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  •   Mine Your Step – Autopsy

    28/03/13 - 18:33

    Wow. I have to say, I had no idea about how popular Mine Your Step would be. After an initial review on IndieGaming.com my Google analytics went crazy. That story then got picked up on RockPaperShotgun and PCGamer. I can easily say that my web server has never seen so much traffic. The more amazing thing was the number of tweets and emails I had about the game. It was a very simple idea, but people really seem to dig it. It is really satisfying as an indie gamedev to see people playing your game, even more so when they take the time to actually give you feedback. And so for everyone who tweeted me and e-mailed me about it – thank you :-).

    One of the most interesting parts of the feedback was about ‘The Sergeant’ – which ( as far as I was concerned ) was just a simple text output element. Though it was just text ( I had debated having audio of me shouting the hint, but I really don’t sound like a military person ) people associated a personality with a simple line of white writing – something I found fairly interesting :) Also, I was very impressed at how quickly the levels became solved. The first levels were completed by the time the second review – so I spent a busy night writing a few more additional levels. Thankfully these are actually pure evil, and no one has managed to complete them yet :)

    So after having a rather random success story with one of my games, what do I do next? I’m debating a sequel to be honest – though this may be milking it :) I’d really love a multiplayer environment – to actually see all your fellow cadets running around the battlefield, randomly exploding. I’d like to keep it in html5 – as I think the fact it required no plug-ins helped it somewhat. I’ve played around with a unity first person prototype, lots of fog, random explosions – and it made the game, well, pretty dark and scary to be honest. The explosions where simulated but random – the idea being that though you wouldn’t see anyone else walking around the battle field, you would hear and see explosions of other players in real-time. Creepy.

    One idea that came up pretty consistently was checkpoints – I agree they would help especially with the more complicated levels. Also checkpoints would give me a chance to be evil with level design :) ( ‘oh you set your checkpoint to that place? shame it is a dead end :-) hehehe’ ).

    One other thing that people said they enjoyed about Mine Your Step was the way that everyone was working toward a common goal. I’ve had a few ideas now which play on this idea. I think random strangers working together to achieve a goal is pretty damn cool idea. So if I don’t produce Mine Your Step 2 for my April #1GAM it will probably be working with this idea of players trying to defeat me.

    The game itself was pretty easy to write. I think about two days worth of work went into it – the most complicated bit was the level design ( as I found a decent tileset, but my art skills are poor ) and of course the client/server interaction – which I hadn’t done with html5 before, but it was pretty simple. The last minute addition of the music I think really helped the atmosphere of the game – though after checking out my bandwidth use, I had to quickly compress it from a 7 meg mp3 into a 2 meg mp3 :-) The player sprite was built with the most excellent charas-project.net. I modified the sprite that came out of that by making his helmet much bigger to give him a more toony look. For people who have asked how the client/server bit was done, it is fairly easy – on death a message is sent to a php script which stores the x, y, level and player name in a MySQL db. On level load another PHP script is called which contains JSON encoded data containing all the death x, y locations on a level for the past 24 hours. And that is pretty much it. If anyone is truly interested in how this is done, more than happy to do a tutorial about it :-)

    Well, I guess that is it for now :-) thanks for reading!

     

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