Hey guys Nemo here, so here is my post mortem after finishing Ludum Dare 30. LD30 was my first game jam, aswell as my friend who attended with me. It was truly an insightful experience for both of us. For this post mortem I’ll be focusing on what went well, what didn’t go as well and what I can do better next time I attend Ludum Dare or any other game Jams. Okay so lets begin the break down!
What Went Right?
1. Project Management/Communication
Asana and Skype saved us! Project Management and Communication determines whether the project is going to fail or not. As many of you may not know I live in Australia whereas my friend lives all the way in Singapore. We had a 2 hour time difference, which would have caused a lot of issues. However we able to over come this by having video skype calls whenever we were working on the game. We were also able to split the tasks required for this game and assign it to each other if we weren’t able to complete it.
2. Core Mechanics
Fortunately we were able to come up with a fun core mechanic within the first 2 hours of the game jam. Before the game jam had started we had initially planned to take up around 4-5 hours on just design of the game.
3. First prototype within first 6 hours
After all the design phase of the game we put a milestone to finish a playable prototype within the first 6 hours. We were able to achieve that milestone. Once we got a prototype working we could then properly see how the mechanics of the game could be enhanced or additional features to create more depth into the game.
4. Sound in a game
I always found implementing sound to be a hard one. We were able to find some nice musics by Kevin Mcleod and generated some interesting sounds from bfxr.net. Sound was something that I didn’t really found that important until now. After including sound into the game it changed the whole atmosphere and feel of the game.
What Went Wrong?
1. Deciding on scope of the game
Whilst working on the game we kept thinking of new features to add into the game. We had atleast 10 different types of different blocks that we wanted to implement and also a rotating feature (which we managed to implement however didn’t really serve a purpose in the gameplay and was taken out) and a level system. We took away those unnecessary features in the end and only built on the core mechanics of the game.
2. Merge conflict
We encountered some issues with Bitbucket and Source Tree. We had some encounters with version control, some files had conflicted with others and we had to learn to resolve those issues. One time we lost a chunk of code that we spent for and 1hour which was disappointing. However I was able to learn on how to handle these sort of situations if it were to occur in the future.
Sleep. Oh my god. For all those future ludum dare competitors make sure you get a good rest in between each day (except the last day go hard out :D). I realised how important sleep is during this ludum dare. On the second day of ludum dare I was up late trying to figure out a simple math problem which took more time than it should have. If I had taken the time to sleep earlier and work on the problem during the morning with a active brain I would of been able to save time.
What I can do better next time?
1. Set proper milestones
So yeah, I learnt to make proper milestones during any Ludum dare and game jams. Make sure you know how much time you have and be able to estimate how long it is going to take the following feature you require. If you don’t know how long it is going to estimate then break down the task into smaller tasks that you can estimate the time it will take. You should also make sure that feature is going to be worth to the total project.
It’s always good to plan ahead but don’t end up spending all of time planning, sometimes you have to just get into prototyping the game.
2. More sleep
Sleep. 72 hours seems like a short time but really it isn’t. Get atleast 6-7 hours of sleep each day and wake up early so you have an active day to be able solve problems that may arise throughout the day.
I also learnt you shouldn’t just fix your sleeping pattern for ludum dares and game jams but life in general. It really helps you to become a better version of yourself, because remember your body is your mind. Keeping a good healthy body will keep your mind focused. So yeah. Go get some sleep and I’ll talk to you guys next time! That’s all for today. Nemo signing off~!