Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Failure.... Yet again.

Well, Game Boy Jam didn't go well for me. Real life got in the way.  Again.  I sat down throughout the week to jam, but either my motivation vanished, I got stuck and lost steam on the project or friends and family needed my attention.  It is endlessly frustrating to have to write this post about bowing out of the jam.

I started the jam with an idea of a princess, one who tired of waiting for her prince.  Over the first few hours, I imagined that it would be a stealth based game, where you, the princess, are helpless to stop the invasion of your castle.  Your only hope is to escape the pillaging and survive.  I quickly realized that this was going to be difficult to implement this initial idea.  I spent a few hours getting a semblance of a game running, but I had to shelve it until another day, or so I thought.

The next day, I was able to sit down and work on the artwork of the game, but I was frustrated by my incredibly rusty art skillset.  I have been working with artists on every jam since I started doing them two years.  During that time, I have not drawn anything more than a doodle, let alone flesh out an entire cast of characters (I was going to implement five of them). I fell back on my schooling and started doing warm-ups.  They went well, but they didn't exactly help me get a whole character committed to a sprite sheet. After pounding my head on my tablet for a couple of hours, I called it a night and went to bed.

With the beginning of the week came work and all of the distractions that entails.  I was able to get a few hours of work down on the artwork, but I fell into the rusty knives of dulled skills again.  The rest of the work week was too busy for me to sneak some time in for the jam.  Needless to say, I was looking forward to the weekend, where I could jam without the messy distractions of working and preparing for school.

As the weekend began Friday, I had two ultimately fatal complications pop up.  The first was a previous commitment of working on my girlfriend's family farm Saturday.  I was only expecting a half-day of work, since it sounded like we'd only be doing a few things.  I was wrong. Very wrong.  I barely had time to snag a shower before having to go to the weekly Game Developers Forum.  I didn't get time to work on the jam that day.

The second complication was having an old friend surprising me with a visit.  I mentioned that I was jamming at the time and he seemed willing enough to help.  As I sat down to work Sunday morning, though, he fired up his latest gaming obsession: Rocket League.  I only got about a half hour of work done before finally succumbing to the allure of gaming.  It ended up nuking the whole day.  Not that I regret anything.  I got to see an old friend and see a new game that I had only heard of before.

Ok, enough of the blow-by-blow account, let's do the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of this post-mortem.

The Good

  • I got to verify my latest additions to my code-base
  • I implemented a better chase algorithm for future use.

The Bad

  • Previous commitments killed any hopes of getting a game done.
  • I surrounded myself with those who impeded my progress.

The Ugly

  •  A half-baked, only partially completed game.
Although I got practice like I wanted this jam, I would have been much better off cloistering myself for a shorter amount of time and getting more done.  Life had a way of screwing over my intentions of joining this Game Boy Jam #4.  Lesson learned.

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