Greetings and salutations!
The competition is over, and the results are in. I came in thirteenth out of twenty--not a result that I'm happy with.
So, what went right, and what went wrong?
What went right:
Once again, I'm overall rather happy with my engine of choice. There were a few difficulties to deal with, but I think that it served me well in this.
- Vertex colours:
By simply painting the vertices of my enemies, I was able to roughly colourise them without creating individualised texture-maps. The resulting appearance is a little basic, perhaps, but I feel that it was appropriately expedient! However, see below under "what went wrong"...
This is a field in which I've previously had pretty poor scores, as I recall. For this year's Week of Awesome, I set aside my old source for royalty-free music, instead turning to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech. It's a well-used source, but I found music there that I feel fit my game rather well, and the scores given (sevens and eights out of ten) seem to support this.
What went wrong:
Simply put, the game is perhaps just a little too big for the time allotted. Had I had another two days to work on it, I suspect that my entry would have been much better.
Aside from various bugs, the level was rushed--I think that I only spent somewhere around five or six hours on it in total.
Indeed, I recall that right at the start I had reservations about the scope of this project--but at the time I had no other concepts that I was sufficiently happy with and that fitted the themes well.
My thinking at the moment is that, for future jams, I should perhaps look for a concept that I feel that I can complete in five days; if I find myself with only a concept that seems too big (as was the case this year), I should perhaps nevertheless set it aside and keep looking.
- Vertex colours:
Unfortunately, I managed to miss a caveat in the version of Panda3D that I was using: Simply put, when a shader that uses vertex colours is applied to a model that lacks them, the result is undefined. On some machines--including the two on which I tested--the result is white; as I was using the colours, this more or less amounted to "no change", and thus looked fine, I believe. On other machines, as it turns out, the result is black. Since the majority of the level has no vertex colours, this meant that all looked well on my end, but for some of the judges the environment (and the player's on-screen hand) turned pitch-black, rendering navigation somewhat problematic.
- Projectile appearance:
I fear that I spent a little too much time attempting to get my projectiles to fit the look that I had in mind for them. It might be wiser in general for me to think of the game as a prototype, and not spend quite so much time on such elements of polish unless there's time to spare at the end.
(Although I do feel that the scoring category for graphics provides incentive in the other direction...)
That's all for now, I think--stay well, and thank you for reading!