This is my first ever post mortem about my first ever game jam! Hope you enjoy the 'gory' details!
The theme was "falling apart" for this game jam. This was the concept I had before starting:
"Falling apart” (Theme): 6/10. Collect bolts and nuts as a robot to sustain yourself. Collected items update the robots sprite with a new part."
As you can see I put a little score next to that idea "6/10". This was the likelihood of me entering the jam if that theme got chosen. The game ended up a bit different to the initial idea after testing just collecting parts - it wasn't enough. I figured it would be more fun to avoid a threat (bombs) to add conflict. Nuts and bolts add points, collect enough and the game ends repairing any damage done to the robot at the end.
I started by creating a level plan; drawing all the sprites / place holder sprites.
This was the thing I was worried about the most. It would seem I have learned more than I had realised since learning GML. Since learning I have never coded so fast before.
Lucky I have a supportive family who I roped into testing the game against their will evil laugh. The kid was happy and asked to play the game several times through development. Where he kept asking to play it I figured this might not turn into a complete disaster. He's also an expert bug finder.
Animating the robot was fun. I wanted it to be pretty comical. Its facial expression changes when it takes damage. I think it adds to the drama of losing body parts.
Last minute changes:
During testing I noticed the family struggled to stay alive. I adjusted the difficulty to compensate for this. I added the wrench at this point to restore the robot.
Sound & Music:
I thought it would be like browse, click something. "That sounds like a match!" but no. A lot of time was spent listening to different sounds and music until eventually a few things lined up for me.
Just when you think you're going to make it, almost there. BOOM! The whole thing breaks! The bombs had stopped spawning and that's a key part of the game. Luckily I found the bug in time. Then re-checked all the code...
After everything: The game is done. Things look reasonable but it isn't over yet. There's that little thing called promotional graphics I had forgotten about and oh yeah the description / title. At this point I was so tired I had forgotten the name of the game.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
- Starting one project the first day and then restarting the next day on a different one with zero sleep.
- Staying awake too long.
- Should have believed in myself being able to make the game within the time limit.
- Not considering marketing at all.
- Not seeking out Music / Sound effects people to work with.
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
- People said they liked the art in the reviews.
- People wanted to play the game for longer.
- I scoped appropriately.
- People liked the sound and music I chose.
- Involving not just myself in the testing helped a lot.
WHAT I LEARNED:
- Don't stay awake and work excessively.
- Feedback is very important. People can suggest things you never thought of.
- Don't forget to plan out your description of the game and the artwork that accompanies it etc.
- Solo game development means wearing more hats and can stretch you pretty thin.
- Have a more detailed production plan but within reason.
WHAT WILL I DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME?
Next time I think I will seek help with music and sound. I think next time I will be a lot more confident going into another game jam.
- Also sleep.
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Finished 35th! Honestly. Under the circumstances. I'll take it! GG!