IFgameSH Summer Jam 2021
IFgameSH Summer Jam 2021

IFgameSH Summer Jam 2021

Ayo! We participated in a game jam last weekend and I thought I might share the experience here. It was none other than the GMTK Jam – well, technically. But let’s start at the beginning:

Kristin and I told to ourselves that we want to participate in game jams again. The reason was simple: we wanted to make games again, wether they’ll be good or not is another question. So, we first looked what relevant game jams will be within the next few weeks. (Un)fortunately we found three game jams that happened to be on the same weekend: The SemesterGameJam, the GMTK Jam and the IFgameSH Summer Jam. Since the IFgameSH Jam will be held with the same theme as the GMTK Jam, we chose the latter. We also wanted to get closer with the Schleswig-Holstein community, which was another reason for us to join the jam from Kiel.

The IFgameSH Game Jam

Since participating in a game jam with just two people is still a bit much and we’re a bit limited in what we can achieve, we got a third person on board. Kiri – whom you can check out here – is a talented 3D artist and was our third team member. Because of that, we now have less limitations on implementation; Kristin and I could focus on programming while Kiri made the 3D assets for us.

Game jam start

On friday evening we all met up on Discord to start the game jam and to watch the announcement Video together. The theme: “joined together”. When this was announced, we three got together and thought about some concepts. We came up with some interesting approaches throughout our brainstorming session. Characters that are physically attached to each other, a multiplayer versus game, parallel worlds. we stopped at the last one for quite a while; it seemed like a great idea. Therefore we looked what concepts we came up with for parallel worlds. First we thought about working with colors, like having a colored and a colorless world. We could have even come up with a deep story. But since we couldn’t agree on anything specific, we chose the scenery of an utopian and a dystopian world.

The scenario is set, the mechanics are also agreed on. One should be able to interact with the objects in the world, but only in one world at a time. For example, while you can open the wooden fence gate in the utopian world, the prison-like iron fence was locked. So, we created our project folder and headed to bed for now – most of us that is. I just wanted to quickly mock up some themes – one for the dystopian world, one for the utopian. The next morning we chatted about what we thought about this project: organization, working process, gameplay mechanics and so on. After we settled how to proceed, we finally started developing.

The beginning of the end

The game mechanics were implemented pretty quickly. Obviously we didn’t focus on polishing anything right now, but we wanted to have something testable as soon as possible. The character controller was done pretty fast, the camera was easy to make with the Cinemachine package. we talked about what interactable objects we want to have in the game (doors, crates,…) and implemented them one after another; first the object itself, then the synchronization part. We had rapid progress and most things went very smoothly – usually a bad sign at a game jam.

Our three mistakes that you shouldn’t do too

Slowly we came to an end with the features we wanted to implement, but something important was still missing: the game itself. Kiri was busy making the assets while Kristin and I were busy programming, which means that we had no one to make a level-layout or even having one in mind. I then said that I’ll care about the leveldesign and started right away. First takeaway: There’s a reason why dedicated level designers exist. I never really made something with leveldesign, especially with such a time pressure. I cobbled something together, and it was anything but good. When I presented my leveldesign it turns out Kiri had thought a little bit different. Kristin and I also thought about some riddles and assets we would have needed, without pithcing them to the person responsible of modelling them. Takeaway number two: communication is key.

We talked about having a deep story earlier and again: we had no one that could dedicate his or her time for this, since everyone was working permanently. Therefor takeaway number 3: planing is everything. You should also consider what is possible with your current team. The playtesting came also short, which made the end of our little game a bit buggy. We splitted the tasks across all of us, which in return made everyone lose their focus for one single thing. Kristin made some terraforming, I came up with a “story” and Kiri came up with a title for our game. We hadn’t a real goal either, it was part of the leveldesign after all – for which we had no person. We also hadn’t time to make a proper logo, some assets didn’t make it to the game and sound is also not in place.


One problem we had was that the game wasn’t really planned out from start to finish: everyone had his own conception of our end product. Maybe we wanted too much, or at least we wanted the wrong things. We also simply didn’t think about how much work we didn’t have in mind, like the level design. But as everyone knows, you best learn from the mistakes you’ve made, and game jams are there to make said mistakes. All in all I’m pretty satisfied with the game jam (which I can’t say about our game…).

By the way, you can find the game here: https://tinyjustice24.itch.io/together-we-move. Even though the game is anything but highly polished, I really think that the basic principle is very interesting. Who knows, maybe we will make a game about that in the future! Apart from that, if you want you can check out our other game jam projects.

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