We’re Cosmic Adventure Squad, and we made Super Sea Serpent Simulator during LD 33!

Super Sea Serpent Simulator Title

Click above to play and rate (preferably before the rating period ends!)

This part 1 of the post-mortem will be from the point of view of two of the experienced LD-ers on our team: Rosypenguin and Stregawolf.

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Hey, I’m Rosypenguin. Incredibly enough, this is the 9th LD I’ve participated in, though this was the first time I’ve worked with Unity for a game jam so everything felt fresh and new.

Role: Most of my experience with past LD’s has been in 2D art, animation, and technical art. This time around I also had the opportunity to work with an experienced Creative Director in the industry, and hoped some of his awesomeness would rub off on me! I did some simple low-poly modelling in Maya, 2D background assets in Photoshop, and UI art in Illustrator.

serpentConcepts

Concept art and inspirations for the sea serpent.

What went well: I think the overall game came together really well. We have a finished LD game, with a solid game mechanic and a unified art style. Really, I was just excited to be back to doing LD; the last time I was seriously involved was LD28, with Rations,Please!.

This our first LD involving more than our usual team of Strega, Tenlki, and myself. We brought on some of Strega’s talented coworkers, and with them we were able to scope outside of our usual 2D Flixel game tradition. We also knew we’d lose the whole 3rd day because we’re working people now. Boo.

With two artists on the team, we were able to do more. Ocean and I spent some time the first day putting together a mood board to make sure we were consistent with the aesthetic we wanted for the game. I made a few concept mockups and Ocean went on to create the fantastic cut-paper-aesthetic shader for each of the 3D elements.

monsterBoatFishConcepts

Photoshop mockup for final aesthetic.

 

What could be improved: Since so many of the team members were working professionally in the game industry, I felt intimidated and did the stupid thing where I held back my creativity for fear of judgment. The stakes felt higher than when it was just us three long-time college friends making games for a fun weekend and not caring if we succeeded or not.

But I still had an amazing learning experience; I was able to pick up from where I left off in Maya over three years ago, and guidance from Ocean helped boost my confidence bit by bit.

What you will do different next time: Definitely looking forward to working with Unity again. In the meantime I want to practice with modeling/rigging/animation in 3D to build more confidence and skill. I need to work on a self-esteem boost as well; I’ve done so many LD’s and GGJ’s that I need to remember that my opinions count too, even though I don’t work in the game industry.

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Hi, I’m Stregawolf! I’ve been doing LD since LD 21 and GGJ since 2009. As always jamming is a blast.

Role: My role during this LD was gameplay programmer. I put together most of the systems in the game such as how the sea serpent is controlled, the circular world coordinate system and gravity, enemy behavior, enemy attacks/weapons, enemy spawning, difficulty scaling, and integrating finished art into the game.

What went well: Deciding on a game design and title name quickly really made it easy to move forward right away. Friday night of the jam we all meet up at a restaurant and hashed out ideas while eating. We had a basic idea and sketch of what the game would look and feel like by the end of the meal. We didn’t actually start coding or making much art until saturday after getting a good night’s rest.

Knowing the tools before hand really made things go a lot faster. I’ve been using Unity for a long time, I think since Unity 2.5 so it was pretty easy to get things setup and start coding.

Github worked surprisingly well. Everyone was able to quickly sync up, make changes, and collaborate with little problem.

Working with coworkers from work made it easy for me to communicate with them and we all already knew the general workflow for Unity.

Getting a minimum viable product done by saturday night really gave us a lot of time to polish the feel of the game and make the motions and controls feel good. I used Unity primitives to get gameplay system in without having to wait for models and assets. When the final assets were ready, I had already set up everything so that it would be easy to replace the primitives.

What could be improved: Having a clear task board and prioritizing early on. In previous LDs we would spend a lot of time on friday sorting out todo lists, needed assets, needed game systems etc. This time we spent a little time, but mainly for art assets. I probably should have spent some time writing things out first. Instead I jumped right in on the saturday and didn’t prioritize tasks until Sunday night. Oh well, it still came out pretty well 😀

We really wanted to get some kind of high score tracker into the game, but didn’t have enough time to do so. We definitely didn’t stay up as late as we usually do and didn’t start again in the morning as early either.

What you will do different next time: Be better organized about what needs to be done. List things out, prioritizing them, and clearly assign who is doing what. I feel like there were moment when we failed to communicate who would be taking on what tasks and it was because we never clearly listed out the tasks.

Have a clear leader. I didn’t realize that I was suppose to be the leader for the jam. Next time, I’ll make sure that whoever is expecting to lead clearly knows their role, to reduce moments of confusion and indecision.

All but one of our member was working in the same location for the jam. I feel bad for not keeping an open group chat for everyone during the jam. Next time I’ll make sure that we have everything we need to communicate better.

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We’ll post part 2 with the other team members soon! Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t checked out the game yet: Super Sea Serpent Simulator


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