Postmortem: Shadow Of The Sun

Postmortem: Shadow of the Sun

Shadow of the Sun is a 2D action platformer Team Swordicorn (Melvin Kwan, Charles Park, Nick Marce, and Markus W. Redl) produced from July to October of 2014 as a student project in Vancouver Film School’s Game Design program. We were influenced by games like Mega Man X and wanted to produce something that had a similar feel, while making it our own.

Our core pillar for Shadow of the Sun was fast-paced action platforming. We facilitated this with tight gameplay mechanics. Although initially we also wanted to include stronger narrative elements in Shadow of the Sun, for various reasons, they were cut from the game.

This postmortem is of only my perspective on the project and may conflict with other members’ perspectives. I will not name any person in particular in the postmortem. Please keep in mind that this is only my perspective as one fourth of Team Swordicorn.

Note: This postmortem is not technical. It is about the human dynamics as I experienced them.

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Teaching the Player

Months ago when working on our final student project in term 5 and 6, one of the difficulties of our core mechanic was how to actually teach it to the player. If we told the player verbally how to play while they were experimenting, they were able to take what we told them and what they were experiencing to figure out exactly what was going on. When we got to the point where we were having blind playtests without talking to the players, it became a very different story.

Even if we typed out the exact words that we would verbally tell the player, “When your pack is the opposite colour of the surface, you will bounce. When it is the same color, you will slide.” It took players a long time to figure out exactly what that meant. We tried to simplify it down by introducing the inter-workings of these mechanics down, and trying fancy word graphics that were colored to match what color we wanted you to be, but it still wasn’t enough. Too many player’s still were not able to understand what we were trying to teach them by the end of our tutorial to set them up for the rest of the game.

Pre Alpha Tutorial

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