Now, I want to share a small post mortem of the game and explain why I feel the score is what I expected.

What went wrong

  • As the game started like some kind of Canabalt clone, because my lack of imagination, I was a bit unmotivated so Saturday progress was really slow and unproductive.
  • I feel I lost too much time making the vampire animations and forgot about the environment assets.
  • The game lack of audio and that goes against the Ludum Dare score.
  • I forgot to reflect inside the game the connection with Ludum Dare's theme.
  • Missing on-line high scores: it shouldn't be so hard to add it as I have Face Hunt (and other games) experience but I was a bit lazy and didn't. One reason to have this one is to make the game more competitive and also to know who is playing the game.

What went right

  • On Sunday, I almost restarted the way I was making the game and focused on making it really small and fun. It kinda worked.
  • Making the game available on a lot of platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows and Android.

Conclusion

I totally agree with the score of the game because I started with no motivation and for that reason I didn't tried so hard, obviously that goes against making a good game. Here is a list of why I agree or not with each score.

  • Community: I shared a lot of stuff: source code, timelapse, made it work on multiple platforms. I believe that counts as community rating, so 3.22 is right for me.
  • Fun: Game IS fun (at least I feel that and some other people does), so 2.94 is right for me (maybe a bit more).
  • Humor: Game has a bit of humor when the vampire explodes, and maybe the vampire graphics are funny too, but only that, so 2.18 is right for me (even more than I expected).
  • Graphics: Only the vampire animation is something worth to value here, the background and obstacles are not so cool, so 2.50 is around what I expected.
  • Audio: Game has no audio, I am not agree with the score of 1.29.
  • Innovation: Game is almost a clone of Canabalt with some modifications, it has a bit of innovation but not too much, so I agree with a score of 2.38.
  • Theme: If you read the game description, it says what was the intention of the theme connection but as I failed to reflect that inside the game I believe 2.00 is right for me.

Thats all, hope you like it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Ludum Dare 19 Results

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Well, Ludum Dare 19 is finished, obviously Discover the Way didn't won any category, but at least we have some feedback.

The game made position 58 of 133, this is its rating:

Inn Fun The Gra Aud Hum Ove Com
3 3 3 4 2 - 3 -
2 3 2 3 2 2 3 5
4 3 2 3 2 2 3 3
3 3 2 3 3 - 3 3
2 1 1 3 1 1 2 -
3 4 5 3 - 2 4 5
2 2 2 3 2 1 2 -
2 3 2 4 2 1 3 4
3 3 1 3 3 - 3 3
4 5 3 4 3 1 4 3
2 2 1 3 3 - 3 3
3 3 2 3 2 2 3 2
3 3 2 3 3 - 3 3
3 1 1 3 2 - 2 2
3 3 3 3 2 - 3 4
4 2 4 4 4 - 3 4
2.88 2.75 2.25 3.25 2.40 1.50 2.94 3.38

Follow the link to the game page at the contest if you want to see users comments, remember though that people rated the first version which was not polished nor balanced enough.

Here you can see all Ludum Dare 19 results.

Some final thoughts:

First of all, I really liked the idea of the game, but on the other hand I knew it wasn't going to win. However, I believe I made some mistakes that made the game have a worse rating.

The first mistake was the name, I named the game Discover the Name because I had no game by that moment, I was deciding what to do and though it was a funny name. After realizing the main objective was to discover a safe path between two points, then I thought to change the name to Discover the Way or Discover the Path, to give the player an idea of what he has to do, but I didn't. That caused confusion to the players because they were expecting they have to discover a hidden name, not a hidden path.

Another mistake was to be to lazy to make some balance to the game before the contest ends, I finished the game about 2hs before but I was tired so I entered that version. The day after, I took less than 1hr to balance it a bit, and the game changed a lot, it became more playable and it gave more importance to the main objective because the player couldn't take shortcuts to the targets any more, he has to discover a safe path, that is the real relation to the contest Theme (Discovery).

The third mistake, less important than the others was to remove the gameplay video from the game's page. The game's entry allow contestants to put only 5 links. At fist I put a link to the game, to the source code, a link to our blog, a link to the a gameplay video and a link to the jam version of the game, but after I uploaded the timelapse video to youtube I had to remove one of the links and the gameplay video seemed to be the best choice because I had a link to it inside our blog. That was a mistake because new players watched the gameplay video to see what they have to do in the game, it was some kind of tutorial, without it players felt disoriented.

I made a short postmortem at Ludum Dare's blog, follow the link if you want to read it.

That's all, thanks for reading.

UPDATE: added game position and updated link to Ludum Dare 19 results in order.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)