Treasure Tower Trouble

Play Treasure Tower Trouble
Liked the music? Download the Treasure Tower Trouble OST here

Intended as a challenge to complete a game in a week or two in less than 100 hours total, Treasure Tower Trouble ended up taking several months (as my summer ended and another semester of classes began) and around 250 hours.  Waaaaaaaaay too much time for a game of this type.  I never had high hopes for this game being a hit by any means, but I was a couple years off in predicting its success.  A couple years ago I probably could have made a couple hundred to a grand from this game but November 2012 decided that I’d just make $40 on it.

For this game I went back to doing all of the art myself, unlike Parasite Strike where I contracted out some artwork.  I do like the benefits of doing my own art exactly as how I envision it and when I need it but man does it add to the development time.  I also hadn’t done any kind of pixel art for a while and was really wanting to do some, so that alone aided in my deciding to make this.

Treasure Tower Trouble is also the first game I’ve released where I’ve used Tiled, a nifty little tool for creating tile-based maps.  It saves the file into an xml file, with a couple different compression methods, which takes a bit of getting used to and some code to decompress and organize the data how you need it, but after that’s written it makes creating maps (with tiny file sizes) pretty simple.

The gameplay is very simple; you choose a character and try to climb as high as possible in a tower filled with treasure, collecting as much as possible before the tower sinks into the swamp.  Your game ends when you get caught in the rising water.  There are certain goals that you can reach, like “collect X gold in a single run,” that unlocks additional characters, each with their own unique movement style.

I got caught up in the graphics style with this game, and that was the real killer, considering the lack of any decent, addicting gameplay.  In the early stages of art, I really a pseudo-3D look I got by showing two sides of each block.  I spent some time to figure out a way to tile this using different layers and thought it wouldn’t be too much work, but it turned out to be a very poor decision for development time.  The problem with this 3D look with sides is that the player sprite needs to be shown in front of some parts and behind others, and the water (oh the water…) does all kinds of funky things when it reaches a tile.

This upper left corner tile needs to be a layer below the player when standing on it, but when hanging on the corner, needs to be above.  I had to use a separate layer and flip the visibility of it when certain parts of the player hitbox touches it to make everything look right.  These are things you don’t really think about while playing it, and I definitely didn’t think about in early development, but they really add to development time.  I really should have stuck with a slightly less attractive straight-on 2d perspective and saved so many hours of work.

Oh well, I’ll chalk it up as another learning experience.

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