This was the first time Jake and I had ever done a game jam together. Jake has done a few here and there (check out his Ludum Dare game here: Humphrey’s Tiny Adventure), but this was my first ever jam of any kind.
Taking our individual strengths into consideration, I wound up doing about 75% asset work, and 25% programming work.
Most of the coding I did was game-related, rather than engine-related. I implemented the system for importing Ogmo Editor tilemaps. Much credit goes to Zachary Lewis and his videos for getting me going with this. Not much else for me to say about coding.
The artwork was a big, time-sucking black hole. This is primarily because I’m no real artist. Given enough time, I can make it look acceptable. Unfortunately, for this jam, “enough” time was too much time. I would spend so much time on animations that, by the time I was done with one, my brain was fried. I would have to take a break or do some sort of ritual to get my mental state in tact enough to be useful again. However, I am pleased with the general look of the characters.
I wrote, programmed, and recorded the music myself. This didn’t take too long, and I am quite pleased with the track. At one point, I was struggling to get something going, so I decided, just for the heck of it, to hop into 7/4 time and see what I could make from it. It was enough to spark my creativity again and what you hear is the result. Here’s the track: “Our Life Now”.
Jake and I worked together on the sound effect(s). For our basic cheesy punch sounds, we took a big fuzzy blanket and whipped it in front of a microphone. Then we sprinkled some studio magic on it (excessive compression, noise gate, EQ, pitch shifting). Recording the sound effects gave us a nice break from coding and the monotony of pixel pushing. Plus, it feels good to do it yourself!
What went well:
- Creation of the music went smoothly, quickly, and gave a good result.
- Working with Flashpunk was great. It’s a beautiful framework.
- Discovered Ogmo. Far easier and simpler to work with than Mappy.
- Learned about XML. Yep, this was new to me.
- We came up with cool ideas that we feel broke out of the clichés and stereotypes of the themes (Post-Apocolyptic and Sci-fi).
- Unfortunately, we were unable to implement almost all of our story ideas.
- We struggled with designating individual tasks, and consequently would occasionally work on something unhelpful for some time.
- We started at an odd time (10pm). This was our decision, though. I don’t think we’ll be starting at the same time again, because it made for difficult sleeping schedules.
- We didn’t initially plan things out very well, which resulted in an unclear vision of what the final product should be.
- The art took up way too much time. It kept me from doing more useful things.
- Get an artist to join us, or find a way to do simplistic and minimal art.
- Start around noon, and get some regular sleep (minus a few hours each night).
- Put time aside in the beginning to get a realistic end product in mind, and a general course of work to follow.
- Trim our ideas down to size, and go into “idea freeze” early on.
Thank you to everyone who voted in our polls and gave our game a run. This was a good learning experience, and I am overall pleased with the result. I look forward to participating in more game jams with Jake in the future!
Also, if there is anyone interested in working with us as Thaumaturgist Games, we invite you to participate in our next game jam. Think of it as an interview of sorts. Get in contact with us if you’re interested.
Check out the game here!: Thirty Years After Year Zero
And check out my timelapse videos here:
Main (Part 1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXTeW1BVS4c&feature=plcp
Main (Part 2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TfngDL3eWQ&feature=plcp
Tile Editor: Ogmo Editor
Drums: Native Instruments Battery
Image Editor: Paint.NET
Animation Helper: Sprite Animation Helper (add-on to Paint.NET)