Gotland Game Jam 2009


Gotland Game Jam is an event consisting of a 48 hour game-making competition for students and ex-students of the Game development education of Gotland University. As my participation was offsite and I spent most of the weekend on IRC I do not have that much to say about the actual event, though I did play the games created and there were some delightfully weird creations among them.

My own contribution is metroidvania based on the theme “Popecat” called Leim [download]. I am reasonably happy with how it came out.

To be completely honest, I had decided beforehand that I was going to make a metroidvania platformer and crowbar it into whatever theme selected for the Jam; there are sure to be people who consider this the wrong approach to take to a gamejam (and with good reason), but to paraphrase Jon Mak it is usually a better idea to make something you really want than to force innovation for innovation’s sake. There are some other drawbacks though.

For starters, exploration games tend to be sort of a tall order and maybe trying to make a worthwhile one in 48 hours is a lost cause. You need a lot of content to make it interesting, and if you are growing the avatar abilities there are lots of things that can break the level design, forcing you to play it very safe if you do not want to create a horribly broken game. Also, going against what John Harris said about interesting environments I tried to force small areas where each had some gameplay idea instead of doing what I should have done, attempt to create ideas for the world and then build levels around those ideas (although again, maybe not feasible in 48 hours). Adding to this is the central hub I placed in the game and the ever-decreasing energy – originally the idea was meant to allow for incrementally more exploration as getting more energy allowed you to move further in the gameworld instead of having obvious borders, but the concept didn’t really mesh with that idea and all it did was discourage exploration. The cohesiveness of the experience was sort of tacked-on as well as I had to remove a lot of the themes and presentation ideas I had in store, again due to lack of time.

Technologically, this wasn’t really a challenging game and although I did sort of fail design-wise I would say I learned enough from it to make the weekend a worthwhile experience. Anyhow, it was very much fun so perhaps it didn’t have to be in the first place.

Posted on Nov 23/09 by Saint and filed under General game development, Homegrown, Meta-blog | No Comments »

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No More Sweden 2009


I spent the weekend in Malm̦ for No More Sweden, essentially hanging out with indie developers and making a game in 40 hours. In my opinion, one of the most interesting things about the Indie scene is how different each developer takes to the craft Рjudging what is important, what is less important and when it is time to scrap an idea Рsomething that shines through some of the games that were made. Hopefully, all of them will be available in the next few days Рmy own game, Alain, can be downloaded now.

The game is essentially a platform game that has you maneuvering an ape in order to get a maypole through a level. As with most games written in a compo under a short time limit, it has certain flaws that are there due to a lack of time – lack of time to polish, and a fear of killing my darlings seeing as there wasn’t enough time to replace thrown-out features. For example, I would like to have spent more time on the firing and climbing mechanics, seeing as it can be somewhat uninituitive and difficult to control now, and I also would have reconsidered the graphical style and gone for something that would give a clearer image of what platforms you could actually stand on.

Doing it again, I would spend less time on creating assets (although I lucked out as a friend offered to create background graphics) and more time tweaking the level design to weed out the brute-force-solutions and making the proper ones easier to perform. There’s also a bunch of features I would like to have added as they would have given me opportunity to create a lot of new and interesting puzzles, and I regret not observing people as they played the game as much as I could, as this had surely given me a lot of more things to add to this list.

Feel free to try the game and add your own comments!

Posted on Jul 19/09 by Saint and filed under General game development, Homegrown, Meta-blog | 1 Comment »

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Shadow of the Bossus v.1.0


My game for the TIGSource Bootleg Demakes competition is now officially finished, I won’t rule out the possibility that I’ll keep working on it at some point although the chances are slim. I mostly did it to try out my engine, after all, and I don’t expect to do very well in the compo seeing as the other games are looking real sharp. I’ll try to test as many as I can, although I’m not sure how much time I will have to do so.

Working with the engine proved to be a pleasure on some points, and a pain on others. The pains were mostly from working with areas I have yet to implement properly, but also from struggling to wrap my head around the new fancy structure I opted to use – in the end, I didn’t really use it the way it should be used, but I guess I did learn that.

I’ve been away on vacation for the last week (and finished some DS games, more on that during the week), so updates have been sparse. They will likely continue to be due to said lack of time.

Posted on Sep 01/08 by Saint and filed under General game development, Homegrown, Meta-blog | No Comments »

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Shadow of the Bossus


… So I have been hacking away, on and off, at an experimental game engine for the last year or so, and the recent announcement of the TIGSource Bootleg Demakes competition gave me an excellent opportunity to try it out writing something real. I give you the first public images of Shadow of the Bossus.

It seems this will be a hectic month so chances are I won’t get further than finalizing the displayed confrontation, and I don’t expect to win the competition with that. Still, It’s nice to get to make something playable after such a long time of R&D.

Posted on Aug 11/08 by Saint and filed under General game development, Homegrown, Meta-blog | No Comments »