I don't think this jam could have gone any better for me than it did, and that's mostly because of sharpened scope management and some good timing.
As I mentioned in my initial post
, my game, Verticorpse
, was made as a gift for a friend. It was intended as a super simple mod, but I know that even super simple mods can pose great challenges, so I squashed any temptation to scope further. I feel scope estimation for jams is just a result of experience, so if you want to get better at accurately estimating your time, just keep making those games and doing those jams :)
What went right:
I finished the mod and the intended recipient of the gift loved it. SUCCESS.
As I mentioned, another success was good estimation of scope. I knew that I was only going to have a couple hours each night to work on this, with a smattering more on the weekend, so I was able to prioritize things and get everything implemented in time without too much stress (though I did stay up a little later than I normally do this week).
My challenges are exactly what I predicted they would be: working with new tools (UE4) and the complications of online multiplayer. Unreal for the most part was a joy to use, but every step to implementing my mod involved a lot of digging and searching and discovering.
I was up in the air about working with the shooter template or not, and it had its pros and cons. A lot of the stuff was built in already, especially mp replication, and that was super handy. However, because the shooter template has all the gameplay in C++, it meant I had to brush off some serious coding chops to make alterations in cases where I couldn't use the beautifully addictive blueprint system.
What had the potential to go terribly wrong:
I realized on Monday night that my plan to finish all the bones then and then work the rest of the week on a level was not going to pan out. I was worried I would just have to end up using one of the included template levels, which would have been a bummer, since I wanted a space that would specifically compliment the mechanic. Fortunately, I showed the prototype to Josue really early on, and he was excited about it and offered to build a level. Josue has waaaaay more experience than me as a MP level designer, so I was happy to oblige.
Even though it's a little strange that this game was supposed to be a present for him and he ended up helping build it, I'm really glad to have had his expertise. I'm much slower at building levels and would have required a lot more iteration time.
Things I wish I could have gotten in:
The one thing that I wish I had a little extra time to do: We'd talked about doing an outliner shader that could be seen through the world that would pop up on someone when they shot and then disappear. The logic here being that it's really fun when someone shoots at a dummy and as a result reveals their location, and I wanted to reinforce that with extra feedback.
Ryan Benno tried to help me with the shader, but I had trouble getting it to work and decided to spend that time on making a crappy lobby instead. Special thanks to Ryan, though, for helping me with lots of UE4 art things.
In conclusion, even though this is an extremely simple deathmatch modification, I'm really pleased with the results of this jam. I did exactly what I set out to do and made my friend really happy. I can't wait to play it with people!