Author Topic: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem  (Read 4419 times)

Offline Rylius

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MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« on: 2012-October 08, 08:50:48 »
Dear Princess Celestia,

I'm writing to you after a stressful weekend to finally share my new knowledge about the magic of jamming creating games with you.

Let me start out with the things that went wrong.
It's abundantly clear the website did not work as intended. The theme voting did not start automatically (I rather had to edit the configuration file by hand), though the biggest issue was the game submission.
The problems started with browsers sending incorrect MIME-Types (such as application/x-zip-compressed or application/octet-stream), requiring me t implement ugly fixes while making my own game. Web-based games didn't even pass validation and couldn't be submitted until one hour before the submission deadline!
The last issue was (and still is!) finding out who is visiting the site. I learned a lot from the theme voting page and built on that while writing the game voting page but still we should be able to know if a user is also registered on our forums. This is impossible right now!
Through prolonged studies I have come to the conclusion we need an entire new site to handle all these requirements.
As of writing you this letter I already have started planning the new site. I will write to you again when that project starts showing results.

The keynote got drowned out a lot. I'm a little sad about this a I spent quite a while making a fool out of myself for it. The problem here is that we posted it much too late, it should have been out at least a day earlier. We also didn't have enough game clips to provide intermissions - we need to plan ahead a lot more here.

Getting press coverage was kind of a weird thing. Equestria Gaming picked up on us right away and posted multiple frontpage articles about us so far (sponsoring us over 50% of our visitors!) while Equestria Daily only put a small note in various roundups each.
Twitter went pretty well with over 100 followers (still room for more, of course), Reddit also seemed to gain us quite some attention.

You clearly see I have learned a lot from all these issues already. However the weekend was all but problems!
I spent an amazing time with both the organisation team (Hisha/Matias, your former student Twilight Sparkle, now following Princess Luna and Compony) as well as all the participants and people who simply stuck around for the fun of it.
We started the weekend by remembering the tales of Discord to inspire us, then continued to note down first game ideas (or go to bed and do so in the next morning). I think everyone got an idea very quickly and started working on their games only minutes later.
Throughout the weekend people would post screenshots and links to their livestreams on our Twitter which we retweeted to share them with the other participants. Our chat was constantly busy with people talking about their ideas, problems or progress.

Can you believe that we have 37 submitted games now? I surely can't!

All in all I can say that My Little Game Jam #1 was a huge success and I am looking forward to the next iteration of this event.

Your faithful student,
Rylius

Offline Wishdream

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #1 on: 2012-October 08, 12:13:15 »
Dear Princess Luna,

I'm writing to you after a successful and yet very stressful weekend finally after being from the school of talented magicians, I come to share with you the knowledge I have.

Let me point out first that everything I did was a mess. I didn't plan like the usual things I did with Ludum Dare.
I just went out and straight away! Which is wrong. I should've made a checklist to keep track of progress.
Most notably, the game is based on feeling and gameplay both balanced as one. Knowing that WolframTracks was not an option in the middle of the development, I got lost track. Instead of finally making the stages, I had to find alternatives for the music in result the stage, monsters and graphics we're completely rushed. The engine itself was complete though.

Being the one who's most unique which involves a toothblade wielding pony who will try to clean the whole underworld from the distress for Equestria is quite fun. Especially with my friends around encouraging me and giving me the final idea of the game.

On the other hoof, I facepalmed when I could use my engine to make the game instead of recoding everything. Notably, I noticed that my code was super optimized and had better results than my own Wishdream Engine. I plan to remake my engine after the compo, starting on Wednesday to be in fact.

To be infact, I don't think the games had to do with Chaos at all! But the theme was directly put into the last remaining hours of the jam. Pure Chaos I say, I mean bugs everywhere, problems here and there, problems EVERYWHERE! Especially Flash constantly crashing on me.

In the end, I finally gave up since I was getting tired and weak. I was suspecting myself better than this.
I shouldn't have taken a break since it took a lot of time off my watch especially since I didn't know that Second Life can run with Game Maker at the same time if you have ReadyBoost on. Sure I did sleep well but I mean really, a 4 hour break? I could've done 4 stages during that time.

Even though, at least it's an achievement to accomplish something than nothing right?
Playing Corruption and Order of Twilight gave me new ideas though. Something I need to prepare for the next Jam.
I'll make sure I fully prepare for the next one.

The Royal Gem Caster,
Wishdream
Wishdream - Game Developer, Lead of HeoLiX
Game Maker Mentor and Teacher, FM2k2nd Developer, Game Art Designer and Natural Java Programmer
Also, called the Death Developer of the GMC
Part of the IGDA Manila

Hmm... Need something from me? Just PM me okay?
Entered Ludum Dare 2 times.

Offline fullmetalkopets

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #2 on: 2012-October 08, 14:35:43 »
Dear Princess Cadance (admins and other participants),

I'm at work right now and can't wright much, but anyway. The jam was a 100% success. It was fun, intense and challenging. Despite the fact I screwed up my submission and the game itself lacks some sound effects and has some glitches, I think, I've reached my goal. Anyway, what happens next? What should we do with all the awesome games we have? As for me, I'm thinking of fixing the issues and publishing my entry to some other sites. Will that be OK to do?

Your faithful student,
fullmetalkopets

Offline Twilight_Sparkle[NLR]

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #3 on: 2012-October 08, 17:02:45 »
Dear Princess Cadance (admins and other participants),

I'm at work right now and can't wright much, but anyway. The jam was a 100% success. It was fun, intense and challenging. Despite the fact I screwed up my submission and the game itself lacks some sound effects and has some glitches, I think, I've reached my goal. Anyway, what happens next? What should we do with all the awesome games we have? As for me, I'm thinking of fixing the issues and publishing my entry to some other sites. Will that be OK to do?

Your faithful student,
fullmetalkopets

i cant see a problem with fixing issues and posting the game on other sites now that the gamejam is done. :) it is your creation after-all ^^
FOR THE NLR! <.< >.>

Offline To Coool

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #4 on: 2012-October 08, 17:30:04 »
Dear Princess Celestia,

This game jam thing had me calm at first, didn't think it would be this difficult. I'll be honest; my game kind of molded itself, I didn't mold it. From creating my base pony sprite, (which seemed to be a waste of time considering I only made your number 1 student from it) to each map, the game kind of took control and guided itself. I'm not sure I should be proud or upset with that fact, but it seemed to have worked. When I found myself in the last hours of the competition, I was really struggling. I wanted to submit my game early, but I was unable to because I was denied access to my computer. I had to wait an hour and a half. I'm lucky I was allowed access to my computer at all, as it seemed the parents weren't too happy.

Allow me to talk about some glitches I found with my game before submitting.

If you press up against the chocolate milk and jump, you'd be able to jump over all the chocolate rain and skip over some content. I was lucky to pick up on this; I had to recollision both Twilight and the rain before continuing. It took me much too long to fix this glitch.
Twilight's jumping isn't exactly perfect, but much better than before. Before she would stuck in walls and whatnot. Yet again, another collision issue. So now not only did I have to account for chocolate rain, I also had to account for walls and whatnot. While it isn't perfect, I can't say I failed horribly,as it really isnt all that glitchy. That's basically it for glitches, though.

As for things I wish I added but didn't due to time restraints.. Twilight. I wanted to add more frames to Twilight's walking animation. I would have had time had I not focused on the levels, but I thought content topples graphics. May have been a mistake on my end I doubt it.

After this event I feel like taking a break. Thank god I have today and tomorrow off from school; I need it.



Your faithful jammer,

To Coool

Offline Caracitrine

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #5 on: 2012-October 12, 02:30:18 »
Dear Princess Discord, I'm writing to you a few days after the Game Jam, but it is still fresh in my mind.

To open with I hadn't ever made anything more complicated than a simple 2D collision tester before this. And that was a third of the code that my game ended up being. But lets start at the beginning. It was clear that chaos had struck even before the theme's announcement. No doubt some of your handiwork. But as soon as it had been announced the first thing I did was take a nap. How weird, right? Perhaps I should have napped before the announcement, but felt that I needed to give my brain some time to process the theme.

Upon waking I still wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I already knew I was going to make this using C++ with one library. Taking that I began to create a basic framework without even bothering to outline. I figured that I would be best served if I just started coding since a lot of my time would be spent in art anyway- just make a simple collision based game (since I already had an idea of how that might work).

I had been told many times to get the program working and doing whatever behavior as soon as possible so that one could build off of reality rather than whatever idea one has. So I displayed some graphics and got them moving around the screen. Great. Afterwards this left me with a bit of a bind: what did I actually want this game to be about? Well, the simplest games were those 2D side scrolling shooters. Lets try for those.

I drew a terrible mockup of a Rainbow Dash and one for you too. Now with vague ideas for a conflict I began to add monsters that would tell me when they intersect with Rainbow's icon. Slowly building from there I eventually had enough of a game to side down and draw. Clearly Rainbow was flying, so I made a significantly better Rainbow, a good Shadow-Bolt, as well as a cloud background. This served enough of a purpose to really get development rolling.

I created a generic format for wave creation- making a vector of shapes for each wave, and a vector of vectors for all of the
waves together. I knew there were many more elegant ways of doing this, but I was under the impression that I was going
to make an animation for the sprites soon enough that I wouldn't have time for much else. Unfortunately this is where the problems really started to roll in. The waves took far too long to construct even with a fairly automated way of making them, and eventually I discovered that to add the narration as I intended was neigh impossible. So I settled for a compromise: after finalizing the game as much as possible I simply hard coded when the sounds would play, I scrapped the idea of animations, I never wrote any music, and just focused on the waves. However! I didn't have to scrap the boss battle. Unfortunately due to
the lack of animation it turned out fairly boring.

Still, in the end I managed to get six hours sleep total over two nights- the jam started at 5PM here so I was faced with nightfall a second time. Oddly enough I only got two hours sleep the second night due to waking up. But because I was up this made me immediately want to start coding. I think not getting enough sleep reduced my ability to produce work, so in the future I think I will sleep a normal amount as to use the rest of the day effectively. This had been one of my most productive weekends ever, and am very glad to have been a part of it.

~ A Shine in the Shadows
Cara Citrine

Offline jigpu

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #6 on: 2012-October 12, 05:03:58 »
Dear Prince Blueblood,

With the Princesses out on royal duties, I suppose my report on the first My Little Game Jam will have to be submitted to you. Please forward it upon their return.

As you may be aware, writing UI and graphics code is not something I particularly enjoy. I find the job tedious, requiring a significant investment in time for what feels like a small payoff. I would much rather be designing and writing code which solves a problem, not telling the system how it should react to keypresses. Despite (or perhaps because) of this, I've felt the field of game design harbors a certian mystique.

It was with some amount of trepidation that I entered the competion. Not for fear of being unable to write something, but for fear that what I created would be terrible. My muse often heads out to lunch when starting creative endeavours, leaving me high-and-dry with nary an idea to build upon. Combined with my predisposition to write problem-solving code instead of user-interface code, I was reasonbly certian my game would have neither spark of life nor flash of style.

Quite to my surprise, things went much better than I could have hoped. Within minutes of learning the theme was "chaos", several ideas had already popped into my head; one or two even seemed feasible given the 48 hour deadline. Shortly thereafter I began considering the language to use and somehow settled upon a language with which I had only passing familiarity: Javascript. Idea and language in hand, I set myself to the task of banging out an implementation.

When the deadline arrived two days later, I submitted my work for the world to see. In the span of a weekend, I had created not some sterile piece of code, but an honest-to-goodness game. While not particularly noteworthy compared to the entries, it had far surpassed my own expectations. It was a delight to have coded, and is---despite its rough edges---one of my prouder achievements.

When you return from your royal duties, I highly recommend playing some of the entries yourselves. Your subjects have crafted some astounding pieces of work that I'm certian you would enjoy.

Your Glad Subject,
JigPu

Offline VioletLinked

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #7 on: 2012-October 14, 05:11:42 »
-VioletLinked
STREAMING LIVE ON BOREDOFFICIALS.COM!

Offline Twilight_Sparkle[NLR]

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #8 on: 2012-October 14, 11:47:15 »
Dear Queen Nightmare Moon

You are awesome....that is all.






Long live the NLR! :P
FOR THE NLR! <.< >.>

Offline To Coool

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Re: MLGJ #1 Post Mortem
« Reply #9 on: 2012-October 29, 05:40:47 »
Dear Princess Ermahgawd,

I somehow managed to get 4th place in the Game Jam! Woohoo!

Your faithful student,
To Coool