#1GAM – Super Slalom – Downhill Skiing Puzzle

My latest game Super Slalom has been up for a little while but I’m aware that I haven’t yet written a post-mortem on here about it. An oversight which is being brought to my attention as the game was featured on the site Rock Paper Shotgun and thus my game has i think seen more plays today then any of my other games have seen in their lifetime, and as a result this blog has seen a bunch of new visitors.

So here for anyone visiting that is interested in the game, is a breakdown of the game’s creation process and thoughts on what might be on the cards if I get round to adding more to the game.

Super Slalom

First of all, I think I should say that this game was made possible thanks to Increpare for creating the amazing PuzzleScript . Puzzlescript is an in-browser tool for making tile/grid based puzzles. The tool lets you create games with 5×5 pixel tiles and a simple yet deep and powerful scripting language, I learnt it in a weekend and about a week later Super Slalom was complete. The language is basic, you create rules which run every turn and look for conditions such as movement, collisions and whether tiles are adjacent or in line (probably missing some here). Although you are restricted in this language, with thought, there is a lot that can be done with it, just look at the variety of games in the Gallery (the tentacle one or the getting dressed game are probably my favourites). 

I dunno where the idea came from. I was trying to come up with a game for the onegameamonth theme of flags, the first idea I tried to implement didn’t get off the ground. That’s when I found Puzzlescript, although a bit daunting to get into at first, you quickly come to understand the power of the tool. It basically strips away so much of the technical side of making a game and lets you run wild with the game design and level design, once you have your logic and assets made, you can then go crazy making as many levels as you can think of. I want to learn and eventually have a career as a game designer or something similar, so for me one of the most frustrating things in making my games is that I spend so much time; coding, making assets, looking for sounds, trying to fix bugs. With Puzzlescript I could spend more time in the game’s design. I kept thinking about the lessons I had learned, particularly the commentary in Portal 2 and how the designers tried at every turn to ensure the player was challenged, but always had the necessary mental tools needed to solve the puzzle.

I enlisted some help to carry out my first real playtests of any of my games. I handed my laptop over to my girlfriend Gemma and friend Chris and just let them play through some levels. Even with this small pool of playtesters, I got valuable insight, I saw where they got stuck, when they were confused, and had to make some big changes to the game to make sure players knew what was going on, what the consequences of their actions were before they made them and that there wasn’t anything too illogical.

And that was my game made. I put in some extra hard levels to try and challenge anyone who played it long enough. Really though I have seen in comments and i just have a general feeling that the game needed more levels. I was kinda excited to publish once I had something like a full game. More levels would be my main goal if I get around to updating it (Already half way through my GBJam game and I always have a bunch of ideas I wanna try out). Appart from that I haven’t found much else that needs improving besides the sound. There have been complaints that some sounds are a bit grating after the hundredth play (and I can see where they are coming from) and it could do with some music. I haven’t had any bug reports so I guess what the people want is more content.

Thanks to everyone who played

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