I spent roughly 2 days of my life last weekend to participate in the most daring quest of the Ludum, #19’s theme being “Discovery”.
There are many reasons developers go to jams, I usually do it for the freedom but this time was different for me. Fresh from my Tron 3D experience the night before, I wanted to learn how to do all the neony stuff I saw, and given that the whole week I was studying rendering techniques I jammed for the learning opportunity.
Things That Are Bad
While this isn’t my first jam experience, I still did a rookie mistake of trying to make too many things happen. I basically worked a couple of hours trying to make the game render in different screen sizes! Although experience worked for me when I used some code out of the box (like using PBE’s logging interface to create my own command line).
Too many distractions
I played CityVille too much. 🙂 (The fact that I’m using my girlfriend’s company issued laptop, which meant her bugging me to check if her crops haven’t withered yet, didn’t help either)
Plus 2 Christmas parties on Saturday and a hangover half Sunday. (Look at the brightside, I actually have a social life!)
Lack of motivation to finish
The moment I knew how to make the glowing text thingy — bloom effect, for those in the know — I knew I was done. That was the thing I sat out to do and now I can’t find any motivation to do anything more.
Things I Should Have Done
Commit to goals before doing anything
If I should do a jam game the way I do a day-job project, I would set out to write the main goals — stories if you are an Agile freak– that I should accomplish during the course of the jam. Having the goals written down makes it easy for me to pace myself and map out the game’s direction. Writing a design doc is a waste of time, but writing bullet points isn’t. Here’s what I should have written:
- Learn how to make things glow
- Learn how to do those radar blips
- Create dynamic captain’s logs
I usually let the design grow organically but it really helps to have a direction. I played CaptainForever again and I must say, I was unconsciously or consciously leaning towards that.
I learned a lot of technical stuff during the jam so.. it’s all good. I might finish the game in the future or I may not, but I’ll certainly reuse some of the things I did for this game.