Marcela Martins and the Terrain-Transforming Talisman

My tenth game (my eighth for #onegameamonth) is now playable here! It’s called “Marcela Martins and the Terrain-Transforming Talisman.” If you enjoyed the Mystical Mutable Map, you might enjoy this one too. I didn’t, but that proves nothing.

The theme this month was “Transform.” After just finishing a game that was all about transforming terrain, it seemed natural to make a sequel. I tried not to. I spent a good chunk of time trying to come up with another idea, but I couldn’t do it. And you know what that means… That’s right, it’s a sequel! And like almost all sequels, it must be a disappointment. I had a serious motivation problem this month, and it hurt me badly. I had most of the work done already – the game engine was already built, I just needed to tweak a few things. So I changed the core mechanic slightly and began work on new levels. I designed maybe twenty levels and hated all of them. Then the number climbed to thirty, and I still hated all but one. And then I spent a significant part of the month NOT working on it. I just couldn’t bring myself to do all the necessary tedious work when the part that is supposed to be fun (for me, that’s the puzzle design) was already so miserable. I was so proud of Marcela Martins and the Mystical Mutable Map that I couldn’t stand the thought of releasing a disappointing sequel. I’m only releasing it because the thought of failing the #onegameamonth challenge hurts me more than the thought of posting this loser of a game.

Don’t let me talk you out of playing it though – everyone who’s played it so far tells me that it’s not half as bad as I think. I know they’re wrong, of course, but who knows? Maybe you’ll be wrong, too! I hope you enjoy it. I really do. Maybe some good can yet come of this. For what it’s worth… Now that it’s complete, I don’t completely hate it. I think I managed to pull it together in the end. It’s still not as good as the first one, of course, but it’s not a total failure. So that’s something.

4 thoughts on “Marcela Martins and the Terrain-Transforming Talisman”

  1. I can see why you’d be less than proud of this one, but it’s not bad. I bet much of your consternation came from the puzzles, and the fact that they feel much more throw-stuff-at-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks than actual logical puzzling.

    Here’s an idea: maybe next time Marcela Martins can get lost in the void!

    1. That’s exactly it. I hate most of the puzzles in this one. They’re not really all that bad, but they don’t live up to the original.

      It’s like the Star Wars prequels: if they weren’t Star Wars, they would be okay movies. Not great movies, but okay. But since they’re Star Wars movies, they’re awful. That’s how I feel about this game. If it weren’t a sequel, I’d be just fine creating something like this in a month. It’s not bad for a month’s work. It’s way better than Luckiest Person, at any rate. But as the sequel to what I consider my masterpiece (thus far, anyway)? Quite a disappointment through that lens, and I can’t force myself to see it any other way.

      Still, I’m satisfied enough with it. It’s not like the Star Wars Holiday Special or anything.

  2. I’ve been fairly inactive on this site recently, so I had a plethora of games to play with I visted the other day! The first thing I’d like to say is that I’m very impressed by the scale of MMMMM (lovely acronym, I know), from the 18 levels to all the art, not to mention the engine itself.

    It wasn’t the hardest game known to man, but it was mildly difficult in a very fair way. There were a few levels that I got caught up on, but I never felt frustrated towards the game.

    And then there were two. I actually enjoyed the second one quite a bit, but the first thing I noticed about the game was that it was rather simple compared to it’s predecessor. Most of the time I spent pondering what to do was just me overthinking the level due to the higher complexity of the first installment.

    I didn’t think that the level design was bad, persay, but I feel like the overall layout lent itself better to the first game’s mechanic. I feel like having new tiles specifically designed around the new gameplay would’ve helped, but I do realize that that would’ve been quite the chore, especially with the motivation problems you’ve been having as of late (I wish you the best of luck with getting back into full swing!).

    That being said, it’s still a very impressive game, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it!

    I’d like to leave with a recommendation; have you read/heard of a book by the name of “The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses” (2nd edition, of course)? I’m entirely certain that you’re up to your ears in game design books, but it was a wonderful read! The book features game designer Jesse Schell giving insight about, well, designing games. Every important tip is called a ‘Lens’, and each contains insight about a certain aspect of design.

    There’s a complimentary accessory called “The Art of Game Design: a Deck of Lenses”(still 2nd edition) that contains all 113 Lenses featured in the book on lovely cards that–

    I’ve been rambling on for far too long. A quick Amazon search will tell you all you need to know about the products. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this! 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting! It’s always good to know that people are playing my games.

      I’m glad you liked MMMMM. It’s certainly my current crowning achievement (although that may change soon, more on that later).

      I’m glad you liked the sequel, too. I just reread this post, and wow I was harsh. I don’t hate it half as much as you’d think from reading this. At least, not anymore. To be fair, I write these posts right after completing and uploading the games (typically in the early AM hours), when I’m good and sick (and tired, hehe) of them.

      I agree that the sequel is simpler. The new mechanic just didn’t lend itself to any “twists.” I actually had the idea for the tweaked mechanic in mind for the first game (I thought about having the final level switch things up by changing the rules), but decided not to use it. When the “Transform” theme was announced, I figured this was the chance to try it. But I quickly found that the new mechanic had no use for the added complexity of the immutable tiles or the collectible map pieces. I considered new “additional” mechanics, but they didn’t help. I even designed several new tiles, but they added nothing. The ability to teleport around the map at will was basically too powerful. The only way to prevent an instant win was to clutter up the field of play and block the goal. And so that’s what I did. Dozens of times. Ugh. Honestly, if not for the #onegameamonth format, I never would have bothered to finish the game. Instead, I simply would have experimented with a new mechanic and quickly scrapped it when I realized it didn’t work. And that would have been fine. But I needed something for that month, so I was stuck. Oh well.

      Happily, my motivation problems did not follow me into this month (for posterity: May 2015, #1GAM theme “Childhood”). I’ve been working very hard on my game this month (as hard as ever before, possibly harder), and yet I’m still excited about this one. Once again, I’ve gone against my better judgment and increased the production values (I always say I’m going to stop that), except for sound (no sound in this one). Yet it hasn’t bothered me terribly this month. Or has it? I can’t remember, because I’m basically a zombie at this point. But I’m happy to be working on it! So this month, I’ve traded in my motivation problems for terrible, terrible sleep deprivation. Whatever, that’s a good trade. I’ll take it!

      Thanks for the recommendation. I only took a brief glance at the book, but it looks interesting. I’ll give it a closer look when I have more time – I really have spent almost every spare second on my game this month. I think it’s going to be a good one, though (possibly my new best); I look forward to releasing it in the next few days.

Leave a Reply

All fields are optional. Your email address will not be published.