This is a blog, but not really. I either post short summaries of games I’ve made for various jams or games I’ve played for my #50games game design project.
However, I wanted to interject these with some gamedev thoughts.
While I don’t feel like I need to justify anything, I thought it would be interesting to look at the last few games I’ve made. Take Rain on everyone’s parade or my take on The Legend of Zelda for example - one could probably make these in Scratch in an hour or so. So why do I even bother creating these games?
I do jams because I like trying out ideas and game concepts and the smaller timeframe enables me to finish projects (well, usually). I also feel like I’m learning from these gamedev events. Take the above games: I’ve recently taken the step to Version 3 of Phaser, my go-to HTML5 gamedev framework. As it turns out, there are a lot of changes in this version, and lots of things are done completely differently. So I am using these jams to explore the library bit-by-bit, learning more as I use it to create something specific instead of aimlessly following tutorials.
Last weekend, for example, I fought with the physics system by wanting to make some sprites static and immovable, even when they collide with others. These are all fairly basic things, but trying to use them for a project means you have to get it right quickly. Maybe I just thrive under pressure!
On the other hand, for something like The crown of Medith, where I used PICO-8, which I’m pretty confident with - I instead explored some game design concepts/mechanics: I implemented a torch-light effect, and did some basic proc gen.
The latter in particular, was something I wanted to play with more, and so using it for a small jam is great as it means you just try to make it work instead of analysing it to death. The dungeon is generated by starting from a middle room and creating a door in a random direction, and then moving into the new room - and repeating this until you’ve done it 50 times. This whole process is then itself repeated multiple times to make a maze-like dungeon layout. Simple - but fairly effective! Finally, to give the game a goal, the item you want to find is then dropped in the last room of the last generation.
Of course, this approach is not a silver bullet. Sometimes using a new tech in a game jam is not the best choice - more on that later!