Devlog #6 - Close to Playable Alpha & SOTS v1 Postmortem


Hi everyone, welcome to another devlog of Serenade of the Sirens (SOTS). Wanted to give another update of the current state of SOTS and be as transparent as possible. As I mentioned in previous updates, I have rebuilt the game from scratch and am working on a new version. I'll create a beta branch with the new version but I would like to expose the latest version with a smaller group of play testers first. If you're interested in play testing you can join my discord ( for more details. I'm also offering a free key to a small group for play testing, so tell your friends!

Post Mortem of V1 SOTS

This section is a little more on the personal side as I would like to give a sort of post mortem for the previous version of SOTS as that will be put to rest soon. As SOTS is coming up on it's 3 year anniversary from being released, I have many thoughts about the game and development in general.

A quick note, v1 SOTS refers to the old version and v2 SOTS refers to the latest version that hasn't been released yet.

Working on Multiple Projects

This is a big one for me and is one of the reasons this game isn't further along or finished. I bit off way more than I could chew by not only making this game by myself, but also spreading myself thin by working on other projects on the side. The cons of this is not being far along with SOTS as I could have been, making promises to people that I couldn't fulfill which burned bridges, and ultimately not having something 'finished' with anything I was working on. On the positive side I did learn a lot in the process. If I was to do it again, I would have just kept SOTS as my full time project and not over commit myself (like an occasional game jam is fine).

Not Enough Prototyping

Another mistake I made is I didn't spend enough time in the prototyping phase of v1 SOTS. I like to set deadlines on projects so I can move it forward and I set an arbitrary timeline of 6 months for the game. After working on v2 SOTS now, I can see how some of the problems I have solved in the latest version could have been caught and remedied had I gave SOTS more time to bake in the oven. Will definitely wait longer in the future before I release a game on steam (even if in early access).

Art Challenges

This has definitely been one of the challenging areas of both versions SOTS for me. I started off as the original artist then eventually outsourced the artwork so I can focus on the design and programming side of things. I feel as though the art doesn't have a cohesive style and definitely could have used more work. I'm hoping v2 SOTS delivers a better experience in this regard, but it still has been challenging finding the right fit for artists and SOTS.


I may have highlighted some of these things in previous dev logs/updates, but I thought it's relevant to the discussion. Here a few things about gameplay that I thought could have been improved in v1 SOTS.

Lack of Progression

One thing I felt is lacking, and kind of a sin for roguelites, is any meaningful progression. There are items you can collect to make you stronger and end game powers up that have permanent effects, but they weren't exactly that great in my opinion as they either suffered from not much of an impact or just not enough options to progress.

Lack of Variety

There are four stages with v1 SOTS and besides art and slight enemy changes there isn't much difference. There is also only one style of attack and the abilities that you gain aren't that well thought out looking back at it now. The bosses (a.k.a Sirens) need to be revamped as well as add additional ones. Also there aren't many surprised or secrets as well. There needs to be something that brings you back to the game and I think the lack of variety didn't help.

Better Enemy and Room Designs

Another thing I wasn't satisfied with is the lack of synergy between the geometry of a room and the placement and mechanics of enemies. What I mean by that is more thought should have went into enemy placement as this can help with strategizing how to proceed further. I'm not relying on manual placement of enemies as opposed to more procedural for v2 SOTS. More fun and interesting opportunities can reveal themselves with the right placement and design.

Rebuilding 2 Times

Maybe recreating the game 2 different times wasn't the best idea and usage of time. For the first rebuild, I wanted to recreate the game with a better code base and in the end I got the same game (with a few performance improvements). I justified this in my mind by saying new features would be easier to add which they were, but this was short lived as I eventually decided to rebuild the second time.

If I could do it over again, I would just have refactored the first version which would have been a lot faster than starting from scratch (with the first rebuild). I feel good about the decision of the second rebuild as there are actual fundamental changes compared to the first rebuild.

Final Thoughts

Honestly working on games have been a dream come true. I love the roguelite genre and I hope the v2 SOTS will be a much better experience. There is definitely more I can say, but for now I'll conserve that energy and focus on v2 SOTS. Thanks for reading!

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