This was my second completed game jam. I feel like I did a lot of things wrong this time around, as opposed to my Ludum Dare #23 entry where everything seemed to go smoothly. I’m still pretty happy with the way it came out, but I thought it would be worth mentioning the mistakes I made.
What went wrong
Too much time to plan
When I participated in the Ludum Dare, I had no idea what the theme was going to be until the timer started. The knowledge that any time I spent brainstorming would cut into development time was a great incentive to come up with a plan quickly. Chris and I both checked the polls constantly for the days leading up to the deadline, so we knew fairly early on which choices would be picked. This led to far too much planning on our parts, and we were deep in feature creep before the jam had even officially begun. As a result, a lot of our ideas didn’t make it into the final game; some of these, unfortunately, were cut after working on them for long hours.
Distribution of labor
Somehow Chris ended up doing most of the artwork and I did most of the programming. Chris is a competent programmer and I can hold my own when it comes to creating art assets, so I’m not sure why it ended up happening this way. It would have been better for both of us to have split the work evenly.
What went right:
We used Ogmo Editor to design the levels and entity placement. I’d never used any kind of level editor for my own projects before (though Chris had), and it was a huge productivity boost. Level design took minutes instead of hours. I’ll definitely be using Ogmo in my future projects.
Flashpunk is a totally awesome framework. It does just enough for me without doing too much. Using Flashpunk (and AS3) also meant we got to use Flashdevelop, which is the best IDE I’ve ever used.
…and a little of both
One of the things I focused on towards the end was enemy behavior. I was able to plug in a Dijkstra path solver I’d written fairly easily, and I’m happy with its performance. Unfortunately, by the time I had it finished we were running low on time, so I wasn’t able to tweak things and make them perfect. The enemies occasionally overlap walls, and they can cluster together onto the same square.
I would have also liked to have implemented actual attack procedures. In the end we had to settle for making the enemies damage the player when they got close, instead of attacking normally.
Overall, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot about crunch time as a team. You can play the game here, and here’s my timelapse video of my computer during the jam: