A post mortem
When I started writing the post mortem for the original Face-Plant Adventures, it really was just about getting something done that had been long overdue. Some time after release, my brother (2D artist on the project) had started preparing a draft of an article on the art style of the game but for some reason never finished it. I took that draft as a basis for my post mortem but neither did I intend for it to get that extensive nor did I have any intention of working on the game itself again. But the more I thought about it, the more it saddened me that our game was gone for good after Microsoft had decided to close down the Xbox LIVE Indie Games channel on the Xbox 360 marketplace in 2017. We had never released the game to other platforms so it would be lost beyond recall.
|While I'm dreaming of a PC port, Florence's dream in the new intro sequence is dominated by golden leaves.|
I decided that this was not a worthy fate for Florence Face-Plant and tried to figure out how much effort it would take to create a PC build of the game. Being a level and audio designer on the project but not a coder, I knew that some of the required adjustments would be tricky for me, and crash, the game's original coder, had long moved on and was not available anymore. But I knew that I would have to rectify at least some of the original game's flaws or else I wouldn't be happy with a PC release.
At first, I focused on reworking the visuals of all the levels by adding unused and some new assets such as new trees, a grass surface and clouds, adjusting the lighting and coloring (especially of the darker levels) and removing most of the annoying large patterns from the floor/wall tiles. The ghastly goo enemy also got pimped by adding an animated eye.
|Original: Repeating floor patterns.|
|Replanted: No repeating patterns, new background assets.|
When things looked fine, I examined the intro sequence that I had started but never finished for the original game that would have provided some (if not much) context for the game's (admittedly not very deep and silly) story. To my surprise, I was able to make this intro work rather quickly and so moved on to also add an outro sequence to the last level, where players now get to see what Florence does with all the golden leaves they have acquired throughout the adventure. Finishing the outro took me a bit longer to get working, though, mostly because I feature creeped by deciding to implement two different endings. (*facepalm*)
|Spoiler Alert: Florence restores the magic maple tree to full bloom in the good ending.|
With story and visual improvements now in place, I could have been content but I just couldn't stop there. Over the past few years I've been working on and off on Project Plantylon, my sandbox project for several game dev ideas related to potential Face-Plant Adventures sequels. In this sandbox, I have already spent considerable time on improving the controls for Florence and now I wondered if they would work in the old game, too?
After applying the new control settings, I extensively tested all the levels again and made minor adjustments to level layouts where necessary. I found that for the most part there were no issues although Florence moves quite a bit quicker now and even the addition of a running skill required geometry changes only in a few places. Some more effort was put into enhancing the ceiling slide skill. In the original game, the ceiling slide lasted for a maximum of only 500ms and it didn't even have its own animation (Florence remained in the jumping animation for the duration of the ceiling slide).