Global Game Jam Postmortem

Posted On: Feb 11, 2016

Hey all,

I participated in Global Game Jam 16 during January 29th - 31st. It was my first game jam and was super stressful. But a lot of things came together, so here is my experiences.

The Team

At my location we had the biggest team of 6 people: 2 coders, 2 designers, and 2 artists (the Noah's Ark of Game Development). So we needed version control, that was handled by GitHub. We also needed some basic project management, Trello was selected for its flexibility and simplicity.

This worked for the first full day, Saturday, and was setup after we decided on the mechanics and theme on Friday. Sunday however slowly degraded into "This needs done!" "OK I'll do that." and "This is broken!" "I'm on it!". Which I suspect happened to a lot of other teams.

The Development

So Friday went well, we spent the time brain storming and thought about the theme and a good mechanic that most of us liked. The development had some bumps, troubles fighting the engine (Unreal Engine 4) and miss-using git.

First lets talk about the issues with the engine. It was more an issue with our experience with it, the designers had never used it but they figured things out quickly enough. The other coder and I however had a good amount of experience with UE4, but very little with the 2D plugin that they have (paper2D). One big issue that took us a long time was the locking of axis' for the 2D character. If you haven't checked out the game, its a top down puzzle game where you get new movement abilities (Jump, roll) that is added to your movement. So the Character2D object in UE4 was initially set up to be a side scroller, so you couldn't rotate it 'upside down' for example as the player would then be unable to move because they are never grounded. This took use most of Saturday to figure out and fix, which set us back significantly. Retrospectively we should have used an engine we were more familiar with (we all had several years of Unity experience), but I'm glad we used UE4 as I learned a lot.

The miss-use of git was also a minor problem, essentially when you have merge conflicts you want to do something like this:

git checkout --ours FILE

Where "--ours" is what you just pulled (IE the remote commits), you can also select "--theirs" which is what you are re-applying back onto your local branch (IE what you have on your local branch).

The Conclusion

That's the main points I wanted to talk about, I wanted to talk about this sooner but got busy. If I think of other interesting tidbits I'll update this blog. See you next time ~_^