Johan Peitz - Let's make SOMETHING

4Sep/110

BIG Jam ’11 – Post Mortem

So, BIG Jam eventually came an end (last Monday actually) - what a weekend! It started out slow, mostly because I had a terrible cold and that I didn't know anyone. But on the final day I'm finally felt a lot better and I had met amazing people and made some great friends!

The jam sessions were very rewarding. I didn't think I would get that much done in so few hours but it obviously was possible. I really liked the presentation format where people had to show off their jam results for all to be amazed by. I saw some really awesome stuff! Before I forget everything I thought it would be a good idea to make a little post mortem of the whole thing. It's mostly focused on the actual jamming, but here goes:

Things that worked less well:

  • Being sick
  • Too few talks
  • Bad eating habits
  • Bad UI sucks

Things that worked well:

  • Cooperating
  • Solo jams
  • Sticking to the scope(s)
  • My fairly new component based engine
  • Nobody notices a good ui, but it makes all the difference

To summarize...

  • Jams are intense, make sure to be well rested and eat properly!
  • Talks are fun and everybody enjoys them, why not talk about something yourself next time?
  • Team up! Proper presentation (in my case pretty graphics) really do a lot to prototypes and you can focus on the coding.
  • Don't be afraid to go solo on a jam. It is very rewarding to pull off a game on your own in such short time.
  • Stick to the scope! It is way to easy to get carried away halfway through production. Don't.
  • Come prepared! Having a framework that allows for rapid prototyping is critical in order to get anything done. This jam I barely wrote a single of line engine code.
  • If there is time (which there always is early on so do this right away), plan your ui. This can be anything from meters or plain text. But make sure it's there. When it is presentation time, it will make is som much easier for people playing (and not playing) to understand what's going on.
  • Player feedback! If something (ANYTHING) happens in the game, regardless wether is is by player input or not, make it show. Make updated ui elements flash, activated game objects blink, etc.

The games:

Alien Circus
gfx by Marek
code by me
Cat Escape
gfx by SquirrelSquid
code by me
Eat and/or die!
gfx by me
code by me
Chicago IX
gfx by me
code by me
Shooting Range
gfx by me
code by me

That is all I think. There's also some photos of the whole event here (courtesy of @zoewi). All in all I had so much fun, big thank yous to all who participated in anyway!

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