I Quit! Must Dash! Or, when 48 hours became six months

I Quit! Must Dash! started its life in the Ludum Dare 48 hour game development competition as F This Job. The theme was Minimalism, so I immediately set on a retro Gameboy style and brainstormed what games I could make using just one button (i.e. games that *use one button, not physically making the game with one button).

In the end, I built what I like to call a finite runner: Canabalt is a great example of an infinite runner, while my game attempts to retain the same simple control scheme and constant ‘near miss events’, combined with a classic single-screen platformer.

The original game did pretty well: it came in the top 50 out of over 2,000 games, and was highlighted by some big sites including Giantbomb, Digitalspy and Indiegames. Since a lot of people seemed to like it (and I thoroughly enjoyed making it), I decided to take the time to build it into a full game.

I collected all the various feedback from the Ludum Dare site and anywhere it had been posted, and drew up a mighty TODO list, combining it with the unfinished list from the original competition (e.g. adding a level editor).

In only a few short weeks I had something that I considered a finished product. Unfortunately, it didn’t really *look* any different. After much consideration, I decided to reach out to a great artist who I’d collaborated with before and struck a deal. He redid all the art, and came up with a great many ideas around the story and overall theme. I think the animation below does a great job of showing just how much better he made the game look.

So now the game was both looking and playing great, so surely it was ready to release? Unfortunately not yet: the process of adding the new graphics greatly increased my enthusiasm for the game and therefore gave me a hundred other gameplay ideas. I’m usually the first to stop scope creep in its tracks (being a Project Manager by trade), but if I have both the drive and the ideas, then so long as I only focus on completing one thing at a time I’ll happily continue it for as long as I think I’m adding value.

It was roughly early September when I considered it finished, which of course meant it was only ready for wider playtesting. I fired it to every outlet I could think of (I’ll go over this in more detail in another post) and discovered a whole heap of problems from the interface to the level design, but the general consensus was certainly a positive one. After spending several weeks fixing the issues I completed another round of feedback gathering, again lengthening my TODO list (but not by quite as much this time round). This process carried on for nearly two months, until I was finally satisfied with the product, at which point I uploaded it to FGL.com (formerly FlashGameLicense).

So that is where we are at now: the game is up for bidding and things are so far looking positive. After the bidding concludes, I’ll be spending another few weeks implementing sponsor logos, preloaders, APIs, etc, but I’m certainly planning to release it before Christmas. As for plans for the future, I have plenty and that’s all I can really say about that for now…

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