Posted by
August 25th, 2015 12:27 am

What an interesting experience this has been.

This isn’t the first game jam I’ve been to, so I was rather disappointed in myself when I missed the compo deadline. First time that has happened.

I knew I had only a limited time to do the jam, and would have to sacrifice about 12+ hours for sleep, since I still had work on Monday. That hasn’t stopped me before, but this jam’s theme particularly had my knickers in a knot. I’ll admit it, not the theme I was hoping for. It wasn’t a BAD theme by any stretch of the word; if I had more time, I would’ve loved to explore it further. Unfortunately, time was of the essence, and I had personal goals I had set myself.

On the last Ludum Dare, I submitted a HTML5 game that forced the player to use the mouse to click on a virtual gamepad. Then I found out that touch-screen devices could play it as well, although the buttons were too small to be effective on anything smaller than an iPad. So this Ludum Dare, I set a goal: Make a one-touch game that can be played both on computers and mobile devices. This time, I would take UI into account properly.

My initial idea was… a bit too ambitious. It would’ve been a turned-based-ish system where you had to kill the hero by sending enemies up against him, complete with different attacks and strategies. As time went on during the compo, I realized what I was up against. Making the UI one-touch friendly required a lot of work on my end, and I got barely anything done, even after the compo ended. Nothing playable. Needless to say I was rather disappointed in myself.

After a good night’s rest, and the compo behind me, I decided I’d tackle the problem again. Problem is, I had to go to work, which would eat up 9-10 hours from my 24 hour jam period. Not to mention having to sleep for work the next day, which would be another 8 gone, give or take. That left me with a grand total of six hours. 8 times less than I’m used to. And I was starting from scratch, using none of the previous assets.

And somehow… I pulled through. Maybe it was my stubborn pride as a jammer, maybe it was the exhilaration of such an insurmountable task, maybe I got enough rest to step back from the problem and re-evaluate everything. Whatever it was, I powered through it, taking some ideas from a brain-storming session during lunch break with a co-worker. A game simple enough to play, but got the message across, and was reasonably easy to execute. Even managed to get my personal goals in. I cut in a little bit into my sleeping time to get it done, but it was DONE. Art, programming, even music and sound effects.

No, I don’t think this is the greatest game I’ve ever made. But damn if I’m not proud of it anyway. Now, I’ll just prepare myself for the next game jam that comes my way, and hope I don’t mess up again.

Edit: TL;DR: Never give up, even if all the odds are against you. Don’t let that huge failure stop you from finishing what you started.

Enjoy the fruits of my labor, and I’ll make sure to take a sample from yours as well!

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