Gamejams; A retrospective
A stress test, a 48 hour dash of madness combined with creativity, a terribly great way to learn a new tool or method. Game Jams have been a big part of my game design and development exploration throughout the last few years.
Game Jams promote a laser focus on what matters, every second counts, and every decision could be the straw that breaks the camels back. I've greatly enjoyed attempting these alone, and as part of groups. Learning from failures as much as successes is important, so beware, dragons await!
Global Game Jam 2018 was the largest team I've been a part of first time I joined a game jam in person. It was fun suggesting and hearing ideas for the "Transmission" theme, and hearing them evolve and eventually watching them evolve into actual games.
One of the participants suggested they were interested in the transmission of emotions, being able to watch the permutations and evolution through a sandbox like game. This solidified thanks to another member of our forming team wanting to have a game follow the emotions through a game jam, or working on a project. The result was impressive, events would randomly happen during the game and in our presentation, the entire game-office went on holiday, then took leave, causing the project to fail.
We used Unity Teams for version control, eventually figuring out how to wrangle the locked down computers into letting us set a program for managing diffs. Other team members worked on art, the 3D models with Mixamo animations, and the code for providing a simple percentage done calcuation, from the individual progress and aspirations of the individual team members. I contributed some early Unity UI assistance and project setup, and helped with some of the gnarlier issues working around Unity's UI framework.
Elemental Master (Web, ludum dare)
Ludum Dare 35 was the first time I worked with an other person in person for a Ludum dare. In 48 hours we ended up with a pretty impressive top down elemental shooter. With a unique teleporting mechanic and traps. Lawn nailed the concept art and UI, and I scripted, did basic audio and music, and laid out the game in Construct 2. It was fun working with a talented artist, and I learned a tonne just by watching his approach to solving problems quickly.
Tumornator (Web, Ludum Dare 34)
Tumornator was an interesting and fun project to work on. My first real foray into Unity, I had some great successes with animating the background just by moving the texture, and the 2d repeating sides gave the illusion of 3d. I also churned out sprites from a 3D model, through some animation in blender, and by hand in Photoshop.
LordKawaii, did the bulk of programming for the game, which gave me space to flit around doing story, sound effects and a bit of UI. My teammate contracted some music from a friend, so overall the result was pretty.polished!
Beneath the Surface (web, Ludum Dare 29)
Beneath the Surface was my first full foray into game jams. music production, game graphics and game development. After a morning of brainstorming inbetween chores I settled on a tongue in cheek game where you'd play an iceberg chasing down ships. As you fell ships, you would gain power (And a polar bear friend).
The game engine was mostly modified from an "Asteroids" starter project, but I really enjoyed the game-development specific issues I tacked, specifically the spawners and how sprites can come in completely upside down.
I'm still happy that I managed to finish a pretty well rounded game. Obviously missing some finer feedback loops and flourish.