Game dev talk #1 : Do we actually submit entries to game jams?

Donni11

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                                                         This week discussion is: Do we actually submit entries to game jams?


Now lets think about when we join a  game jam. Were all pumped up and excited. Were posting all over social media that we can't wait for the jam ( and hoping its not a bad theme which we always vote for). We post all over the jam site saying that were joining the jam ( assuming that the world cares). We stay up till midnight working on a game ( boy, are game devs crazy  :D ). But at the end of a jam, do we end up submitting a awesome functional game? Sadly usually no. We have a awesome unfinished game, but we never make the cut. Then we see some other dev submitted this crazy awesome game. And we wonder: That game is bigger then mine! And it bug free and submitted!  How is this possible? So let discuss. How to submit a awesome game to a jam in time.

Every game developer know the one of the hardest task in game developing is completing a game. The reason for this is the following: When first starting a game, the dev is all excited and enthusiastic. But after two months the dev is burned out and wants to switch projects. I see devs working on amazing market shaking games but gave up on them because they got bored and sick of working on them. ( in a future Game dev talk we'll discuss how to maintain commitment to finishing a game). A game jam is a amazing thing. A game jam cancels out the task of being bored of working on a game because a game jam is only a small amount time. So the dev won't lose commitment or excitement. However a game jam also has adverse factor . By a normal game development , you have as much time to work on your amazing idea, but by a game jam your amazing idea time is limited due to the time limit.       

                                                                       Determination to finish game (  devs mind)Likenesses to finish amazing idea ( reality )

Normal Game Development:      Not likely ( because the dev is losing excitement)           Very Likely ( due to amount of time )

Game Jam:                  Likely ( because the dev is losing excitement)                               Not likely   ( due to time limit)

Note: Remember, however, that Determination to finish game (  devs mind) could still affect Likenesses to finish amazing idea ( reality ) if the dev decided to quit.

 So let discuss how to solve the problem of the game jam ( yes,  in a future Game dev talk we'll discuss how to maintain commitment to finishing a game). So you have a ton of commitment, but barely any time, how do you solve this?

Simple. Its not true. Your time doesn't matter. Your concentration target is what matters. Its not the actual time that is causing the problem. The reason you can't finish your game in time is because your too excited. Yes this may not be a problem in normal game development since you have an ample amount of time. But by a game jam, this can be a big problem. Since your too excited, or too determined. Your mind is bouncing from idea to idea, which causes multitasking. For example, your so determined to create the best game ever, every two seconds you think
" Oh I have a  great idea for the art, let me work on that now"
" Oh I have a great idea for the music, let me work on that now, "
" Oh I have a great idea for the gameplay mechanics let me work on that now". 

Or sometime the opposite occurs,  your excitement causes you to spend to  much time spent on one factor of your game.  You think
 " I'm going to create the best art for the game jam ever"

 and you spend 4 out of the five days of the jam working on art. 
Your excitement can cause either of these problems. Lets discuss how to solve these problems.

Problems:

   
  • Your excitement causes you to multitask too much causing you to do nothing.

How to Solve: Okay, remember, stay focused! Stay to the necessities. Once you finish the scene, go to the music, once you finish the music, go to the animation etc. But stop jumping from game factor to game factor. You won't accomplish anything. If you have a great idea for the animation while your doing the music don't work it yet.  Write it down. Once you finish working on the music you could start animation. Don't multitask!

  • Your excitement causes you to work on one game factor for too long

How to Solve: Okay, remember, your not putting this game on the market, you won't earn money from it, your just doing it for fun. Keep everything basic. A basic game concept idea and basic art. If you have extra time after ( which means your game is 100% functional) then you can start with the extra things. Spending to much time on art, or a complicated game concept won't allow you to submit it in time. Even if your doing it for the prize, so your thinking " the art has to look super good , or the game concept has to be outstanding" it won't work. If you have amazing art with no game mechanics you won't be winning anything I can tell you that.  People think they have much more time then they need and they can accomplish much more. That is not true! Stick to the basics. Once you created a functional game, that works and is playable. You can starting working on nicer art or enhanced features. That way even if you don't have such nicest art, or the coolest features, at least you have a working game!  Your wondering why the other dev's game is submitted and bigger? Its because his game started small, he finished it. He had extra days since his game is finished. So he enhanced it and add new features. Stick to the basics if you want to submit and then if you have extra time, enhance your game features and art.


  Feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions, and tips!

  Have a great weekend!

  Donni,

« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 12:41:15 pm by Donni11 »
Peace

gurigraphics

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Generally in Jams the Games with best art  = first place.

Then, when I see a project with good art, it makes me not participate or give up.

About focus and improvement I wrote this once:
Quote
The possibilities for improvement are endless. We can improve: writing, oratory, videos, marketing, pedagogy, product, content, design, brand, etc. However, without a method that sets limits and priorities, we get lost in what I now call "improvementionism."(melhorismo, mejorismo, migliorismo, améliorationismo)

For this reason is necessary organize the informations for decision-making, in order to establish a hierarchy, of what is most relevant to: research, study and put into practice to test. And, also included, the timing and costs / benefits of delegating these activities to others. Only in this way is possible to stop being a "One-man band" and become the "Maestro" of this orchestra.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 02:13:06 am by gurigraphics »

detted

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I can only speak from myself here and how I manage my projects and such. And since I'm a freelancer I am my own boss I have to finish the work for my clients in order to get paid, so I guess I have that. But even before I started to get payed I had to have something that would make me go through with my projects.

The thing is, in my opinion, that people tend to rely too much on motivation. Motivation will only take you so far, after that it's just hard work. So in the start of every game jam people have great motivation, as you should, but once that runs out you need to have something else to rely upon in order to finish your product. That's where discipline comes in. The strength to be able to carry through with your games and have a finished product in the end.

That and being able to break down your tasks and take small steps that leads towards your goal("create a main character") instead of one giant tasks ("Make a game"). And like you said Donni, doing things one task at a time and not multitasking.
Composer • Sound designer • Producer
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ceosol

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That and being able to break down your tasks and take small steps that leads towards your goal("create a main character") instead of one giant tasks ("Make a game"). And like you said Donni, doing things one task at a time and not multitasking.

I am the exact opposite. If I sit down to make one thing, I get burnt out easily. I love having many things to do at the same time because I am never bored. Right now, for instance, I have nine projects and just finished two without the past week or so. Any day of the week is completely different and always my choice for how I spend my game dev time.

merrak

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I am the exact opposite. If I sit down to make one thing, I get burnt out easily. I love having many things to do at the same time because I am never bored. Right now, for instance, I have nine projects and just finished two without the past week or so. Any day of the week is completely different and always my choice for how I spend my game dev time.

I'm generally the same way... I have lots going on at once. But with something like Ludum Dare, getting burnt out isn't really a concern for me. There's just not enough time for that to happen. Efficiency is more important. While bouncing around may be better for creativity, it comes at a price of the efficiency that is important in a two-day event.

The longer jams were different. 10 days (Stencyl Jam), and definitely a month (LowRezJam), is too long to focus on just one thing. And of course, I either have my usual work or a hurricane during the weekdays. I don't find I really need to plan my time at all for a longer event.