I just submitted my game to the compo, and I thought I could share a bit of my postmortem with you all.
If there’s one thing that the compo taught me was to spend A LOT of time planning. I spent about 30 minutes planning and it was waay too short. I think maybe an extra 45 to maybe even 2 whole hours could have been beneficial toward my goal. This is because although two days might seem like ample time for your idea, it most likely ISN’T. So, that brings me to my first lesson;
#1) Strip down your biggest most awesome-est idea, down to its very CORE. What is it that makes your game fun ON ITS OWN. Meaning, if you were to take out all the fancy graphics and cool stuff, would this mechanic make your game fun? Then once you have that; STRIP IT DOWN MOAR.
This also taught me that you need to focus on ONE aspect of the compo is you want to achieve a certain position on the board. If you want to be high in the graphics section, focus MOST of your time on graphics and make simple mechanics. If you want a coolness or theme section, you need to spend more time on planning than anything to come up with something original. So, here we go to…
#2) If you’re not going to spend a ridiculous chunk of your time composing the soundtrack or the artwork, focus on the MECHANIC. Super Mario Bros, literally has one action; jumping. That’s it. You move to the right, and jump. That’s literally the entire game of Super Mario. Then, you build off of it, adding obstacles (Pitfalls, Enemies,etc), and that’s how we make a game.
and lastly, and probably most importantly;
3) Have FUN, and make the game YOU want to make. Sure, there’s the theme, but don’t take it so literal. I’ve see a lot of people give up on this game solely due to not being able to come up with a good enough idea for the theme. If you got nothing, use Google. Google the theme and see what comes up, or even punch it into a Thesaurus and see what similar words or synonyms come up that can give you a creative loop-hole. The best part of the compo is you get to learn new skills by actually DOING, not by reading or studying. You find where your strengths and weaknesses are and it helps you improve as a game dev.
I hope this helped someone reading this, and good luck to all you guys doing the Jam!
Art: In-engine editor, Cosmigo Pro Motion, Aseprite.