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In my spare times I make crappy, retro games.

30, Male


Joined on 4/29/09

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Samhain Fever!: A Postmortem Analysis

Posted by Harlemblack - November 2nd, 2016










Samhain Fever! is my fourth personal project of the year and dedicated to Halloween Day 2016. It is an arcade game where player collect score points as high as possible while avoiding several Indonesian ghosts. There are 5 stages in one loop and the game’s difficulty keeps increasing as the loop number increases.

Haven't played the game? check it out here:




The game idea and design

At first, I wanted to make a frightening game. But after seeing Ghosbusters film series and being overwhelmed by its inspiring sound theme, I decided to make a lighter, funny one. I used Indonesian ghosts because I wanted to promote them to the world. Maybe someday they will be as famous as Valaak, Bughuul, and Babadok (lol).

Regarding the design, I still used pixel theme for my games. But this time, I wanted to try building an arcade game engine which was new for me. So, there are few specific principles that I embraced in shaping the game design, taken from several forums in the Internet:

1.      Easy to learn, hard to master

2.      Fast-paced or frantic gameplay

3.      Simple story

4.      Playable in short spans of time

5.      Having no definite end

6.      Having a steadily increasing difficulty level,

7.      Employing a scoring mechanism.

One of the principles (number 7) gave me an opportunity to try incorporating Newground scoring system to my game.


What went right?

I managed to create a simple, fun game incorporating new engines in just 15 days. That was a great achievement for me, considering that I had messy planning and several important life matter that could not be abandoned and the fact that generally it would take more time to build and test new engine. It may be due to the structure of arcade genred engine that I made, which was versatile, generic, and easy to tweak. For the graphics, I created them all myself, focusing on the characters only. I did not draw any backgrouds because it would take more time and effort. In fact, a blank, black background suits the theme and atmosphere of the game very well. I also managed to created simple SFX using software sfxr and found a generous 8bit chiptune composer who provided free musics. Listen to his albums at http://ozzed.net/.


What could have been improved?

Some players reported several bugs which were actually intentional to increase the game’s difficulty. But after considering the rationale behind their responses, I decided to eliminate and tweak them a bit. This shows me the importance of having beta testers. Maybe next time when I have a longer span of development time.


Concluding remarks

Overall, I am very satisfied with the game. It was my first try on arcade genre and did not suck. And I am grateful for the feedbacks from several players, especially pixel lovers, who examined the game very throughoutly and showed their enthusiasm. I hope in future I may refine and expand the new engine. Thank you for reading and I hope you could learn something here. Enjoy the game and tell me what you think!