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Travis from Killigan Industries (Travis, Peter & Alex) here. Thought it’d be helpful to list out some tips & tricks we’ve learned over Ludum 32 and past jams. All focused on doing a lot with a little. Note this is the things-to-do list based on practices that have worked for us. The things-not-to-do list based on all of our failures would be far too large to post. A lot of what is below is incredibly obvious but fun to write out in a bullet point list nonetheless. So now, onto our game and the tips and tricks that went into making it!

OUR GAME, OPERATOR 42

  • Source Control – The first thing I do before any jam is setup a Github repo. Especially critical if you’re collaborating. Try to avoid Dropbox collaboration if you can. If you’re new to Github, here’s a resource full of great guides: https://guides.github.com/
  • Ideation – Start first with what you don’t want to make. Puts the brainstorming in a smaller box. Also, purge the most obvious ideas in the beginning. The gems are hidden underneath.
  • Team Size – If you’re doing a jam, make sure to not overdo it with teammates. Managing roles, code and assets between a large team in a small timeframe is very difficult. Two to three people feels right.
  • Reach Out to Collaborators – We found our sound designer Alex days before the weekend by simply reaching out to chiptune artists in Los Angeles. I’m always surprised by how willing folks are to collaborate. All you need to do is ask.
  • Dedicate Time to Polish – Try to dedicate a whole day to polishing your experience. No new features, just refinement. The scope of your idea should take this into account.
  • Play TestIt very difficult to put yourself in a fresh-eyed mindset for any project. This is especially the case when you’re cramming for two – three straight days. Observing someone play your game with fresh-eyes will surface obvious user experience problems.
  • Dedicate Time to Sound – If possible, have a dedicated person to execute sound. It’s no mystery sound plays a critical role in the best entries. Having someone care solely about the sound design through the weekend is immensely valuable.
  • Dedicate Time to Marketing I’m using marketing very loosely here but it’s often a last minute afterthought. Make sure your first screenshot is compelling and looks great as a thumbnail. Try a few options. Make sure you have a super tight and intriguing description.
  • Slack – Something we did this time around is setup a Slack team for chat. Especially useful for when our team wasn’t in the same room. Bonus, you can setup Slack to post to the chat every-time a Github commit is made! It’s awesome. https://slack.com/
  • Rate Games!The best way to get feedback on your game is to rate other peoples. I find this to be the most rewarding part of Ludum Dare. To learn from other’s work and get realtime feedback, the good and bad, on yours. Makes you a better game developer.
  • And finally, please play our game if you haven’t had a chance. Killigan Industries values you as a customer. Your continued support is important to us.

    OPERATOR 42 | PLAY AND RATE

    Operator 42


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