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  • Postmortem: TILTit

    - Mathias Berglund
  • Since it's likely that you haven't heard of it, TILTit is a physics driven falling blocks puzzle game on a see-saw where your performance shape a city over 20 levels. It's also my debut game made in the spare time and on holidays on the side of my fulltime job as a teacher in upper secondary school over the course of the last one and a half years. TILTit released on Steam, October 18 2019.

    An example of a fairly high-scoring performance 

    What went right?

    Keeping it simple

    Being a self-taught solo developer doing everything in the spare time on the side of a fulltime job teaching upper secondary school social science, I had to keep my game as simple as possible in order to complete the project. After many false starts over the years I settled for a falling blocks puzzle game to keep the project manageable and to keep down the amount of workload on animations as well as the workload in the art and sound departments.

    Making the most out of small means

    After seeing Tetris Effect around 6 months into the development of TILTit I wanted to make more out of the backgrounds which then consisted of a checkered background that was planned to be tinted in different colors as the levels progressed. I wanted the backgrounds to have a similar variation to that of Tetris Effects various particle systems and animations.

    Early prototype after roughly six months of development in the spare time. Notice the lack of a hold block function as well as some of the asymmetrical symbols on the blocks that where later redesigned to symmetrical ones to improve readability for the player.

    However I still lack the technical expertise to pull off the amazing particle effects that Resonair and Monstars did with their game. Instead I replaced the checkered background with a with a slow moving retro neon 80:ies style grid with a sunset in the background and started to create color schemes for each level throughout the game. The idea was to have the background shift from warm to cold and darker colors as the game and difficulty progressed throughout players sessions. However the result felt empty.

    To counter the emptiness I started to think about various ways for the backgrounds to react to what the player where doing in game, as a means to create variation on top of the shifting color schemes. I went from having a graph being built in the background over the course of the gameplay to creating a set of buildings of different sizes from small cubes to illustrate small homes to towers depending on how many blocks the player removed at the same time or if the player built up chains by removing blocks in quick succession after another.

    An example on how variance in performance shapes the city in the background.

    Keeping to the plan

    A key to the success of actually finishing the game was to keep to the plan set out while developing the prototype at the beginning of the project. Ideally the plans should have been set even before the start of prototyping to get a more realistic sense of scheduling and what needed to be done.


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