First Game Jam. Done.
Last weekend I participated in the Global Game Jam in Barcelona! finally! Has been such a great experience, and now that I am fully recovered, just as a self reminder, I would like to write some lines analyzing what we did right and wrong.
Looking for a Team
I have been living in Barcelona only for a couple of years, so I went to this jam without knowing anyone. So tried to arrive quite soon in order to meet some people and gather a team.
The organizers group all the people that like me, went alone, or needed some extra member (we were around 15 people), and started arranging teams according to the needs and the skills of everyone. So I ended with a team of two programmers, one 3d artist, and a musician. All of them also participating in a jam for the first time.
In the next 48 hours, we managed to create this game, Roomba Fighters:
In this game, two players have to compete for the cleanest house. They must clean their apartment faster than his neighbor by throwing all the garbage in the thrash container, but they can also throw it inside the neighbors place. That’s up to the player, but the experience tell us, that this will end in a garbage fight!
The game is developed entirely in Unity3d, and the assets created in Blender. We have used a 3rd party post process shader. All the sounds and music are recorded/composed by our musician,
What we did wrong:
- Initially we were playing with the keyboard, but at some point we decided to use the xbox controls. The problem is that we only had one control. So we tested everything with a single player. The last day, we manage to borrow an extra control from the organization to test play a full game, and everything went wrong! the second control buttons were interfering with the first player movements. And we only had one hour to upload the game to the Global jam website. At the end we managed to configure it back to play with the keyboard. So, dont leave the controls for the last day, start testing them from the begining.
- GIT. I am used to Git, I use it everyday for my projects. But just me. Sharing a project with other members is a different story. So the first night, we used a wrong command and lost about 4 hours of one member’s work. So for the next jam: get to know the proper workflow for branching, pushing and merging Unity projects.
- NOT SOCIALIZING. Ok, jams are about make games, but also about having fun and meeting people. My mistake was focusing only in the game, and spend all the time in front of the screen. Ok, we made a nice game, but next time I would like to take it more relaxed, and have time to have fun, talk with the rest of the developers, try their games and give them a hand if necesary.
What we did right:
- Despite we had a lot of cool ideas in our initial brainstorming, we managed to keep the game inside a limit. Many times we had to stop, think and discard a lot of stuff. The feature creep beast was always behind every corner. Of course the game would have been much more fun with the super vacuum cleaner weapon, but sacrifices had to be made if we wanted to have a game working in time.
- Have a backup plan. As I mentioned, we couldn’t get the xbox controls to work properly, so the first time I saw it could be a problem, I coded the keyboard controls and a variable to set them on if needed. It took me just 5 min. But they give us a safety net in case we could fix the problem in time. Just make the game playable.
- Make a playable version of the game, and upload it soon. You can always resubmit a new version. Do it soon, and then you can go for that extra feature with some peace of mind. The more stressed you are, the more mistakes you will make.
We ended in 4th position of 20 games presented in the jam site. Being that our first jam for all our members, feels like wining the gold!
Since the jam I have played a couple of times to the game, and I have to say it’ s quite fun. I happens to have some emergent mechanics I didnt plan. And again, it is surreal that we could build a working game in just 48 hours! But we did.
Let’s do it again 🙂