This game development postmortem is written by Melissa, 1/2 of the Virtua Worlds team and the programmer for Devil Devour Alive DX.
First off, development of Devil Devour Alive DX is not completely finished. We are continuing to support the game with any necessary patches, and marketing efforts. We plan on launching a major update in October 2023. The list of desired features and updates are still being finalized.
Devil Devour Alive DX is the first commercial game I programmed. I program our games completely with blueprint visual coding in Unreal Engine. When I started making games I had no experience or formal training, so I am constantly learning how to do things via forum posts, tutorial videos and more recently Discord groups and Reddit.
Most of our games start off as game jam ideas including Devil Devour Alive, which was a Ludum Dare 2020 submission. The act of completing brainstorming, design, art, programming and packaging in 4 days is really an overwhelming experience and something you have to set your mind to do if you want to complete your game. Usually, my partner comes up with the most insane idea he can think of and says "You can do that right?" and I nod, and say "Well, I never have before but sure..." while I'm still processing the concept of bodies being crushed to feed the devil a waterfall of blood.
Our team got some praise and recognition for our Ludum Dare submission, we also had people tipping us for the game on our Itch.io page, even though it was free. We ended up taking a break from Devil Devour Alive and completed a few other projects and game jam submissions. Virtuaworlds.itch.io
Finally, we decided we were ready to try and create a commercial game from one of our game jam games. We settled on Devil Devour Alive, thinking it would be the "easiest" to make into a complete game and get the experience of what it takes to launch a complete game on Steam. The features we really wanted to incorporate in the launch build were TATE mode, new graphics, leaderboards, weekly challenges, and seasonal events.
The feature that took the most time was the screen rotation system (TATE MODE). I couldn't just rotate the camera, because the whole game world would have to rotate, including the gravity of the falling bodies. It took a lot of thinking and planning to come up with attaching the camera output to a Widget UI and then rotating that on the screen. By doing this, the game still played and looked the same in every screen rotation, while maintaining consistent controls with every rotation. Also, every menu screen had to be created 4 times (one for each orientation). To be honest, I initially didn't get the appeal of screen rotation and a 9:16 gameplay screen because I don't really play arcade games as much as my partner. I wanted to drop this feature many times due to me not understanding how to complete it and the labour involved, but I think it ended up adding to the retro vibe of our game. Other challenges included anchoring the widescreen background image for different screen resolutions, figuring out the options menu, fonts for different languages, and localizing the game in multiple languages.
I really enjoy how the visuals of our game turned out. The game still feels like our 2020 Ludum Dare submission but with a complete makeover. Adding the changing sky, dripping blood, and improving the blood spray was fun and I think adds interesting visual elements to our game. Also, I was never happy with our old title screen and main menu, I like it much more now. My partner is the designer and really knows how to come up with impressive and interesting ideas for the look of the game. I feel like Devil Devour Alive DX is my greatest achievement, even though it's just a little Steam game. It took a lot of hard work and planning. I'm happy with the completed product and feel hopeful for our teams next project.
Next up will be the postmortem by the game designer and composer of Devil Devour Alive DX.
If you would like to see me dig deeper into my process for specific features of the game, leave a comment to let me know.
😈 DEVIL DEVOUR ALIVE DX 😈
Here are also a video of our latest highscore! And a wip screenshot we took while making a new post processing effect.