Glitch Game Jam Report
OK SO I participated in the Glitch Game Jam last weekend and it was an awesome time! I’ve only been making games for a year an half and have never done a game jam before, even though they seemed like fun- so I was excited for a Corona-specific jam that some of my dev buddies* were doing too- much more fun than going it alone!
*their games listed below!
A big part of my motivation too was to break out of what I have been doing a bit- I loooove dress up games and love making more and more of them, but I had been wanting to spend some time on something totally new and unrelated.
Several developers had prepared art/menus/frameworks for their apps, and that seemed prudent but I just ran out of time before hand- personal life and trying to get another app out the door, and then trying to tie up all my loose ends for the week so I could do game jam undisturbed. So I went in with no assets, although I freaked out and bought Particle Candy real fast on Friday- I had planned on buying it anyway for my app on the drawing board, and figured it might help. I ended up not using it, but I’ll still make use of it in the future for other apps. I also receieved an awesome pack of 1″ buttons on Friday afternoon from Eric Kinkead, the incredibly talented game developer who released Questlord this year. I had everything I needed- health potion, armor, a weapon, a shield, some gold and a beer. READY FOR GAMEJAM!
The #corona IRC chat room was buzzing the whole day before, everyone was excited, the theme got announced- “Elements” and chat and twitter fell silent as everyone started working.
I started brainstorming ideas- the theme was open to interpretation so my first thoughts were weather (being exposed to the elements), the periodic table, part of something (a brick is an element of a house), the 5th Element (so good!), and sand/water/fire/wind.
My first thought was a gold mining simulation- trying to get as much gold as you can with all kinds of varying conditions. I also thought about some kind of elemental battle game (??), a elemental goddess dress up (fun but wouldn’t be breaking out of the mold), or some kind of environment control game like “From Dust” (yeah, 48 hours, 1 person? no problem!)
I was hesitant to go with the first idea because you’re never supposed to use your first idea but I loved it and figured it would be good to learn, and some of the ELEMENTS (!) of the game (hahahaha) would be stepping stones towards some larger more complex games I’d like to build.
OK, so gold mining game! About an hour or so in, I had decided. The jam started 7pm my time so I wanted to have the idea decided on and the gameplay completely decided on paper before I went to bed, along with lists of all the art and code assets I’d need to make (I’m a list-a-holic). I ended up just doing quick drawings for the assets, thinking I’d replace them later (ha!), but I kept them, they were cute and made me laugh.
I also designed the layout of the game with the cool UI templates from UIstencils.com (thanks Mom! :)) so I could know what I wanted before I went to computer. I listed out all the features I’d like, even though most of them didn’t make it though, haha. The game has been well received so far so chances are good I’ll go back over this list to polish up the game and add more depth!
So Friday night was figuring out the game, doing the art assets, and I’m pretty sure I got the graphics up and in the game and started playing with the main gameplay mechanic (moving the gold around the machines)- it wasn’t perfect but I stayed up till like 3 playing with it. Exciting!!!
Also I wanted them to pulsate or something, but I mixed up the animation code and they started doing a happy little boppy dance. So cheerful! What a happy accident.
Saturday morning/afternoon was getting the mechanics working, setting up how you’d place the machines, and the introduction/how to play parts and the status readout
That night, with the clock ticking away, I had to decide between moving the machines to better land spaces or having random events. I figured random events would be more fun, and it’s a short game anyway.
I should mention my husband was awesome though all of this! We got takeout food and he made dinner on Saturday, and he fielded the dog and other household stuff while I coded away. When I needed a sounding board or to talk out how a game mechanic would work, he was happy to listen and help. Thanks Baby! Also he wanted me to finish the machine moving instead of the events so sorry ;P will finish it, promise!
Saturday night I kept going on the events that pop up throughout your game to make your mining operation go better or worse- I had three good and three bad events that came up randomly throughout the game. I tried to make them compliment each other (machine slows down/machine speeds up) but didn’t have time to match them all up, although there were many more events that were planned that didn’t make it (most notably: the bear would cost gold to hire him. if you hired him and you get inspected, the bear eats the inspector and you don’t get fined. If you didn’t hire him, he’ll eat an employee and your productivity will suffer.)
Sunday I slept in, no reason to change habits, and decided I’d spend the day polishing and debugging (well, debugging). I was having some troubles with the scoring system (turns out lua needs to compare a variable to another variable, not a number), finally nailed it with 3 hours to go. I spent 2 hours tracking down some bugs, couldn’t find one for the life of me, then with 1 hour left I colored in the graphics, which really spruced it up a lot. I wanted to get particle candy to snow on the scene when there was inclement weather, but my last graphic file was saved at 6:59 and it was pencils down! Holla!
I was very pleased to have it done, last thing was to submit. My dog had a coughing fit right after the finish line so after we got him calmed down, I packed everything up and sent it off. VICTORY!
Except, I sent it to a friend an hour or so later to play with it, turns out it only scaled correctly with build 840. Argh! I have an old computer and am behind a chain of upgrades, so this one is stuck at 840. I fixed the scaling issue by uncommenting the scaling I had set in there originally (why did i turn it off? who knows), and sent it back in with a note and an apology, thankfully he accepted it and then we were done done for real!
And then it was video time! The events are random and I wanted to showcase the bear, so of course it took like 6 playthrough videos until the stupid bear finally showed up, lol. That’s why I’m mumbling at the beginning 😉
OK so let’s wrap up here!
I had a great time, it was so amazing to see what I could really do in 48 hours if I concentrated. Amazing to see what others could to in 48 hours too! Really incredible. No matter the results I’m happy I entered and so pleased I finished. Thanks very much to the fine dudes at Glitch Games for organizing the event!!!
-Hack and slash the feature list to get something done in 48 hours! You can finish it later.
-Get the main mechanic done first and build around that- it would be okay to have a mechanic with nothing else, but it would be worse to have a game template with no mechanic to play with!
-Graphics are so bare bones. Leave the polish till the end. Normally I am 10000% about polished graphics but that’s not practical for a 48 hour game jam!
-Healthy food- oh I ate plenty of pizza but the Mr. made a healthy chicken and salad dinner on Saturday and it was the most divine gift. NUTRITION! I’m convinced that’s how I kept going.
-Sleep deprivation, while necessary on 24 hour projects, is no fun, I got a normal amount of sleep both nights and was glad I did.
-Sometimes it takes an external force to get you to break out of your habits and do something different and fun! I’m hopeful that I win of course but in the end I have a rad game that I made over a weekend, I can expand it out and finish it, I’ve learned a ton from it that I’ll be able to use in the future.
-It was a fun event overall camaraderie wise- even when you’re talking with people who make apps just like you do, there’s always such a difference in genre, depth, schedules, etc, so it was neat to have a bunch of people working on the same type of game in the same time period.
OK enough of me going on 🙂 If you want to play the game- it is a short 60s game- drop me an email and I will send you an APK!
Oh and of course the games that my fellow Corona devs made! Check ’em out!!
–Laser Experiments by Spiral Code Studio
–Ard the Elementalist by Stinky Kitties Studio
–Cheezle the Miner by MIARISA
–Summer Tubing by Ananasblau Games
–Idaho Williams by J.A. Whye
–Elementropy by Jason Schroeder
–Zombie Drive by Dave Grant
–Bounce Away by Family Play Apps