Postmortem: Journey to the Center of the Sun

I had a lot of fun making “Journey to the Center of the Sun.”

The current theme is “Solar”. For some reason, that made me think of a guy hopping into a rocket and flying it into the sun. Because of this strange concept, I decided that some weird, light-hearted dialogue was in order. I coded the entire game, wrote the story, and had a completely playable goofy little game. All it needed was the art.

The Rocket Scene

The Rocket Scene

I decided to use Art Rage because it can mimic oils, watercolors, pencil, chalk, airbrush, wax, and several more types of physical media. It’s a pretty powerful program, considering that it’s only $50, and combined with my consumer-grade Bamboo tablet, I get a lot of bang for the buck.

After painting a couple of backgrounds I was pretty happy with how it was turning out, but it looked more serious than I intended, almost dismal. It seemed like an odd art choice, given the happy-go-lucky feel of the dialogue, but I decided to go with it and see what happened.

Oddly, I think it kind of works. I got a comment on Ludum Dare that said, “I thought that the mood of the game is really pleasant, kind of an apocalyptic feel.” That’s a funny juxtaposition, but I think it’s accurate. It’s also a little ironic that my “Solar” game is set entirely at night, but if not for that prompt I never would have thought of this concept.

The Coffee Shop Scene

The Coffee Shop Scene

There were a few things that didn’t go as well as I would have liked. The main one is that all that painting took way longer than expected.

It’s also fairly light on gameplay, but that was a necessary choice in order to ensure that I would have enough time to give the art the attention that it needed.

I also regret that I did not have time to make any music or audio whatsoever. For a game that relies so heavily on the mood, I think that’s a real shame.

The Bedroom Scene (not that kind of bedroom scene)

The Bedroom Scene
(no, not that kind of bedroom scene)

My biggest regret is that I didn’t allow enough time for an ending sequence. It’s a complete game, with a victory condition at the end, but I really would have liked to have done just a little more with it. I decided pretty early on this this project that this would be Part 1 of 2. I knew that it would be kind of a cliffhanger ending, but it still would have been nice to wrap it up a little better.

The good news is that almost all of my code is reusable, so when the time comes to make Part 2 (probably later this year), I can focus almost entirely on dialogue and art—and maybe dig my theremin out of the closet and give it a proper soundtrack.