Tide is my second game prototype.
I choose the style and concept in the first few hours:
- Avoid expanding badness.
- Set off mines to blow holes in the badness.
- It’s a single screen game.
Problem 1: It wasn’t fun. Your actions didn’t matter until the whole screen was almost flooded, so you spent the start of the game just waiting around.
Working on a game that isn’t fun isn’t fun. I was stressed!
The fix was to change the goal. Instead of staying alive, the goal became to grab as many mines as possible.
This made it exciting. You’re constantly deciding which mine to go for next, and trying to get there as quickly as possible.
Problem 2: I wasn’t sure how to add level progression.
This had a really obvious solution, I just didn’t see it until Joshua pointed it out: start with one mine, and make each level have one more than the last. That was perfect.
With that, the gameplay was finished. I added animations, sound, music, and polish.
Things that went well
- Choosing a very simple concept and refining it.
- The game feels good. It’s fast-paced and has interesting choices.
- I love the sound and music. This is my first game with sound since 2011.
Things to change
- The dots that show your current level are not easy to understand.
- There’s no goal or surprise to work towards.
- No touch controls (so when Megan tried it on her phone, it didn’t work).
- Some levels seem to be impossible. This is especially unfair since you only have one life.