ToJam12 - Postmortem and Time-lapse Day 3


HI EVERYBODY! IT'S DAN!! Here's the footage from the last day. For details and thoughts on what happened check out the Day 3 retrospective devlog. This will likely be the last devlog for Kill Yourself since Bird With Toes is moving on to new projects. Stay tuned.

I finally had a chance to get back together with Tofski to talk postmortem of the game. Most of the details I've already written about in the retrospectives so I won't repeat myself here. Y'know, despite how much I love to hear myself talk, err, type.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

The single biggest thing that went right versus TOJam 11 is that we made a project that did not have a huge pile of different knobs to tweak. The primary mechanic of the game was ready to go about 2/3rds through day one. All of the remaining days could be dedicated to adding depth and polish to the game.

The next big thing that went right was having all the necessary tools to develop the game ready to go in advance.  In TOJam 11 we didn't have a character controller to use, nor did we have a general purpose attract mode controller. That resulted in most of day one being wasted. This time around all the reusable components were ready to go in advance so it took only an hour or two to set up the entire title sequence and load into the first level.

Finally, allocation of work was really well balanced this year. While I was assembling the game's  skeleton Tofski was whiteboxing maps. While I was building the suicide mechanic, Tofski was composing the game's title theme. And so on and so fourth. Both of us were busy working on something that went into the final game for the entire period of the jam, breaks notwithstanding. Coordinating work takes time and ensuring there's enough independent stuff to do keeps time from being burned up in management type tasks.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Hosting everything on my PC. This one mostly cost Tofski time. Every time I accidentally bumped the power bar and killed my machine he'd need to reconnect to our version control software to commit changes. We're planning on setting up an off site server to store our commits. This may slow down uploads and downloads but will be far more reliable.

I spent a fair amount of effort getting a scalable tile based image component working in Unity. Then I spent quite a bit more time trying to get art we received from Eli to work with the component. Most of the art tiled together in a way that didn't work with the scalable image so the only use we got from the component was some blackboards on one or two maps. Not worth the half hour or more setup time in the jam.

Art coming in late in the dev cycle was a minor problem. This was an unfortunate inevitability of not having a dedicated artist this year. Not having art earlier meant that downstream work, particularly polishing of the levels' appearance and fixing animation problems, couldn't be done due to lack of time. No real fix beyond striving to have a dedicated artist.

CONCLUSION

This year was the most satisfying of all our jams so far. This is the first time we've felt that we really "got" the process nailed down well. The only major change would be to set up offsite storage for our work. Ideally we'll have Logan back with us next year but that's more dependent on what commitments Logan has outside of Bird With Toes.

Signing off for now.

- Dan

Get Kill Yourself - TOJam12

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