What went well:
I've been working on getting better at making programmer art, but I am definitely not an artist. For this project I got to collaborate with my friend Katie Sheedy, who is much better at art than I am. This is what the game started off looking like:
And then came the programmer art:
And then the actual artist art:
Finding a tutorial
I'm terrible for making silent games, and this project was no exception. When I realized that there were no sounds for anything that happened while you were playing, I decided to fix the problem and recorded my own sound. I've got this filed under both "what went well" and "what didn't go well" because even though I have sound now, I wouldn't say that it's very good or great. Something to improve for next time.
What didn’t go well:
The game evolved a lot over time as I tried to figure out exactly what to do with it:
This led to a pretty protracted development period, because each time the theme or mechanics shifted I'd need to rework bits of the game (and even now, there is an entirely unused name entry screen sitting in the project files..). The problem was that most of them weren't fun or bite-sized enough to be doable, so I spent a lot of time iterating because my scope wasn't constrained enough or I wasn't sure which pieces of the game were "must haves" vs. "nice to have". It worked out (I finished the game), but as someone who builds games in their spare time scope management is an ongoing problem for me.
Next time maybe I'll just use a game generator and commit to building whatever comes out.
I'm pretty happy with how this project turned out - it was an opportunity to learn some new things (sound), collaborate with someone (art), and also build in a genre I've never built before. I also found at the end of the project that I was beginning to generate a lot of interesting ideas on ways to explore the match three genre a little further, or mash it up with others - it might be a little while before I come back to building match three again, but I'm glad that I've got this one under my belt now.