I took part in the Newgrounds Game Jam 7 a couple of weeks ago. I would really like to write a postmortem on the game but it is still not finished. Needless to say that I did not make the deadline on that one. I do plan on finishing the game but I am waiting on art for it. I learned a ton from doing my first game jam, I can’t wait to do more of them. Since then I have been doing a lot of reading. The Game Jam Survival Guide was a good one I picked up. I think next time I do a game jam I am going to work alone unless I am doing it in person. I really enjoyed collaborating with other creative people but I don’t like having to rely on someone else to get a project out on time.
The way that the Newgrounds jam worked, the programmer picked out the team “kickball style”. I chose to be the programmer when I signed up and I picked an artist, musician, and “wildcard” when the selection opened up. There was a second pick to make sure everyone had a team but I missed that because I was at work so I only got half the potential team signed up with me. The first artist I had didn’t respond so I recruited another artist that hadn’t been picked. He did some concept art but he lives in the UK so he had to sleep a lot earlier than we did. Eventually the original artist showed up and we explained the concept to him and he got to work.
The second day I had told the artist from the UK that we got the original artist in and they could try to communicate when possible but he decided to just drop out and leave it to the artist we had. We ended up really over-scoping the art and we barely got anything by the time the third game came around. In hindsight I should have just finished up the game without the art and put it out, but I decided to just wait until we could get something and make a game out of it.
I have a lot to learn about game design, and project management. Being in a leadership position was an interesting experience. I learned a ton doing the jam, and I hope to do a lot more. I am still working on the game, I have a new artist working on it, and I also have some ideas for other games. Hopefully I will have a new game or two to show soon. The last game I posted about is still in my head but I am having a bit of trouble with the design. It has been shelved for a while but I am still thinking about how to make it fun.
I have heard from a lot of indie developers that the first 10 or so games you make will be garbage. I don’t know how true that is but I am hoping to get those out of the way as soon as I can and start making fun games. Also http://www.amazon.com/Challenges-Game-Designers-Brenda-Brathwaite/dp/158450580X is a really good book.