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Postmortem: Sandbagz Medeval!
Following the day after the release of Sandbagz: Medeval! is the postmortem of the game's development process.
December 18, 2009
11 Min Read
Adam Jones Productions is an independent webgame company located in Orlando, FL. Joseph Adams, the owner and president, assembled a small team of recent DeVry graduates with the intent of moving into full-scale webgame production. Sandbagz: Medeval! was inspired by an experience of Joseph’s while in Iraq as a marine where they built a trebuchet that launched sandbags.
The plan was to make a flash game as a proof of process to get the new team up to speed at AJP. Sandbagz: Medeval! was designed to be a simple play style, pick-up-and-go game that engages the player with an endearing art style. This would give the artist and programmer a sufficient challenge to establish a framework for future development projects.
What went right?
Programming in ActionScript 3.0
Joe wanted Sandbagz: Medeval! to be programmed in Flash so ActionScript 3.0 was the language that had to be used in this project. Jordan Card was the main programmer of the game. Jordan had never programmed in ActionScript before, so was first tasked with learning the development environment then moving into coding itself. He was able to learn ActionScript from books and tutorials in a short period of time; thus allowing him to program Sandbagz: Medeval! inside the 5 week development time set by Joseph Adams.
The Flash Art Assets
The art was another huge part of Sandbaz: Medeval!’s development. The game needed to have characters that were short, stout, and flowing with attitude. Sandbagz’ was done by Amanda Dickinson where she drew all the assets in Flash using the tools provided by the program itself. She was able to draw everything in a short amount of time and was able to deliver the assets to Jordan for use of the game.
Sandbagz’s audio became an interesting story during the short development cycle of the game. Joseph Adams and I (Andrew Dieppa) were sitting in the office conference room in Downtown Orlando figuring out the sounds to be used. In the end we were both able to use their G-d given vocal cords to make all the sound assets of the game. At a certain point the sound of someone being hit was provided by precisely that... The soundtrack of the game was done by Joe and I as a beatbox rendition of an original theme. This was put directly into the program in its rough form to add to the character of the game.
What went wrong?
The Design Process and the Flow of Development
The one thing that went wrong with the development of Sandbagz was the fact there was no GDD involved in the design process. Everything was coded and drawn from scratch. The best way to describe the development of Sandbagz was it was more of an iterative process for development more than anything else. This type of process would keep leading to many bumps in the road of development which was not an entirely smooth flow. Even though the flow of development was not as even as we would have liked we were still able to get this game out in a short period of time.
Overall, Sandbagz was a learning process for all of us at Adam Jones Productions. Jordan was able to learn and program in ActionScript in a short amount of time and do a very good job with the functionality of the game. Amanda was able to deliver some awesome, quirky art assets for the game. The culmination of the art and the programming was definitely what set the style and the tone of the overall game play experience.
Platform: Browser (web-based)
Software Used: Adobe Flash, Audacity
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