Last Monday I posted a link. Just a link. The link led to the game that I finished during the Global Game Jam. Like everyone participating in the jam, I saw the theme on Friday, worked on the game Friday night and Saturday, and finished it up on Sunday.
That’s it. That is all the time you have to go from a topic to a concept to a finished game. Hopefully that’s enough time because you won’t be getting any more.
Even if you manage to finish up a game in that amount of time, the game you make will likely be bad, but fair’s fair, all games are bad in the first few days.
I had one main goal going into this jam. I was going to make a 2D game. Every other jam game I have worked on, except the text based ones, have included some 3D modelling at some point. So that was my hard limit. No 3D. I also wanted to do something with really tight pixel and palette restrictions. I went with only 6 colours and a resolution of 160 x 144. That was the resolution of the original Gameboy. I figured if that was enough for Tetris it would be enough for me. I thought about using an entirely 2D engine or framework, but I opted to use Unity since I am the most familiar with it and time is limited during a game jam. I also decided to do this one solo. Meaning that everything that isn’t included in the engine, I made. Graphics, I make em. Sounds, I make em. Game code, I write it. Physics… well physics comes with the engine but I did connect up all the systems to make a string that wouldn’t just suddenly break for no apparent reason. Getting that to work was much more difficult than I had anticipated.
Since I posted the game right after the jam, I have gone back to it and fixed up a couple of things to make it slightly less aggravating. It’s not what I, or any person who enjoys things, would call good. It’s bad, but at least it’s bad in the way that I intended. Also the sound doesn’t work in the web build. I’m not sure exactly why, but it might be something to do with not having a Start or Intro screen. I usually try to avoid having an intro screen for jam games just as a sort of aesthetic choice. I want people to be in and playing the game instantly. No preamble. No lore dump. Just load it up and start playing. Seems like, in this case, I might need to create a start screen to get sounds to play during the rest of the game.
I have participated in quite a few game jams. They are great for knocking the creative cobwebs off and getting you working and thinking about developing something functional. You don’t have time to get bogged down in trying to create an elegant solution to every problem. You just have to make it work. And when the weekend is over, so is the project. That’s it. You never have to think about it again. Game jams are excellent prototype, evaluate, and move on, training. I don’t tend to go back to jam games trying to make them better or continue developing them. If they are broken, I leave them that way. For this one, I will probably make a slight exception. I would like the sound to work on the web build, but I don’t want to put much time into fixing it. If I can get the sound working by adding a start screen, I suppose that is not a massive task. If that doesn’t work I fear the game will be doomed to silence forever. And that will be okay. After all, it’s a game I made over a literal weekend.
I did learn the ins and outs of Unity’s new input system, and that’s pretty good. I did learn about the 2D side of the Unity physics system, and that’s pretty good too. If I can get the sound working I will call the jam an unqualified success. Even if the game is sort of aggravating and not all that great. I’ll see what I can do.
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