Work on our game has been finished for a couple of weeks now, but I wanted to go back and take a little bit of time to review the ups and downs of the project.
What Went Right
- Brainstorming Session I think our brainstorming session on the first night of Ludum Dare really helped us to get off to a great start. Once we knew what the theme was going to be we set one rule: “no ideas can be rejected during brainstorming.” This led to some really fun discussions about ideas we might have initially dismissed. This was key to our success with the project because our ultimate idea “counting to 10 perfectly using your internal clock” was one that we were about to pass on were it not for the brainstorming rule!
- Project Scope Management When we were in the process of narrowing down our concept list we made it a point to factor in the estimated work required to reach the core vision for each idea up for review. This helped us to eliminate a few ideas that the team was really excited about, but didn’t feel we could fully execute in the game jam’s time span. This actually caused us to pass over one of our top game concepts involving a Street Fighter parody where the player needed to avoid an opponent that they had a life lead over for the last 10 seconds of a match. (Maybe we’ll revisit this one later!)
- Visual & Sound Design We knew that our basic gameplay concept was really simple and we’d have to work hard to sell the game’s atmosphere with our visual and audio design. I feel that we were ultimately able to succeed at this. In a game where the player character spends most of the game’s duration with their eyes closed, a lot of the experience has to be carried by the audio. Holly did a fantastic job on this with an ultra-creepy sound design accentuated with 3D audio positioning. This, combined with the creepy introduction laid out by our artist Mieko’s artwork created the nice “ghost story” atmosphere that helped to sell our really simplistic gameplay mechanic.
What Went Wrong
- No Time for QA! In our final push to wrap the project up before the deadline, we did essentially no QA on the game. As a result, the very first build that we uploaded still had a bunch of debug features turned on and included a pretty nasty bug that prevented the game’s text from showing up properly for anyone whose system language was set to anything other than English or Japanese. Not only that, but anyone that was savvy enough to mess with the WSAD keys in our first build would’ve found that they could simply turn around around run out of the haunted house!
- No Time For Cool Stuff! Running short on time led to us having to cut some of the ideas that we had from the original concept. While we were able to get a core set of six endings in, we had to dump several other planned outcomes for the game. Since the core gameplay is so simple and success likely requires several re-attempts, we were planning to have a large number of different endings to keep the player entertained while they retried the game. Some of these even included fun joke endings for when you hit very specific finish times. Ultimately, all of these variants were dropped from the project and failing to get these in was probably the biggest letdown for the team.
This was the first ever game jam for our entire team and the whole experience was pretty amazing. We’re all really proud of what we were able to create together. There’s nothing quite like taking a crazy pile of ideas and actually bringing something to life. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to check out our game and congratulations to everyone who participated in Ludum Dare 27!
Leave A Comment