Well, we decided we wanted to do a side scrolling game as its not something we have one as a team before. So looking at games like Splashy Fish (the rip off of Flappy Bird, we weren't cool enough to have that game when it came out), Flood Runner which is like some cheap flash game that Tom adores like nothing else, and a few other games games we liked that I can't remember the names of.
What it does
Its an infinite runner that actually isn't very infinite at all, so its like a short jog more than anything. We were going to have you start with super powers and loose these over time but we don't have enough time in the game to show this progression. If you fall you fail the level, we did want you to be able to go through the platforms when you jump up but sadly we couldn't get this working.
How we built it
Tom built the code in unity, which he can tell you has been a nightmare! Kaf was set to building some of the level art and designing the layout of the level, we actually started doing that very late on because it was not until one of the judges suggested making the map rather than using Unitys random spawning that we changed our plans on how we were going to make the game. The random spawner just had too many variables and either made it too easy or the jump spaces were further than you could actually jump. Johnny boy was working on the character art, he usually does the background art but we thought we would mess him around this time! Dan did all the audio and was on making cup of tea duty most of the time, he also spent half his life trying to get the random spawner to work before it was decided to just make a map.
Challenges we ran into
Quite a number, largely lack of sleep! Tom actually had the first bit of the game mocked up pretty quickly, but this was when we were using the random spawning on the platforms. We spent hours playing around trying to make the settings work but it just ended up being really annoying and being frustrating to play. Secondly, not being able to jump through the platforms was a pain considering it seemed like it would be so simple to do! There were many times where it was nearly cracked but we just gave up on this eventually. John was looking at the animation, which isn't something he specialises is, he got it working which was magic but it took some time and after lots of playing around were still not quite sure how we feel it turned out, it is a little cheesy.
Its sometimes quite difficult to know what to put into the audio side when assets haven't been made, so trying to visualise and create sounds for this is always a challenge. Usually Dan would record his own sounds or sometimes on the occasion get samples from free sound.com but we wanted to avoid using free sound.com this time around, there also isn't a lot of quite places to record sound so having the SSR guys on site was a great help. When it came to actually using some of the audio we ran out of time to use coding to implement some of these, basic sounds can be added to unity no problem but for any ideas with a bit more too them we couldn't add this in time. One example is having the sound of our dude running, we had the footsteps and several layers of clanking armour mixed with him panting to add depth - but the loop goes on for too long so still played when the character jumped and if we shortened it then it would be incredibly repetitive. Dan doesn't know Unity so well, so when it comes to adding in the sounds just the one code guy (Tom) having time to mess around with audio code when the game doesn't even work itself just didn't happen.
Probably the biggest challenge was the limitation on team members, we have seen some awesome work around with just 3 team members or less which is fantastic! But as a team, The Doddanites are used to having one other coder, Tom normally keeps control of workflow, does bits and bobs on coding and generally just gets everything together (he is pretty handy like that) so not having our main coder was difficult. We also having different people help each jam, sometimes we have another audio person, or an animator or another coder for example so the change in how we had to do things was pretty big! John had to do animation (cheers John) and I had to look at
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We have a game that does work! As a team we have done games jams where we haven't managed to finish anything because it broke! Although that is because we decided to go a lot simpler this time. We have something we can work on tho at home. John hates animation with a burning passion, almost as much as Tom so were all happy that he gave this a fair stab and actually got it working.
What we learned
We are used to having things a little differently, with more members really so next time we need to maybe plan more or just try to practice with 4 people. We haven't done an infinite runner before, and although its not very infinite we have a better idea of how to make this kind of game, we will need to look at how to get a character to jump through them damn platforms as well! So even tho we didn't do as well as the last time we jammed, we still come back with only a positive experience and a bunch of new things to think about for the next jam.
What's next for The Doddanites
Go home and sleep! In all seriousness, we will do another Jam at Staffordshire uni come next January as well always do, in the mean time we will probably look for another jam to do before the end of the year. We don't tend to do loads of jams in a year but the more we do the better we will get and we are always cup for a challenge. Maybe at some point in the distant future we will have a stab at our own indie company, got a lot more practice until then tho.