This weekend I participated in Global Game Jam for the third time (after taking a hiatus in 2011 to go speak at conference overseas). This year, I was at the UVA site and took part in a 3 person team with my brother in law and an awesome UVA student. The result was an interesting two player competitive game called Eat Sheep (and Die).
This jam was way less stressful than any other jam I've participated in. We essentially had something fun to play by middle of day 2, and just polished things throughout the end of day 2 and day 3. As a result, this is probably the most complete jam game I've ever worked on. Very little went wrong. It was great.
So what when right?
- AngelXNA – Power of Angel combined with the power of XNA! This was the third time I've used Angel in a jam and every time it's improved. We were able to get levels in games quickly, spawn actors, and do all sorts of things quickly and easily. It actually worked really well. Again.
- Abandoning Design – The original point of the game was to have a cyclic back and forth of helping and hurting the other player. On your turn, you would have your goal, and a directive to help or hurt your opponent. On the next turn, you would be given a bonus based on how well or poorly your opponent did. At some point, we realized there was never any reason to help your opponent. It just wasn't worth it. So we abandoned the helping, turn based component, and went with real time versus. This makes it questionable whether we obeyed the theme, but whatever. The game was much better as a result.
What went wrong?
- AngelXNA? – So, the one thing I don't like about Angel and XNA is that it does have a huge barrier to entry for people playing the game after the Jam. I know I don't bother playing a GGJ game that requires a download unless it comes VERY highly recommended. I will, however, look at pretty much every HTML5 or Flash game. That said, Angel is awesome, so maybe I have to figure out a way to fix this. Native Client maybe?
That's it. Not too many lessons this time out because everything went so well. It's a weird feeling. Really looking forward to next year!