At the beginning of August, I jotted down a list of game jams I was interested in over at alakajam.com
I realised that it was slightly ambitious, but I thought combining a couple of them might make it do-able.
In the end, I ended up taking Wildfire from a prototype to a polished piece with some interesting technical features. I am very happy with how it turned out - although I kept running late, submitting the current version to LowRezJam with only a single level and not completing the level creation feature in time for the Kajam, which meant I only populated the game page a day before voting ended.
I’m not into gamejams to win - but it would have been nice to have more people play the game. Once a jam finishes, people move on and you don’t get the same level of feedback.
During the development of Wildfire I also participated in LD42. This was a weird jam for me, with lack of motivation and just really slow progress. I did submit a game in the end, even though I had to downscope the original idea massively, and again submitting late. The game itself works, I think, but is very short and simple (maybe not a bad thing!).
With the work on Wildfire still going on a week into September, I left myself with very little time to make a game for the month-long js13k compo, which I do like to join as it challenges me in a different way with its very strict limitations.
I made my entry mostly on my commute and in evenings, and encountered a bug that caused a lot of debugging and general delay. This meant no time for play testing and polishing, and in the end I had to make some changes to the original idea to just have something that would play in a predictable way. I actually hacked together the last bits while at work, submitting the game without even having tested it properly.
So! What have I learnt?
Well. Stretching development of a game over a longer time period was great. Having people play versions along the way helped with motivation and also getting valuable feedback.
Joining many jams in a short timeframe gave me too much to do which caused me to overrun which again meant not getting as much out of the jams as I would have liked.
It also caused me not to have time to play other games from the various games, or join in with other activities such as playing the monthly DOS Game Club game and reviewing games for my #50games game design project.
All in all, not a disaster, but also not a sustainable way of working. I will now spend some time playing games and doing other things, and take a little break from game dev.