Go back home

ferra retrospective

before ferra i was in a sink & id not released anything in years. i came into this project with absolutely no expectations of making anything

i just wanted to exercise the muscles required to work on something small while also having a full time job

we used an entirely new framework with no past code to steal, so it was a challegne

but watching friends mash replay on it was more than enough to make the work worth it

starting out

the vision was "frantic top down shooter"

i made a quick character controller & gameobject system and then miredly made the first boss

steal and shuffle

miredly was doing an "ultimate" (some ffxiv thing idk) and showed me a boss fight. the loop looked cool, and we wanted to use the same idea and were dead set on huge floor attacks

this turned out great and fit our vision of "frantic" perfectly

if this were a pure bullet hell in an arena, you'd be making almost surgical micro-movements like touhou, which isn't frantic.

however, with gigantic sweeping floor attacks, you're incentivised to zoom around. these floor attacks spawn right on top of you too, meaning you WILL have to get moving!!!!!!!!!!!!!

explosive scoping

we had a lot of ideas, and we had to be ruthlessly subtractive. it almost felt like a bad decision at the time. but if we were not ruthless, we would have not made a good game, or maybe we never would have completed it at all

to interpret the jam theme "makeshift" we really wanted makeshifty mechanics; - huge chunks scrap falling off the bosses which u can use as a bullet shield - different random ammo drops - the last 2 you pick up get combined to create a unique kind of bullet - makeshift guns where you tape together multiple different guns and inherit the attributes of both (shotgun minigun!?)

i drafted out the first 2 and they weren't fun. they sounded like good ideas, but in practice they don't add much

that was a rly difficult thing to notice - "it doesn't add much"

it's easy to notice if something's bad and makes your game worse, but if it's simply just "whatever", then it still doesn't need to exist. id much rather spend that bandwidth working on the things that do matter, and in this case that paid off a loooot

a big number of dimensions to your game sounds good in your head, but even if you could pull it off, you'll have a thousand unrefined features that clash, confuse or dilute your game. id prefer a tiny set of mechanics that people can immediately understand, then surprise them with depth


i hate "easy" "medium" "hard" garbage so much i feel insane

but, we wanted casual players and supergamers to both have fun

  1. for casual gamers, the goal is to beat the bosses and finish the game. you have a huge health pool so it's very forgiving, but this means even casual players can see and experience the final boss and say they fully completed it. (in retrospect this was actually too casual, they had too much hp)

  2. for supergamers, the goal is to beat the dev times. getting hit increases your time hugely, so it incentivises never getting hit once - a very supergamer thing to do! this became a lot of people's reason for mashing replay

some absolute viking got this time:

art direction

i had a few director-y moments which i was satisfied with

art direction is hard, we talked about making the bosses huge scrappy mechs, but the ideas just weren't gelling with me.. i just don't have the big mech gene in me

i had a meltdown and then just settled for something i always do, which is draw cute girls. i think leaning into things you unapologetically enjoy is good rather than going for.. whatever's sensible? or expected? and i love the juxtoposition of normal-looking characters being badass or having huge weapons

i unashamedly love homogeneous color palettes - for ferra, every color on screen is color-picked from a pic of a molten iron crucible. i think it suited the vibe well

music direction

miredly carried the music department and got a stream of compliments for the music.

my 1 contribution which was the sort of "seed" of the vibe we wanted for this game. i gave them this;


the rhythmic, mechanical vibe of it just suited the idea of clunky mechs and big machinery so well

they took that locus and made it way better than i imagined, the soundtrack rocks. having this one vibe-y point of reference kept the whole game singing in the same tune and made it feel coherent

but yea

im so so so so stoked to have something released after so long. it was hard work, but it's almost given me more energy to work harder in future

qiolp;578dfopa'u,t;klguedkl;jtg;t'asjtg'dashng'lah4tyl;dfe;hdk;lh;lkl;ghl;ksdhg;shdkghs yknow what i mean

0 cools!!
Go back home