Yey! Another game jam. This time, it’s the first ever game jam by Mark Brown – Game Maker’s Toolkit Jam. It was a 48-hour game jam where your game must be made from scratch. That is, everything – art assets, hundreds (if not thousands) of lines of code, and sounds – must be made in or under 48 hours. The theme will be based on one of Mark’s videos which are mainly about innovations in video games and game design.
As for the start and end of the jam, Mark was lenient. He allowed the developers to start at 6PM, Friday, in their own respective timezones which means that you don’t need to stay up late in order to start at the same time with the rest of the world. That also means that your 48 hours will only start when it’s already 6PM in your timezone.
July 14, 2017
I woke up early to get the theme early and start right away but, Mark seemed to encountered some problem, he was sick the day before, which I think caused the delay. The jam page on itch.io has a countdown which told us (me and the other participants) that the theme will be announced around 1PM. This made me excited and all. But due to the delay, the theme was announced around 2:30PM which, I think, is just fine.
The theme was: Downwell’s Dual Purpose Design.
At first, I found it hard to think of something to do with the theme because I’ve never played Downwell before. I’ve been watching Stefanie Joosten’s playthrough of Final Fantasy 7 and I’ve been a huge fan of Monster Hunter since early high school. And, yes, that’s Stefanie Joosten or better known as Quiet from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. When Stef was playing the Fort Condor Mission in Final Fantasy 7, I thought, “this mini-game has always caught my attention ever since I was a kid, watching my brothers play and I can add that mechanic to my other favorite, Monster Hunter”. Then, I thought of how would that combination of mechanics fit into the theme – use only one button to do everything in the game.
I went with that idea and jumped on to Pinterest to look for inspiration and to further visualize my idea. After gathering enough images for my Pinterest board, I picked up my pencil and my sketchpad to try to “make the game on paper” (I have to take an image because my sketchpad doesn’t fit my scanner).
You can see that there are a lot of scribbles there and numbers; the scribbles are just me writing down what I’m thinking, it helps especially when I’m in the zone, it helps when you can see what you’re thinking. As for the numbers, majority there are just spawn coordinates, height and radius of the colliders, and some ratio and proportions of some stuff.
Writing down things really does help. For me, it cleared my head somehow, which allowed me to process other things – freeing up mental space, if you will.
Level Design. Usually, I start with a prototype of the core gameplay to see which works and which doesn’t but, this time I started with designing the level. I started with some basic assets like the floor and some blocks just to have a general ‘feel’ and size of the in-game environment. My target for the graphics was the same with Superhot. Simple. Lowpoly. Easy and quick to make. After finishing the floor for the game with the appropriate size, I went on to design the ammo containers which will play a major role in the game. I also designed the weapons to be used in the game – a pair of both ballista and cannon.
I also started with how the battlefield will look like (see sketch above). I made 2 paths to make the game quite difficult, and also a bridge between the paths to make the enemies travel farther and to make the player sort of predict where the enemies will go based on where they spawned.
This is how the game looked like. After designing the scene, I went on to programming the ballista. Well started to program, since I encountered some problems with collisions with the bullet and the ground. I really really want to make the bullets stick to whatever it hits, but I keep on seeing a problem in the future with the navmesh. I solved this by adding a separate trigger just before the ground, specifically, for the bullets (ballista ammo and cannonball).
With this, I went on to bed to have the only sleep I got for this jam, a 6-hour sleep.
Here’s the next one where I tackle how I made the enemies go from their spawn point to the gate of the base and attack the player’s units if they come in range. I also discussed some finishing touches for the game.