Will O'Kane Level 4· 4 min read · 54 views
Where to start! First off, this was an awesome experience. This is the first time I've actually entered the jam and I'm glad I did. It's amazing what you can do in 48 hours when you just push yourself to keep working on something, and the games that have come out of it are crazy.
As soon as I read the theme, I knew exactly what I wanted to center my game around. I figured a lot of people's entries would be cave-crawlers and skydiving, so I needed to make mine diferent, to stand out. And thus was born 'Incoming!'.
Working alone, I decided to prioritise what needed to be done so that I could stay on top of the time limit. I kept a notepad window open and sent out 3 different beta versions of the game to friends for them to play test while I worked on different aspects of it.
The first challenge I had was that this was my first time working with particles. Was it risky? Sure, but I wanted to create the effect of a blazing trail behind the falling asteroid and the fuel blast coming from the missiles. I learned so much from trying to make this work, and it took a long time. A decent chunk of the first day. After that, I drew all the sprites for the game that I thought I'd need, and this turned out to be around 30% of what's in the final product. You really can't plan for imagination.
The coding itself was pretty simple, I managed to finish the core game in all it's silent, barely-functioning glory by the end of the first day, with all the sprites and objects that I needed to flesh it out drawn up ready for the second.
The morning of the second day was entirely taken up by giving the game a more complete feel, adding the title screen with highscore, the how to play screen, making sure there weren't any bugs, and generally smoothing it out. It was at 8pm on the second day when I looked at my notepad plan and realised I hadn't even started making any music or sound effects.
Having never made any original music or sound effects before, what made it into the finished game is pretty simplistic at best. The theme is a 3 second loop that took me way too long to figure out, and got incredibly annoying after hours of playtesting. On the other hand, the sound effects are surprisingly solid, if a little basic, and I think they give the game a far more complete feel.
All through the jam, I pretended I had 1 less hour than I did. This gave me an extra sense of urgency, and made sure I finished it on time. Sure enough, I finished and exported it with an hour to spare. But as I played it, I realised it felt.. empty. The only game mechanic was the evasion of missiles, and after a minute or two it got far too repetitive. I quickly went back and added a new element, the ability to eject rock forwards to blow up missiles in your path. However, this backfired slightly. In my rush to implement it, I didn't bother limiting it. My submitted product ended up with the ability to fire endless rocks and clear a path forever. This was my biggest mistake in the whole jam. Accurate representation of the moment I realised - https://media.tenor.co/images/69462a5f9a21d15cb58e97a5a9fd4b5d/tenor.gif
Overall, I'm really happy with what I made. It's one of the first games I've started and actually finished (always starting unrealistic projects and leaving them half-done), and I'm impressed at what I could do by myself in such a short time. I learned a lot, and I'm looking forward to the next jam with a vengeance, I can't wait. Thanks to /u/tehwave and everyone who made this jam what it was.