Hoo? A Tarot Deck and Game

Created: 2022-12-06
Updated: 2023-01-30
Title for Hoo? the game

This is an entry for Anamnesis Jam (itch.io), a game jam for Anamnesis (itch.io), a tarot-based solo pencil-and-paper journaling RPG!

tarot card: The magician is an owl with a wand

Making the game

The biggest part of all of this was drawing a complete 78 card tarot deck. This is a "bucket list" goal of mine that I’ve always stalled on because it’s so easy to analyze it to death.

The cards were specifically made to be small images (360px high) in the game. That helped me get over the "analysis paralysis" phase and start scribbling!

Of course, as time went on, I started to work more carefully and do a better job. So I got faster and more efficient at drawing and coming up with ideas and compositions, but the rate of output never really increased because I was doing higher quality work.

The game itself took longer than I expect as well. I joked from the start that it is basically a "glorified text entry field" with some random prompts. Which is true. But the more I worked on it, the more polished it became. And UIs are a lot of work. As always, I got started by willfully fooling myself into thinking it was easy and simple.

All told, the whole game took about two and a half months of evenings and weekends. I had originally expected to get a lot done during the holidays (because I wouldn’t be doing the day job). But holidays as a parent aren’t very conducive to getting projects done. I think that’s starting to finally sink into my skull. They’re time off, yes, but not for projects.

Anyway, I ended up working on it feverishly right up until the last 30 hours before the deadline. The code turned into bit of a rat’s nest (including at least one truly regretable switch/case that actually made use of fall-through as a feature).

I’m really glad I did this game jam. I’m also glad I underestimated the amount of work this would take.

Now I’m going to undertake an "analog week" of reading books, drawing on actual paper, and getting back to needle felting.