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T.O.M. (time operator machine)

Lv. 2
Javifugitivo Level 2
· 3 min read · 15 views

When on Friday, January 19, I read that a new GM48 Jam was being held, I started thinking that it would be fun to participate. It's just two days, a few hours, and when there's a theme in the Jam, good and new ideas always emerge. So, with the attitude of doing something different, I signed up.

First Day
On Saturday, I practically streamed the development on Twitch all day. I started with gameplay, interpreting the Jam theme in various ways "Just one":
I wanted only one color, so I opted for black and white with one color to highlight interactions. I wanted the control to be with a single button, so I decided to implement a character that moves on its own and can react to obstacles. The auto-runner mechanic emerged where you open the player's path by manipulating mechanisms. One character, one action, one color. It seemed like everything was going well. I made changes to the scenario, jumps to temporal planes, and the development started to get complicated. Also, my health wasn't the best (very cold and cough).

Image from Gyazo

Saturday ended with a pause system and a change of plane, where the entire aesthetics of the game changed (from white to black). On paper, I started sketching up to ten different levels.

Second Day

2nd Day: On Sunday, I woke up feeling a bit better, and I decided to separate the complete pause from the change of plane. Changing the plane opened the doors to hidden interactions, etc. During the morning, I designed a bunch of mechanics that I couldn't ultimately fit into the game. Here's a sample:

Image from Gyazo

Turrets that you would have to stop with mechanisms, portals to teleport to other parts of the level, and laser detection systems that you would only see in dark mode.

In the afternoon, my goal was to finish polishing the programming, which started giving errors due to silly mistakes and trying to go too fast. Above all, I wanted to finish the tutorial level to make it super polished. The levels that were completed a few hours before the deadline were the tutorial level, the end of the game, as well as the credits and the start screen.

Advice: Don't leave level design for the end. I found that there was very little time left for the submission deadline, and I had only 2 levels done. I quickly made level 2 and level 3 and fixed some last-minute bugs. With twenty minutes left, I had uploaded the game, and it worked. Then I decided to rush and put together a fourth level: Mistake. In the end, I had to tweak the platform programming for this level, and it ended up working, but it introduced an error in the previous level, and a platform that was supposed to descend... decided not to descend, right in the middle of the game.

If I had stopped when I had level 3 finished, I could have used those minutes to test the game and make it a bit more polished. Lesson learned.

Image from Gyazo

This doesn't take away from the fact that I am happy with the result. I have created a fairly complete prototype in about 24 real hours of programming and design, of which I am very proud. I hope its mechanics have entertained you. On my YouTube channel (javifugitivo), you can find a complete walkthrough video of the game, in case you want to see the final scenes and the level that couldn't be played. Thanks for reading!