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  • Postmortem: Altidudes

    [04.06.21]
    - Jonathan Ribarro

  • Game Versions

    What Went Right

    The PC version went off without a hitch, and everything worked as it should have without anything unexpected cropping up with the technology/computer. I was able to get Android and iOS versions working, which in itself was a miracle, because I had never worked with mobile porting before. As much as I hated working on those versions, they played well all said and done, except for a couple bugs that are still sticking around. 

    What Went Wrong

    I hate working on mobile. I respect the heck out of everyone who actually does that for a living, but I would rather cut off all my fingers individually than do that again. There was just so much stuff I didn't know, so many problems, so many programming languages, engines, quirks, and subtleties that I had to learn, research, and debug by myself. It was an absolute nightmare, and I hope if I have to do it again I can at least drag someone down with me, heh. 

    Art

    What Went Right

    I did all the art in the game on my own, with the in-engine art tool.  I want to preface this next part by saying I do not consider myself a good artist, at least I didn't until I worked on this game.  Prior to Altidudes I didn't think I had an artistic bone in my body, but I got a lot of feedback later based on what I did and people seemed to really like the art and how it looked. I was really happy to hear that, because it meant this game had one good thing going for it.

    What Went Wrong

    The art didn't just end up looking like the final version, it went through a lot of iterations, and ate up a lot of days that I worked on the game. For some reason, it also took me a really long time to come up with the black outlines on all the characters. Turns out, having a white character up against a bright blue/green background does not work.

    Audio

    What Went Wrong

    I wanna start with the wrong because it got much better. So I attempted the audio myself, and used the in-engine audio tool. Outside of programming, I don't have much talent for other things, but I'm game to try anything and learn. I tried my best with the audio and studied early arcade games to see how they sounded, and I tried to replicate it but there was just too much I didn't know. I had a couple of tracks, but they just didn't have any of the spice I knew the game deserved. So, I hired someone, and this is where it gets good

    What Went Right

    Bert Cole is an incredibly talented composer who made the entire OST for Altidudes. When I first heard the tracks he had for me, I was blown away by how much better it was than mine. He was running a promotion on Itch.io and happened to get an email, so I debated it, knew my music was unworthy, and I paid up. It was a very good decision, because everyone who played the game from then on had good things to say about it. A couple of my SFX made it into the game, but Bert helped out with those too and they were also better than mine.

    Testing

    What Went Right

    I really hit the lottery with my friends, because they turned out to be great testers. One friend in particular has a no-BS personality, and he isn't afraid to tell it like it is. True honesty is imperative for testing, and you can't use yes-men who are gonna coddle your ego when you are trying to make a game that feels right for your average gamer. Although some feedback hurt to hear, I needed it to make the game good. As a result, the game is much, much better off than it would have been if I didn't have any external testing at all.

    What Went Wrong

    I didn't have a great system for logging feedback, and I did it all with Trello cards. I should have taken some time to develop some kind of streamlined way of doing it, but by the time each version rolled out and I got a chance to talk to the testers, I just hacked together whatever I could in a few minutes then organized it a bit later. In retrospect I probably could have used some other software or service to handle all that, but I don't really know of any, so Trello it shall stay.

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