Go back home

White - A Small Masterpost about my First Game

White - A Small Masterpost about my First Game

Ok first I wanna share some awesome stuff people have made for this game:

Art by:

Cool gameplay videos by:

Games Made Quick 1.5

So, this game was made for a jam that took place over SGDQ, in order for people to have something to do while staring at Twitch for an entire week.

I thought it was a cool idea, I got involved. SO involved infact, that I barely watched SGDQ besides Halfcoordinated’s NieR: Automata run (which was awesome I love him). This game basically ruled every minute of spare time I had that week.

I was way too into it. I’m not competitive, but I love challenges. Even though the jam was possibly one of the most casual-atmosphered jams ever made, I genuinely sat and waited until the itch.io timer reached 0.00 before I even allowed myself to start coming up with concepts for the game.

The Development of White


My idea of coming up with a concept for this game was “doodle in PyxelEdit while watching SGDQ until something good happens”, and that’s what I did, and got this:

You can tell that I was watching the NieR run at the time. I did this only to establish values for the character and was going to later colour her, but I thought that this by itself looked pretty darn good.

Also, the fact that it’s monochromatic would help me a ton considering I only had a limited amount of time to make all of the sprites that the game could possibly need.

This is the first animation I had, and the black background was the thing that basically gave me the whole idea for the game (somehow):

Originally, I had the idea that the background would be black, and the monsters would be white, hence the name White. I ended up swapping the colours around after I started making it, but here’s what it would have looked like if I stuck with that idea:

Not too bad? But I feel like the girl would barely be visible and it would all feel a bit backwards.


I can’t remember who said it, I’ve watched so many presentations and talks on game development, but I remember one person from somewhere saying (in regards to jams):

If you are going to make a [good] game, you will spend 10% of your time actually making the game, and 90% of the time polishing it.

This game made me realise that this is true as hell. All of the code for movement, combat, damage, enemies etc was made almost instantly in terms of how much time there was. But it just didn’t feel good enough to move around by itself.

It’s kind-of apparent in this image, which was what I had made on the first night (about 2/3 hours after getting the concept):

Like, it was good, there wasn’t really anything that needed changing code-wise, (well, besides adding the dash and triple-jump), but most of it was the speed, the gravity, the fluidity of everything, I’m really really not sure how to explain it. (apparently, explaining this particular thing is pretty darn hard for even the best game developers).

Something was off, and I didn’t quite know how to identify what it was yet.

I wanted to try something out that I saw from one of my favourite Youtubers, Mark Brown, in his video The Secret of Game Feel. In this, around 1 minute in, he talks about how the best games are, [or should be] enjoyable even if you strip out the non-essential mechanics, graphics and music. This is what I aimed for in White, I wanted ultra simplicity and minimal mechanics for the player to have to keep track of, but fine-tuned to a point where even just controlling the character is enjoyable.

You ask yourself, “what’s this game about?” For me, this question was answered with, “well, prancing around and beating the fuck outta shit!” So that is what I worked on. I doubled-down on making movement feel fluid and natural, and made combat intuitive, dynamic and juicy.

For the first 3/4 days of the jam, that’s practically what I worked on. I played my games hundreds of times with no enemies or anything in the room besides my character and the ground, and made sure it felt as good as it can to just simply run, dash or fly from one side of the room to the other. This is basically what I did:

This is what I mean by it being hard to explain, it doesn’t look like a whole lot, but ooo its nice to actually play and get your hands on.

The main decider for the speed, friction and gravity of the character was how large the room was in comparison to how fast the player could move.

Say, if you knew where a spawner was, how fast could you get to it? Would it be tediously slow, like taking a hike to a undiscovered town in Fallout, all while mashing X to slay enemies that spawn on your way there? Or would it be a freaking breeze, basically presenting no challenge for the player, allowing them to get to, and destroy spawners before they even had a chance to chug out a single enemy?

Here’s the room:

It looks tightly packed at a glance, but the distance is much more noticable if you’ve just finished destroying a spawner on the left side of the room, and a new one is created on the right side (which is a formula I followed for a lot of the waves), the time it takes to traverse is long enough for at least 2 or 3 enemies to spawn, unless you’re an absolute mash god and dashed to the spawners pre-emptively since you’ve memorised the order in which they spawn (much like I have). Anyway, moving on.


Ah yes, the actual aim of the game. Fighting stuff.

The only main things I could talk about in this is how good it feels to just hit stuff. The techniques I used were basically to add a tiny little 0.14 second delay when you hit an enemy in order to make an attack land harder. This technique is used in pretty much every single game that has combat, but it’s worth mentioning since it’s a tiny thing that can add a lot of feeling into combat.

Since I was going over-the-top in terms of how hard-hitting things are, I decided to add a small screenshake whenever you successfully land an attack on an enemy. Just imagine the weight of the big-ass sword that the girl held. It’s chunky as hell. So I felt it was necessary that when it landed on [something], that [something] should shatter into a hundred pieces and create a small earthquake in the process. So I made it do that. It’s your game you can go as over-the-top as you want. The stupider the better. Watch Kill la Kill.


So, uh, when I first released it, I had clocked roughly 10 million plays in this game, so naturally I was ok at it, and also I had no idea how to gauge difficulty. I decided to go the Devil Daggers route, and make it a kind of “get hit once and die, see how long you can last” kinda thing. Turns out, that was too hard, and it sucked.

I wanted to make the game easier. Way easier. Actually completable. So I added a health mechanic -

This was my first concept for “Health”, or more fitting in this case, “lives”. The player could be hit 3 times, and if hit a 4th, would die. Lives would be regained after killing a certain amount of enemies.

But, design-wise, I couldn’t think of a way to fit this into the colour scheme wihtout it looking like enemies.

So, I just made a health bar:

Much better. I wanted to keep the idea of “life being regained by fighting enemies” since that promoted agressive gameplay, which was perfect for this kind of game. – But in a game where you’re destroying like 10 things per swing of your sword, it’s hard to determine how much life you should get back. This regeneration mechanic was what made the second version of the game way too easy. Even for people who sucked at games.

So, the third version. (Called V2 because the first version was V0 I guess). Added a little something for everyone.

I’m always a little bit weary about games that have options or sliders for difficulty. They’re not my cup of tea. Most of the time, I want to experience the game how the developer originally wanted players to experience it. Say, if it’s a brutally difficult game by default (not going to name any names), then in my opinion, it shouldn’t have a difficulty options. This is so you can proudly say to a friend, “I completed Dark Sou–UHHH I completed this one very difficult videogame.” Some people enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that difficult games bring. However, if another person can turn around and say “I completed it too” They may have went through an entirely different experience because they selected ‘Easy’ at the start menu. This just really sucks all feeling of accomplishment out of the skilled players. Sometimes, it’s good to have a game that lets you brag a bit.

where the hell was i

Ah yeah, I added tiers of difficulty to my game to make it as accessible to as many people as possible, because, well, it’s an itch.io game. You’re working with a small ass audience as it is, you can’t really cut it down further by making it only accessible to people who are experts at mashing keyboards. So I gave in and added tiers.

This is honestly all I have to say about this game right now. I’ll update it later.


I may update this later but I swear to god who reads this stuff anyway, the game is already out, go play it and stuff. I’m gonna export it to mac but for that I need a mac so I’m waiting until I can borrow a friend’s mac.

But thanks anyway, the game’s currently sitting on 242 downloads now over 8,000 downloads. I’m really happy about it!

Thanks a ton for reading.

Go back home