A little later than promised. Here is my little list of things I have done for Alien Invasion until to now. I have translated and pooled the tasks, to make it more readable for you. All figures are calculated in work hours.
Protoype and design
10 hours design sounds ok for this little game, but honestly I should have put much more thoughts in the concept. That could have saved me a ton of work. The prototype was done in a time of 1 week, 2-3 hours in the evenings.
|Player game mode: Survival||6,0||2 redesigns|
|Player game mode: Story||2,0|
|Player automatic rocket launcher||6,0||gone|
|Player special attacks||12,0||gone|
|Player combo system and score||4,5|
|Player weapon selection||10,0||4 redesigns|
|Player skyline shield||4,0|
|Player helicopter and people||6,0|
|Player load/save game||5,0|
|Player 2 cannons||2,0|
|Player tractor beam||3,5||2 redesigns|
|Player wave shot||1,5|
|Player laser shot||1,5|
|Player homing missile||4,5||3 redesigns|
|Player emp mine||4,5|
|Player virus shot||1,0|
The player programming was the most work yet. So I wasted about 18-20 hours on dump weapons. A little more thoughts on the design side could have helped, but well you never know. 4 redesigns on the weapon selection was necessary and I am still not 100% happy, but its ok for now. I got lots of help from friends, which suggested what should be changed. Thanks guys!
|Enemy shooting behaviour||3,0|
|Enemy formation leader||2,0||gone|
|Enemy movement patterns||10,0||gone|
|Enemy steering behaviour Test||12,0||gone|
|Enemy spline movement||3,0|
|Enemy laser attack||5,5|
|Enemy repair behaviour||3,5|
|Enemy mother ship (4-5 different attacks)||16,0|
|Enemy health bar||2,0|
You see, I wasted too much time on the enemies. Way too much. I should have used splines from the first minute…but I wanted to have a really cool movement behaviour patterns. I tried different steering behaviours etc. Nothing really worked out well or was slow as hell. I got frustrated of that topic a several times. Using splines was my best choice until now. Some enemies still use parts of the steering behaviour. Anyway, lessons learned.
|GUI in game hud||4,0||3 redesigns|
|GUI cool down hud||1,0|
|GUI weapon selection hud||8,0||3 redesigns|
|GUI result hud||6,0|
|GUI start screen||6,0|
|GUI level selection||5,0|
|GUI pause/mute button||1,0|
|GUI pause menu||3,0|
I am quite happy with the GUI so far. Flixel and Flixel power tools don’t have that much GUI stuff so I thought I would spend much more time. But I reduced everything to the bare minimum. I am quite happy with the outcome. There is still some work to do, but that’s easy stuff like achievement and credits screen.
|Effects logo intro||2,5|
|Effects smoke with Flixel||1,0||gone|
|Effects integration FLINT particle system||1,0|
|Effects explosion and smoke||5,5||2 redesign|
|Effects level selection screen||2,0|
|Effects mothership attack||2,0|
Well this is my favourite part. Just 19h for such an outcome. I am really thankful for the FLINT particle system. I will need some more polishing time, but I have not wasted much time. Good stuff!
|Other: performance optimization||10,0|
|Other: asset management||4,0|
|Other: bug fixes||16,0|
|Other Flixel port to 2.5||6,0|
Premature optimization!! I should no better, I watched this video from Jonathan Blow! Well to be honest, this was a necessary optimization. My frame time on my 5 year old laptop went from 10 frames up to 20 frames with all the particle action. I could throw away hundreds of lines of code as well, so that was worth it. The port to Flixel 2.5 was not a big pain and worth the work as well.
16h bug fixes sounds not that much, but I have not tracked everything, its probably much more time which went into bug fixing.
Not much hassle with the asset management, just a few centralised files and I use .txt files for my levels. XMLs would be too complicated for my efforts.
Leveldesign and Tools
|Level Design spline editor||5,0|
|Level Design editing splines||4,0|
|Level Design skyline editor||4,0|
|Level Design editing skylines||1,0|
|Level Design: tutorial mission||8,0||gone|
|Level Design: enemy balancing||8,0|
|Level Design story level 1- 5||6,0|
|Level Design story mode level 6-10||6,0|
Skyline and spline editors were easy to implement and worth their time. Very useful tools. The tutorial mission was a complete waste of time. I did this far to early in the process and had to throw it away completely. Most of the work left is on the level design part. You could spend endless hours. I have not much experience in level design and this is really the hardest part for me at the moment. I got a little better already, but I am a complete noob. It can only get better :).
|Creating sound effects||8,0|
The graphics part is only integrating graphics and doing some additional ones. The most graphics are done by Chris Noeth. The music is done by Cain German, so I need only to give feedback and integrate the music. The sound effects are created with the great sfxr and there is a iPhone version of this cool tool which I use as well! So this part is mainly outsourced. But I get better in doing some art myself using gimp. I lately started using sprite something on the iPad, not for Alien Invasion but maybe for the next game.
|Marketing – videos/screenshots||6,0|
|Marketing – Flixel and tigsource forum||2,0|
|Marketing – blog posts||4,0|
|Marketing – twitter||10,0|
Well not much up. Spent a view hours making video, screenshots, forum posts and writing blogs, what I should do more often. Twitter sucks a lot of time, but I think its the best marketing tool for indie game developers.
|story mode level 11-15||6,0|
|story mode level 16-20||6,0|
|story mode level 21-25||6,0|
|story mode level 26-30||6,0|
|achievements + screen||6,0|
|survival mode redesign||4,0|
|some missing sound effects||2,0|
|some missing effects||2,0|
|credits + bonus level||4,0|
|polishing + balancing||?|
Well theoretically I am done in a week, but as you know yourself, the first 90% are done, now I am at the second 90%. Well I hope not, because I did a lot of polishing already, but 42 hours is probably the best number which could be left. The meaning of life and such….:)
Well to be honest there is some stuff missing like integration of the kongregate, mochi or newsground APIs, but I will try to sell it first on FGL.
So the total numbers are 370 hours of work until now and 51 hours wasted. I did work 2 month parttime work in the evenings and one month full time work. I hope I can finish the game within the next two weeks.
Ok thats it for now. Hope you enjoyed reading it!
Oh I forgot something, I think I played my game for at least 40-50 hours. I have just not tracked that time…
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