Late Night Rants #001 – Weegee From the Beginning

Starting a new “blog” where I post the incoherent, nonsensical ideas that come to mind when I get home from work in the early mornings. I’m not going to proofread of check these for errors. They are what they are.

I’ve been watching a lot of casts of people playing Weegee (and some other fangames) recently, and it has made me reevaluate my way of thinking about these kinds of games. When I first started making IWBTW back in May 2009 the sole focus was to make a hard game. Anyone that has seen IWBTW v0.1 knows what the results of such a narrow minded endeavour were, a piece of garbage game, with horrible controls and underdeveloped ideas.

A few months later however I grew frustrated with the limitations with the engine and the low quality of the game it produced. As a result, the first remake was started. I created a new engine from scratch and began working on a bigger and better Weegee. This time I had different goals in mind. I didn’t just want to make a hard game. It needed to more more than another torture test. Weegee needed to be fun.

As time went on and more an more ideas were scrapped due to engine limitations I became less and less motivated to work on the game. The quality of the game plummeted, and the same mistakes in design from the original began to appear. The levels started to rely on precise jumps or went on too long without a save point. IWBTW started to become a chore to play and to make. Eventually development came to complete stand still and remained that way for about 6 months.

Finally, in May 2010, 1 year after the original project became the second complete remake was started. My understanding of platform engines had greatly improved, and I was now capable of making something challenging yet fun. The newest version of Weegee feature the best platform engine I had made to date, a better design philosophy, a focus on fun over challenge, and a real desire to be more that just another shitty fangame. Making a game worth playing was a realistic goal as long as creating enjoyable gameplay remained the core feature of any new content.

At first it was. Its evident in the way many of the early screens of Weegee are designed, in the way that screens that could easily have been much harder were modified to be easier, less repetitive and overall less frustrating to the player while still retaining a decent amount of challenge. However, the more recent content has been created to be more difficult that the content before it. It lacks the shine, that spark that makes the first world special for me. When I see people playing Weegee for the first time, maybe as their first introduction to the world of fangames I see their morale start to decline as they reach the later stages of the game, and its evident that I failed to place fun at a higher level than difficulty in the later stages of the game.

Thankfully its a beta. There is still time to go back and adjust content. Many of the issues that make screens more irritating than enjoyable to the player are easily fixed with a few minor changes. Hopefully in the next version players will notice a reduction in the amount of unnecessarily difficult rooms, improved consistency in the difficulty of each world, and a fun factor that is higher than the frustration the gameplay brings about.




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