Game Design Music and Art

Speedgame: Sow the Word – HanClinto



Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
Hey all!

I'm starting threads to give feedback to all of the entrants to this year's CCN Speedgame contest. Everyone did some good things this year, and I wanted to make some threads to give encouraging comments and constructive criticism. This week, I'll be making threads for 3 games each day, so as to hopefully not bump all of the other discussions off of the main page, and give everyone some daily-focused-feedback on their games. Feedback is an important part of the CCN contest, and I hope that we can give a big "thanks!" to our entrants by letting them know how they did! I don't think everyone should necessarily give numbered ratings like I did -- just some words of feedback and encouragement would be fantastic.

Sow the Word (by Kenman):

9 (Nice integration of quiz benefits with the rest of the game)
Fun: 6 (Fun game, though it was a bit slow at times. I went several days without meeting any challenge, and even when I let fields overrun the entire area, it was pretty simple to get rid of it with a few clicks of wisdom)
Orig: 8 (Way to think outside the box and be original!)
Gfx: 6 (Good usage of Poser. It struggled to integrate well with the rest of the program, but many of the graphics you had were good)
Stab: 9 (No stability issues -- ran great! Way to make a solid game without a game engine!)

A quiz/strategy game where you must sow scripture in a field, and see the harvest of spiritual growth. Watch out for enemies who plant weeds, and fight them with wisdom from the Bible!

Hey Ken! Nice upgrade from last year's game! I was really glad to see you extending and expanding your quiz-game structure, and adding more gameplay to it. I liked the different parable elements that you integrated into the game -- the potential for memorable imagery is very good there. I also thought that the integration of wisdom into the game was quite reasonable as well -- it reminded me a lot of the model used in Light Rangers where it is only occasionally mandatory to answer a trivia question, but it's always available for extra benefit. Whether or not you were already aware that they did it that way, nicely done!
The game was a bit slow, and I had a hard time finding much challenge. I worked my way up through a few levels, but even when the fields would become pregnant with weeds, it wasn't too hard for me to just banish them all with a few clicks of wisdom. Still, the potential is there, it just hadn't yet been brought to its fullest.
I liked the sound effects for the night-time, they were appropriately creepy.
The CCN trivia question was nice as well.
All told, good job! I'm really glad you were able to write a complete game, especially going through so many lines of code. It was surprisingly stable for being so large!



Posts: 518
From: Janesville WI
Registered: 08-31-2006
Thank you for your review, I have been waiting almost impatiently to see your review and write my post-mortem based on your review. Words cannot say how much I appreciate the time that you have taken to write reviews. Thanks again to the judges and sponsors.


The Sower Sows the Word is a biblical based game based on the parable of the sower. Okay, that's pretty obvious. A little about my entry: Last year I teamed up with my brothers to write a game for the CCN comp. We came up with a quiz game, but do to unforeseen personal problems last year, we only completed the quiz part. I reused the base of the idea of a quiz puzzle strategy game for this years' competition.

I had entered one other contest for programming before this (solo I mean, not team). It was the LD48 hour contest a few years ago. I wrote that game in VB also, and that game had about 18,000 lines of code (not bad for a weekend of work). I knew I could very rapidly come up with a 2-D game, but I had to develop an idea on what to do for the game.

In my planning phase I knew I wanted to use the parable of the sower, as it is one of my favorite parables. I came up with some quick ideas and wrote down what I would need to do for art and music and to set up the framework in VB .net. I decided to only use the managed code for directX9.0c (to play mp3) as my only dependency and do the rest of the coding the long way. I debated using no dependencies and uploading wav files, but I knew I would use 2 complete songs and sound effects. This would create a 50MB+ installer and Mack commented to keep it reasonable. Even I do not think 50MB is reasonable and I am the king of large files.

Once Mack announced the contest started I went to bed. . . . Really I did, I had to work the next morning. But, the next day I got to work as I had planned what I needed to do. I switched from GFX to Music to coding to prevent myself from getting bored with what I was doing. I set a limit of 10,000 lines of code to wrap things up. I found historically once you hit 15K your program gets a little bulky to run. I brought my laptop with me to add features while I was at a work seminar the first work week of the comp.

OVERALL: What I did right. I used what I was familiar with and put stuff together Visual Basic .net is not known as a prime game engine, but it did what it needed to do. I limited myself to a reasonable amount of code and then added small features. I added many features as objects, where I would have historically coded them manually. I had a timeline and stuck to it, and it worked well. I think it helped I created an installer and a nifty help page.

What I did not do right: I did not test the game for challenge well enough. I relied on the idea that since I created the game I would be the best at it. As the review states, it did get boring after a while. I also flipped out when Mack said that he couldn't get my program working. I thought I had tested every available possibility, but forgot the situation Mack was in. (That taught me you will never have every situation covered)


I am flabbergasted that I won best build, creating a game in Visual Basic .net. This is usually not know for being the king of stable. Did anyone find the easter egg? There is a white dot hidden in the main menu. If it is clicked, you will gain health and wisdom. This is very helpful in the later levels. There were two questions keyed for CCN users. #1 - what does CCN stand for and #2 - these questions are easy. Finally, did you notice when the game ends, several of the signatures of CCN users were flashed on the screen in a rotating tagline kind of deal. Just for you all.

Thanks again, Ken Wagman (not Wagmank)

Howdy all! Check out, my latest CD.

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