Hi! I make video games, I think.

Age 24

Joined on 4/14/13

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So, it's been a week now. I figured now would be a good time to reflect on Looping Larceny, and give some insight on its development. Be aware that there are major spoilers ahead.

I had originally conceived the idea of a "time loop search action" game a while ago. I don't remember exactly WHEN, though. Conceptually, the idea was primarily inspired by Metroid (duh) and Minit. Minit itself is a strange case; while it inspired the game's time loop mechanic; I felt like Minit ultimately didn't do enough with it to justify its existence. I made a point to try and better integrate the time loop into Looping Larceny; time also acts as hit points, and collecting upgrades opens up shortcuts to progress further into the cave.

However, the time loop hook was not enough to get me interested in starting development. However, after playing Pizza Tower, a thought occurred to me: what if, after reaching the goal, the player needed to return to the exit within the current time limit? I felt like this would be a fun surprise for the player and an exciting ending to the game. With this idea in mind, development started sometime in mid-June.

While we're talking about inspirations, I also want to shout-out Downwell, as it inspired the game's title screen.

The first part of development was largely about movement and upgrades. Initially, there were going to be three additional upgrades, but these did not make their way into the final product. The first two were a double jump and a high jump. Obviously three "jump" upgrades was a bit excessive, so I very quickly scrapped the double jump. There was also the "Safety Helmet", which would have reduced the time loss upon getting hit.

When I started to design the cave itself, I quickly realized that nearly half of the screens would need to have an upgrade or timer if I wanted to have eight total upgrades in the game. The high jump and safety helmet were both immediately scrapped to cut down on the redundancy. The helmet icon, however, was retooled for the Spike Helmet. The spike helmet was originally planned to be a pair of boots, but it was changed to avoid having two boot upgrades.

At this point, I think I should address the rather long development time. After all, it's a game that takes ten minutes to beat, how long do you need? Well, sadly, I was also dealing with off-and-on bouts of depression at the same time. At one point, my life felt so monotonous that I began to see the game itself as a warped expression of my life; every day feeling exactly the same. I continued to press on, but progress was a lot slower than I would've liked. Some days, I couldn't even bring myself to work on it.

Eventually, I sent out a basic test build to a few of my friends in September. Thankfully, it was well-received; if it wasn't, I'm not sure I could have brought myself to complete the project.

From this point on, I handed the project off to Mari for her to work on sprites and audio. I do want to genuinely thank her for her involvement in this project; without her, I don't think I would've completed it on my own. I gave her some basic direction when it came to the character sprites, but for the mostpart, the sprites and music were done by Mari. I think she did a fantastic job, and probably did far better than I would have if I opted to complete them on my own.

That leads me to release, where the game was thankfully pretty well received by my friends and the various people of the Internet. I even earned my first trophy here on Newgrounds- 4th place doesn't sound super impressive, but hey, I'll take it!

A few people have picked up on the Metroid influence, particularly in the very first area, which is very similar to the opening of Metroid 1. However, in true Metroid fashion, I think the strength of the game comes from its replayability. Despite being pretty short, I've noticed a lot of people playing the game again to get a better rank, a better time, or even challenging themselves to complete the game without collecting the optional timers. The game was designed to be speedrun friendly, and being able to accomplish that to some extent has been very rewarding for me.


If I do have any regrets.... it's the darn timer that's shown in this image. Within the first 24 hours, I received four separate complaints about this very timer. If you're wondering, you're supposed to perform a rolling jump to it from the opposite ledge, which seemed to confuse people since this isn't required anywhere else. Probably compounding the issue is the single bat that's flying between the two ledges; a few seemed to think that you were supposed to jump off of it to reach the other side. And because the ledges needed to be as low as they are, I couldn't really do much else with the room, leading to a pretty boring layout for something that comes so late in the game.

Thank you for taking the time to read this if you've scrolled this far. Overall, I'm still very happy with the final product, even if there's things I probably would've done differently knowing what I know now.


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