Ludum Dare 39, the global game development event, where everybody can join and compete in building games was going on. I participated, and we managed to submit the game.
On Tuesday I joined a remote team through discord and at the same time posted in a Facebook group Slovenian Game Developers(SGD) if anybody would like to build a game with me because I am too lazy to do it alone. 5-6 people commented, and we met on discord shortly after. Discussions on potential ideas ensued.
We had not decided on any idea before the jam started because we wanted to see a theme and potentially work on it. The voted theme of LD39 was “Running out of power.” We learned that on Saturday morning (6:30 GMT), and another wave of ideas related to the theme popped up. We agreed to work on a game where you are newly elected president and are running out of political power. If you do not have more than 50% of power at the end of the term, you lose. There are no winning scenarios. You simply have to run out of power and get the highest score.
We just barely managed to submit the game in time - 4 minutes before the deadline. Luckily we planned to finish 1 hour earlier, and the last build, the final one(!!) got corrupted. None of the 15 builds before were corrupted! Luckily it was easily fixed by changing some setting in Unity, but it took us an extra 30 minutes.
Here is what we have built: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/39/fruitfull-campaining
Personal record: Term 6, Score 1710
1. Keep your scope small
Said many times and we all know why. Ideas are easy to come by, and you are not going to have the time to do it all. Rather focus on fewer mechanics and polish them.
2. Join multiple teams.
It wasn’t my intention to join multiple teams at the beginning, but when SGD responded to my post, I preferred to work with homies. I immediately made it clear to the international team I was speaking with earlier. Luckily before the competition and they had another coder. They were cool for me to stay in both discord channels, so I was keeping an eye on what was going on and chatted a bit with them.
3. Think of finishing solo
In real life hackathons it doesn’t happen as often, but in online jams, it seems to be an issue to hold people together. A friend warned me of this, and I just got the proof. Anyone can wander off at any time in online jams., hence you should always think of finishing the game solo, meaning your scope should not include other people’s work as much. Reduce it to the minimum. The international team I spoke with at first didn’t work out because the coder did not want to accept any other ideas. So from 11 people that planned to start, five didn’t manage to. SGD held firmer together, 3 of us put together the majority of the game, others produced some art, text, ideas… So out of 6 people said to be available full jam, three were.
A relevant quote from discord:
My second game jam, but first time with remote team. Lesson learned: if one of your team member starts dissapearring even a little - react and reduce scope of your project immediately
Chances are you already lost him. And for the team of three it’s pretty much.
I participated mostly in real life hackathons, and I’ve been consistently having a higher output at the ones where I slept. Can be a short sleep, but you need a refresher every so often.
I’m happy I participated and managed to publish something. In the process, I met some amazing people who I look forward to working with in the future. Great work, thanks all!
One lesson regarding gameplay for next time: Build better tutorial or some intro level, because people are confused when they play for the first time.