Popeatron postmortem

popeatronWords: Pope, Traffic jam

Description: My plan for this was to make a “god game” where you help the pope in his neat car navigate through a mass of people or cars or something.
I did some reading up on flocking behaviour because I figured that’d be a nice emergent system much like the springs/IK stuff I’ve used in previous games. Pretty soon I found Boids. A very neat way of simulating flock/school behaviour, I also found some pseudocode which greatly helped in implementing the technique in Flash. However there was a problem, it was too slow for what I originally intended to use it for. I barely got 25fps with pink box graphics and 20 Boids scuttling around. I wanted a lot more. I did manage to push the fps a bit by using various optimizing techniques, but it still wasn’t anywhere near fast enough for large crowds.

What went right: The game sure has potential for emergence and the crowd does look real nice. I also like the graphics for the characters, a nice background and it’d look very nice. I did also manage to code a couple of neat functions I was able to reuse in the later games as well.

What went wrong: I focused way too much on the Boids simulation. Nice coding but I never really took time to stop to think about gameplay. Something I could have realized early on was that collision detection, or rather keeping the Boids
from colliding with for instance cars would be a problem. However I didn’t really consider this until it was too late. I spent a full day trying to make a game of it and it just wouldn’t “pop”.

Conclusion: Too much focus on the simulation and far too little on the actual gameplay was this games downfall. I can’t really see this game going anywhere in it’s current state, the simulation is nice, but the actual gameplay quite frankly sucks.

Posted in Postmortems |