thinking about Stabby Hellion

Reflections on putting out a demo that's now striking me as a little unappealling:

- The tutorial isn't really a tutorial, but rather an overview of the game followed by what's basically level zero. It should just be part of the main progression!

- Super proud of the graphics and the spritework and the feel of the music, but the levels look busy; people are used to macrostructure and metatiles in retro-ish games nowadays; I used the wall tiles in scattershot and divisively artistic ways and I imagine it's hard for everyone's eyes to settle on what's happening, especially on the Streets of Graydnmuch level. I wanna move away from tile-based games anyway and this is a huge reason - my aesthetic choices can often be more about entertaining myself than about drawing other people in.

- I was lazy with the main sprite, should've been four to remind you which way you're facing this turn. Was thinking too much about DROD, the main inspiration anyway, and in that game the character can move in any of the eight directions and has no "facing" - it's all about the direction his sword points, independent of movement. Here, character and attack movement are linked so that element needs way more feedback.

- The game is too hard. Sorry! The idea I had was to make a turn-based game where you could slice up little demons and the puzzle stuff would be minimal - I deliberately added no block-pushing and cancelled the button pressing mechanic I had in mind so that the game'd solely be about movement, but on many of the screens the movements you need to find are precise and restrictive. If I make episodes for this engine, none of them'll be as hard as getting the key in the Cellars level. That one's ridiculous.

- I have to get more active in the Pico-8 community so that I get the chance to share my works with them. I did this basically solitary so the game'll stay solitary unless I can convince a few online friends to play it. Oh well. That's probably every game dev and I'm grumpy and solitary in nature lol

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