Here’s a small list of tips you don’t read everywhere that I wrote up some LDs back:
- Your game is probably too hard. As the maker of a game, you are much more skilled in your game as you know exactly how it works and have played it a whole lot. Have your game playtested, even in a jam, and scale the difficulty down.
- Add story skip functionality. Add skip functionality to intro’s and parts of the story (if your game has one). In my game the intro was not skippable, which was a big, big mistake.
- Add level skip functionality (in my game I had a button show up after X failed attempts). This allows players that are struggling or simply don’t have the time to try many times to see the story/ending of your game regardless. This is not that hard to add and in my eyes is a must in story-driven games.
- Add sound. Any sound is always better than no sound, if you are not an audio pro, consider recording things around you with your crappy microphone or generating sounds with bfxr. If you do it really well, it can make for a great experience all by itself.
- Do one thing well. I often end up over-scoping in jams, it’s not so much that I didn’t put in every feature I wanted, it’s that the game does not do one thing very well, but does a lot of things. I think this problem is especially present in the programming-end of the game developer spectrum.
- Don’t finish with programmer art. Making art is not impossible for programmers, do plan to span some time on at least reasonable art. Keep it simple and add particles.
- Build for Linux too. I’m not a Linux user myself, but many of jammers (especially the veterans (who vote on a lot of games and give great criticism)) are. There is no Unity Web Player for Linux, so build for Linux!
- Put instructions in the game, when the player needs it (first) . In my opinion this is so much better than putting a list on your submission page or at the very start of the game. Here are some examples of how it can be done.
- Watch a stream of someone playing your game (or an IRL person). This is basically how I learned most of this, post-jam there a bunch of people streaming games, it’s a great opportunity to see someone struggle with things that you thought were intuitive/easy.
- Changing the pitch of your music to around 50% tends to make for some nice game over music.
- Using different instruments for different tracks with the same melody is a nice way to save a lot of time and prevent repetitiveness.
- Your game doesn’t need a menu if it means you won’t finish your game because of it.
- It’s OK to change your game idea around if it doesn’t feel right or you risk not being done in time.
Hope they help
This LD I’ll probably create a 2D game, as my 3D modeling skills stretches only from cubes to teapots.
Can’t really say what tools I will be using beforehand, here’s a rough list.
Language: Haxe, C#, TypeScript, Dart, Java
Game Engine/Framework: Unity3D, Phaser, THREE.js, OpenFL
2D Art: GIMP, PyxelEdit, MS Paint
Music: Sunvox, Reaper, Audiosauna
I’ll just pick whatever fits the project best .
See you in IRC