This was our first game jam together and it went exceptionally well! We randomly rolled "Infection" as a topic, and quickly decided on a top down twin stick shooter involving the player as a virus on a mission to destroy it's host.
60 Hour Game Jam - 10:00am November 4th 2016 - 10:00pm November 6th 2016 Eastern Time
What We Did Well
On almost every conceivable metric this was a very successful first jam for us. Based on collected (anonymous) feedback of the jammers, those who responded were all 100% interested in wanting to jam with the team again, and less than a day later I already started receiving requests to schedule the next event.
Common positives were team chemistry, communication, and friendliness. We definitely want to strive to continue doing well in these areas. We had a particularly high turn out (I was expecting a team about half of the size that actually showed up and participated) which is also very exciting.
We stayed very focused throughout the jam, and although we went through a few minor design iterations (as well as the expected aggressive cutting of features near the end) we stayed true to the spirit of the jam and our original vision. For such a relatively large group working together for the first time, this is definitely something to be proud of!
The thing I was most happy to see was that the team really embraced the idea of inclusiveness, and everyone went out of their way to help others contribute. Whether it was programmers redoing work to incorporate new design ideas, artists and musicians being incredibly responsive to requests, or designers being flexible and respectful for peoples time and desires - I could not have been more pleased with our teamwork.
Things We Want to Improve
There were a few things that really stood out in the post mortem feedback:
We did not track tasks, but relied on one developer keeping asset lists and requests up to date, or just spamming Slack with requests. To make matters worse, we had several developers who could only jump in for a few hours at a time, and they had trouble figuring out how they could help with a limited amount of time. Having a list of tasks available for them to quickly cherry pick, update or complete, and put back or close would be a great way to get even more people involved and help everyone else have a better feel for the state of the game.
Resolution: In the future we will try and keep general for chatting and sharing progress, but make requests for assets, code, design, etc in appropriate discipline related rooms. The idea is that instead of keeping a task tracker up to date, we can quickly point people at the appropriate chat room to discover requests and game needs.
Git is a really powerful tool, but we need to do a better job of getting everybody connected and synced up with the repository. There were lots of low hanging fruit, especially since we were using such a user friendly developer environment like Unity3d. Artists and designers being able to interact with camera and scene settings, build props and prefabs, add content (for example, I wrote a system for displaying tips on the death screen but never got around to putting more than two) would not only help us get more content in directly - but would open up new ways for people to contribute.
Resolution: I am writing a Git Primer on this website, and will produce both detailed and Quick Start sections so people can get integrated with our tooling as quickly and painlessly as possible. I am open to alternate source control systems, but the combination of increased industry adoption and the plethora of free unlimited git hosting makes it an incredibly tasty option.
DONE Quick And Dirty Git
We want more people!
Specifically called out were animators, more artists, more coders, more sound designers, more designers, and more writers! We would've liked the opportunity to be able to do a better job with storytelling.
Resolution: I am putting together this website, and will redouble my efforts to find more developers to join in our adventures.
I am one of the people who is already interested in going for round two! I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with these awesome developers and make something I am genuinely proud to have contributed to.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to jamming with you!