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ContributionsPostmortem

The Global Game Jam and beyond: FYI (2011)

February 20, 2013 — by Bart Eijk

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The “Global Game Jam and beyond” series sheds light on the few brave Global Game Jam (GGJ) teams that have decided to take their GGJ projects to the next level and continue development after those challenging 48 hours. We ask each team to tell about their experiences, share learned lessons and offer advice on their attempt to turn their Global Game Jam project into a full-fledged commercial product.

The Global Game Jam version of FYI was developed by the Dutch game studio Digital Dreams and two friends of the studio. The concept of the game is based on infographics. Every action by the player results in changing bars and pie graphs, which make up the game world. After the Game Jam, FYI won the Independent Propeller Award for Best Design. The game has grown a lot since the team decided to continue development. Digital Dreams plans on releasing FYI to the public and is currently talking to publishers.

We were able to go just a little bit further with our game than the average Game Jam game

What triggered your initial consideration that your game was worth continuing with?
It felt right. From a gameplay point of view, the concept just felt right. Besides that, we had been able to reuse a lot of the code from previous projects at the Game Jam, so the prototype was already fairly complete as far as Game Jam standards go. We were lucky that our main programmer had recently worked on a similar game in terms of camera, physics and collision. Because of this we were able to go just a little bit further with our game than the average Game Jam game.

What do you believe was the main element of your game that allowed it to be commercially viable?
Even though it’s probably cliché and a common answer, we believe the uniqueness of the gameplay and the aesthetics makes FYI commercially viable. The gameplay is unfortunately really hard to explain in pictures and words, it’s something you should play for yourself in order to understand the concept completely. As far as aesthetics go, we use infographics as a visual style, which makes it stand out as well. This was also the main inspiration for the concept.

A screenshot of an early prototype of the game, showing the use of infographics in the game’s level design
A screenshot of an early prototype of the game, showing the use of infographics in the game’s level design
The biggest realization of the team members from the company was that we could produce so much in so little time

How did you manage the aftermath in your team?
Four out of six persons from the Game Jam team were already part of Digital Dreams. The biggest realization of the team members from the company was that we could produce so much in so little time. That’s why Digital Dreams decided to switch to developing smaller projects after the GGJ. That was a valuable lesson.

Another valuable lesson was about handling the IP. We talked to the other 2 GGJ team members and discussed our intent to possibly continue working on the GGJ prototype. In hindsight, this wasn’t enough. We should have done more than just talking. It’s never a bad thing to have things like this in black and white to avoid problems later on, especially before any money comes into play.

It made sense for us to continue as a company, because we really wanted full dedication and commitment. Basically we wanted to invest a lot of time, which is hard to achieve when working together part-time with people that have lots of other stuff to do. We also knew from the start we were taking a huge risk as Digital Dreams by investing our resources into this rough prototype, because we didn’t have the slightest idea if it would pay off some day. We really started to believe in its commercial viability after we won the Indie Propeller Award for Best Design.

What were the most important experiences/learned lessons and/or challenges that you had while further developing your game?
We knew the project would take around a year, making it the largest project to date for Digital Dreams. We did not have the money to do that. Selling the game to a publisher was the follow-up challenge. But it is great to get experience in this important aspect of the game industry, and learn how to pitch to other parties. It took quite a while before we convinced a party to actually invest in us though. This is one of the hardest things to achieve as a new start-up.

A second important experience was the difficult but necessary choice of engine. We considered quite a few engines to support the game. Unfortunately we can’t say much more about this without giving away too much at this point.
A second important experience was the difficult but necessary choice of engine. We considered quite a few engines to support the game. Unfortunately we can’t say much more about this without giving away too much at this point.

In your case, what did you learn from getting the game out to the public?
Well, the game isn’t public yet. But when we showed co-developers, other friends and publishers one of the prototypes we made, we saw how hungry they were for more. You just know you have something worth spending your time and effort on when people want more. This sure gave us confidence to continue development on FYI.

If you think you want to continue work on a GGJ prototype, it’s a smart move […] to know all the team members

What kind of tips would you give to other GGJ participants who might decide to continue developing their project?
Make properly signed agreements with your teammates shortly after or even during the GGJ. It’s not 100% necessary from a legal point of view, but it might help avoid some issues once you decide to continue with the project.
Also, it helps to know all the team members, this will make it easier to discuss this option, and you’ll know with what kind of people you’re getting on board with. It kind of goes against the GGJ spirit – getting to know new people – but if you think you want to continue work on a GGJ prototype, it’s a smart move.
Last but not least: Have fun! Creating something cool with friends in such a short time is one of the most fun experiences we can think of. So don’t worry too much, just give it your best and enjoy the ride!

You can find more information on FYI on Digital Dreams’ website. Currently, Digital Dreams is working on a big project, which will be announced in the coming months. Stay updated through Twitter: @DigitalDreamZzz

ContributionsPostmortem

The Global Game Jam and beyond: Catch-22 (2012)

January 25, 2013 — by Mariia Lototska

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The Global Game Jam and beyond series sheds light on the few brave Global Game Jam (GGJ) teams that have decided to take their GGJ projects to the next level and continue development after those challenging 48 hours. We ask each team to tell about their experiences, share learned lessons and offer advise on their attempt to turn their Global Game Jam project into a full fledged commercial product.

Last year’s edition of the Global Game Jam saw its biggest entry of games yet. Combined with the rather obscure theme of Ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.

Based on the Oroborus theme for the GGJ2012 the team behind the quirky one-button arcade game Catch-22 wanted to make a game in which your actions bite yourself in the ass. This resulted in them not only winning the local competition at their jam site, but later also won a prize for being the best Dutch Global Game Jam game. Catch-22 also later became one of the PAX 10 selected indie projects to be showcased at the PAX Prime event in Seattle back in August 2012.

Catch-22 has been in development for iOS ever since.

ContributionsPostmortem

The Global Game Jam and beyond: Somyeol (2011)

January 7, 2013 — by Mariia Lototska

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The Global Game Jam and beyond series sheds light on the few brave Global Game Jam (GGJ) teams that have decided to take their GGJ projects to the next level and continue development after those challenging 48 hours. We ask each team to tell about their experiences, share learned lessons and offer advise on their attempt to turn their Global Game Jam project into a full fledged commercial product.

During the 2011 edition of the Global Game Jam, the “extinction” theme brought forth an incredible variety of concepts. A familiar looking, but incredibly refined game was Somyeol 2D, created at the Bremen GGJ site in Germany. A young team of students that made the game decided to continue development and released Somyeol. The original GGJ version developed at the Bremen site looked like this:

Its successor, called Somyeol (the “2D” was dropped), has got more features and better graphics and was released on iOS in February 2012. The game uses MadeWithMarmalade as middle ware and was later released our game on all mobile platforms including: Android, iOS, Bada, and Blackberry Playbook and the team is still working on the versions for Windows Phone and Blackberry 10. Somyeol now has more than 100.000 downloads in the Google Play Store and a 4 Stars Rating or higher in all the App stores it’s availabe in, including the Blackberry Appworld store. The final version looks like this:

ContributionsPostmortem

The Global Game Jam and beyond: Resonance 2010)

December 18, 2012 — by Mariia Lototska

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The Global Game Jam and beyond series sheds light on the few brave Global Game Jam (GGJ) teams that have decided to take their GGJ projects to the next level and continue development after those challenging 48 hours. We ask each team to tell about their experiences, share learned lessons and offer advise on their attempt to turn their Global Game Jam project into a full fledged commercial product.

During the 2010 edition of the Global Game Jam, the “deception” theme brought forth an incredible variety of concepts. A rather unexpected entry was Resonance, which ended up winning both a jury and popular vote prize at the Dutch Global Game Jam. The game was released on iOS in February 2012. The original version looked like this:

A rather long concept phase spawned the idea to use deception as a visual aspect in the level design: musical keys would trigger blocks to let a character reach a seemingly impossible point in the level. The first version of this platformer concept was already ready in the evening of Saturday. From that point on, everything went smooth for the team. The rest of the time was spent creating levels and ended up having 14 levels.

People actually had to queue up to play the game even with 3 laptops showing it

We were already very proud of our game, but we didn’t expect winning our site’s jam with it. When people started to walk around and play other games, we got a lot of positive reactions. People actually had to queue up to play the game even with 3 laptops showing it. That was amazing to see and was an enormous boost in motivation to continue developing the game after the GGJ. When we later won the awards for best game of the site and the popular vote, we all knew we had to finish and release this game.

Finishing the game eventually took a bit less than two years. Team member Ruud van Boerdonk was able to release the game on iOS through his company ParaLogic Media. The original first 14 levels of the game were made available for free.

The resonance team after receiving their prizes for winning the Dutch Global Game Jam
The resonance team after receiving their prizes for winning the Dutch Global Game Jam

What triggered your initial consideration that your game was worth to continue development?

The positive reaction during the Global Game Jam and of course winning both the audience award and the jury 1st price made us decide on the spot that we wanted to finish and release the game. At that time I had some contact with Spil Games for other games so I promised the other team members to check if Spil Games would be interested in releasing the game.

What do you believe was the main element of your game that allowed it to be commercially viable?
The unique experience the game provides. It’s unique in graphics, game design and audio, which together make a great and unique gaming experience.

How did you manage the step to go commercial in your team?
Not everyone in the team had the time or motivation to finish the game. A few members displayed the game on some local game events like Indigo, Game in the City and Festival of Games. We used those events as “deadlines” for the development iterations, such as adding more levels, bug fixing, publisher API integration and so forth.

What were the three most important experiences/learned lessons and/or challenges that you had while further developing your game?
– Making agreements. This turned out to be a bit of a pain because the time invested into the game per member varied during further development. Because of that the agreements had to change too from time to time, not always to everybody’s satisfaction.
– iOS version and royalties. Team member Ruud created the iOS version of Resonance on his own. Making agreements on the royalties with the rest of the team didn’t go as smooth as he had hoped, which was a bit depressing from time to time.
– Development time. Because we had an agreement with Spil Games, we should have finished the game asap. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It took more than a year to get the game released on iOS and flash. Fortunately Spil Games was a good partner during that period.

In your case, what did you learn from getting the game out to the public?
We’ve learned that the app store is a hard market to get noticed on.

What kind of tips would you give to other GGJ participants who might decide to continue developing their project?

Do’s

If your game got a lot of attention during the Game Jam by winning for instance, keep interesting parties up to date on your progress and try to showcase your game on events.

– Keep everyone motivated. Not everyone on our team was as motivated to continue on Resonance as the rest or had the time to do so. Part of our programming team wasn’t to do any extra work after the Game Jam itself. Communicating with the entire team was also a challenge some time. Once the development of Resonance came to a halt, rekindling motivation became quite a challenge.
– Get together to finish the game if you can. We never really met again after the Global Game Jam, as our team was composed of folks spread all over our country. Regular meet-ups might have helped a lot in finishing the game sooner. It would’ve also added to keeping everyone motivated.
– If your game got a lot of attention, harness it. By winning a prize at your own Global Game Jam site, make sure to keep interested press or publishers up to date on your progress and try to showcase your game on events. We were able to showcase our game at several events because of the attention we received, but never really chased down the press. Resonance was released two years after it was made at the Global Game Jam, causing us not to received a lot of press. We might have had more press attention if the game would’ve come out earlier.

Don’ts

Resonance's Appstore icon
Resonance’s Appstore icon

– Be too serious. Setting up contracts and making revenue share agreements was a rather exhausting process that we took too seriously. This also had a very demotivating effect.
– Take too long to finish the game. We ended up making both a Flash version and iOS version of the game. Both pretty much came to a halt because of a lack of motivation and other responsibilities, taking much longer to finish than we wanted to.
– Let your team mates down. As a member of any team, you have to make sure to fulfill your responsibilities or, in the worse case, pass them on to someone who can take care of them. If someone ends up not responding to a decisive e-mail that requires the entire team to answer, the team gets kind of stuck.

The Lite version of Resonance for iOS can be downloaded here. The additional map pack can also be purchased for $0,99 cents.

ContributionsPostmortem

The Global Game Jam and beyond: Pulse (2009)

December 13, 2012 — by Mariia Lototska

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The Global Game Jam and beyond series sheds light on the few brave Global Game Jam (GGJ) teams that have decided to take their GGJ projects to the next level and continue development after those challenging 48 hours. We ask each team to tell about their experiences, share learned lessons and offer advise on their attempt to turn their Global Game Jam project into a full fledged commercial product.

Pulse was made during the first ever edition of the Global Game Jam in 2009 and was the result of a highly collaborative effort of a bunch of the enthusiastic Dutch ‘Team Alfa’ during the very first edition of the Global Game Jam in 2009. The game ended up becoming the very first game in the history of the Global Game Jam to receive a publishing deal. The original Global Game Jam version looked like this:

The Pulse team won third prize at their GGJ site in Hilversum, the Netherlands and received a publishing deal with the Dutch game studio Virtual Fairground shortly after. It was launched in the Apple Appstore in March, 2010 as Pulse: The Game a year later as a promotional game for the popular Dutch DJ Ferry Corsten, who also produced an exclusive soundtrack for the game. The game received rather good scores on various popular mobile game websites, including TouchGen (3.5/5) , Pocketgamer (7/10) and many others.

The final iOS version featured above was released in March 2010 after being completed by Dutch game developer Rough Cooky, famous for their famous iOS game Star Defense.

It also forced us to make some solid agreements because not all of our original team members would put in an equal amount of work in the future development.

What triggered your initial consideration that your game was worth to continue development?
From the very moment we decided on the game’s concept during the first hour of the jam, it felt like we we’re working on something valuable. Our team was radiating with energy as each of us produced our separate parts. When everything comes together like that it just feels right. We won the popular vote through our site’s Audience award, so we knew there was an audience. Also the Dutch game studio Virtual Fairground was one of the judges and was interested in further development of the game. It was super exciting, but it also forced us to make some solid agreements because not all of our original team members would put in an equal amount of work in the future development. We solved that problem with a one contract between all the original team members and another one between us and Virtual Fairground.

What do you believe was the main element of your game that allowed it to be commercially viable?
It was a game focused on experiencing dance music in an interactive fashion. It was one of the first of its kind and super casual with its one button controls. The way the audio works together with the rather trippy and colorful visuals instantly gave it that special look. We had some pumping beats and vivid colors going on from the very start, creating an experience that would make you bang your head without a doubt. A lot of people also liked the GGJ version because it was co-op, but we made sure to make the single player experience on mobile as fun as possible when we developed it for Virtual Fairground.

One of many pieces of concept art team member Samar Louwe drew after the Global Game Jam to further flesh out the game’s visual style.

How did you manage the step to go commercial in your team?
We decided to split the IP right evenly over the team members. So if there was going to be any revenue it would be divided accordingly. A few team members where hired by Virtual Fairground to work on the game at their offices. I was responsible for initial project planning before it was gradually passed on to Rough Cookie.

What were the three most important experiences/learned lessons and/or challenges that you had while further developing your game?
1. It’s hard for people to make a switch between the GGJ-mindset and a commercial mindset. It was the first commercial project for many of the team members to work on from start to finish. A lot more stuff comes at you and if you don’t have the experience to turn your prototype into a product or the proper guidance from senior developers, prepare to learn a lot of new things.
2. Good ideas depend on a lot of factors to turn into good products.
3. We were funded with €10.000 euros to turn the original GGJ version into an extended version, but that wasn’t enough to finish it completely with just a part of our original team. Virtual Fairground ended up deciding to pass on the development of Pulse to another Dutch game studio, who eventually made the iOS version. In hindsight, we could’ve made the game for mobile ourselves, if only we had more time and funds to do so without the involvement of another party. Then again, we all had responsibilities at college, a job or a company to worry about outside of our team effort for Pulse, making the further development quite tricky.

Our team was completely exhausted at the end of the Jam, but the vibe after finishing version of Pulse and the excitement of showing it kept us psyched until the very end of the jam!
Our team was completely exhausted at the end of the Jam, but the awesome team vibe after finishing Pulse and the excitement of showing it kept us psyched until the very end of the jam!

In your case, what did you learn from getting the game out to the public?

Assumption is the mother of all great screw-ups, they say. And it’s true.

A lot of things came up, but if it comes to releasing a mobile game, especially now more than ever, good marketing really makes a difference. In our case, the marketing done for the game wasn’t optimal and Ferry Corsten’s fans apparently didn’t all own an iPhone as we hoped. As for getting the game ready for the public, testing remains the most important part of development. It’s always a scary moment to show your game to new players, but you want to do this as much as possible before getting your game out.

What kind of tips would you give to other GGJ participants who might decide to continue developing their 2013 project?
1. Make sure to have a solid agreement in place with all your team members before continuing to commercialize your GGJ game, so everyone knows what to expect from each other.
2. How will you fund your game development? Free time just doesn’t cut it. You need a better plan, divide the responsibilities among your team and find more support to further develop your ideas into a real product.
3. Do you have enough skill and knowledge in your team? Just having a game designer and programmer isn’t enough. Bringing a game to the market also requires product management and a ton of PR & marketing. Prepare for it to be quite the learning experience.
4. Make good decision tools. Or find someone to advise you, like a game studio or experienced game developer.
5. Try to keep your team small. Don’t involve too many extra people in the development process.
6. Don’t create too many features. Remember how you made this game at the GGJ in the first place!
7. Try to finish your game quickly. Promote it as much as possible and put it out there. If it’s successful, you can go on building all the features you wanted to in the beginning and introduce them with updates.
8. Make very nice graphics. High polished graphics are a must to stand out in the oversaturated mobile and tablet markets of today.
9. Playtest a lot. Every build, every prototype, you should play test on at least a few people. It speeds up your process, and makes it easier to make decisions.
10. Recognize assumptions. Assumption is the mother of all great screw-ups, they say. And it’s true. If you ‘think’ something will be great, or won’t be very hard, chances are reality proves you wrong. Be honest about what is unknown and unproven.

Pulse: The Game sadly is no longer available for download after Virtual Fairground closed down in 2011.

ContributionsPostmortem

Global Game Jam post-mortem – Studio Miniboss’ Planetary Plan C

December 10, 2012 — by Mariia Lototska

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Planetary Plan C
Planetary Plan C

The Global Game Jam post-mortem series covers the experiences of various Global Game Jam (GGJ) teams from all around the world. We ask teams from various locations and GGJ editions to look back and tell us about their experiences, share learned lessons and offer advise on creating something beautiful and fun in less than 48 hours.

This is ship’s log for ARK-II, mission 2301.A.NULL, written by captain-in-charge, NoahX02.
Our mission will begin shortly. It will be our last mission before departing the solar system.
Preparations are complete. The estimated hour for execution was, unfortunately, imprecise.
NoahX01 is MIA as of the last hour. Our current measurements indicate that temperatures have reached critical levels, and we must depart at once.

The storage system is functioning properly, and is ready to receive the specimens. I fear that the early arrival of the sun’s thermatmosphere will render most of the remaining life in the system extinct before our current plan can be executed. It is for that reason that we have ultimately agreed upon adopting plan C.NULL to mission 2301, at our own expense and risk. That plan does not exist in your archives. It is as follows:

  • ARK-II will follow the designated route of the planets as of plan A.NULL;
  • Each landing will be the beginning of an approximately 1-minute search mission, instead of the 3 hours designed in A.NULL;
  • We will deploy as many NoahX units as we can, but only one at a time, to guarantee the success of the mission;
  • ARK-II will depart the planet when that time has elapsed, regardless of NoahX units that are in the surface of the planet;
  • The times are calculated for every planet to maximize our orbital jump’s effectiveness;
  • Upon leaving the last planet, the ARK-II will enter phase 2, and launch into hyperspace as expected.

All NoahX units have agreed on this.
All our hope are belong to you.
It begins now.

From scratch

Early concept art for the main character
Early concept art for our main character

Cheers everyone! We are a team of independent game developers who participated in Global Game Jam 2011 from Curitiba, Brazil (with PUC-PR – one of the biggest jam sites in 2011) and created the game Planetary Plan C.

This year’s theme was “Extinction”, and the idea for the game came from looking up the word in a dictionary, where we found the meaning of stellar extinction. After a brainstorm session by most of the team, we came up with the basic ideas for the game mechanics and concept – at this point, it’s difficult to say who had which ideas.

In our basic game conception, the player is able to visit four different planets in succession. In each of them, he is given about a minute and a half to rescue as many plants, animals, people and novelty items as he possibly can, before everything is incinerated by an expanding sun in its Giant Red stellar phase. The game is played as a simple platformer, with the added twist that the worlds are small and circular, so you can walk all the way around it in a few seconds. To add challenge to the quest are natural hazards: lava, water, and volcanic eruptions. Once the time is over, the ship automatically takes off to the next planet, until they have all been visited, and the player is awarded with a sight of everything that he has rescued, on their new home planet.

Determining this basic gameplay took a lot of time. The duration of each world (and of the game as a whole) were also a serious issue, as we needed to decide it beforehand so the music could be composed to match it, but we didn’t have enough gameplay feedback to make a well-informed choice. We went by our gut feelings, and we think that we got it just about right. Beyond that, everything went very smoothly.

With the main idea in our heads, we then proceeded to organize our work process and assignments for each member on the team with what was important to take the most advantage of our time and resources.

The tasks were divided based on the specialty of each member of the team, so the programmer (Rodrigo) and composer (Rafael) worked on their own in their respective areas, and the art assignments were as follows: Santo was responsible for background art, props and audio effects; Amora made the art and animation of the main character, the robot Noah, as well as animating part of our game resources; Irene worked on the design of the game’s visual interfaces, menus and HUD; Henrique focused on concept art, animated resources and Noah’s spaceship – and also wrote the game intro message; and Karen made concept and resources art, spaceship and game introduction screen. That aside, everyone took part in the creation of concept and game mechanics.

“There’s much credit to be given to the classic platforms like Mario, Sonic and Megaman, for their influences on how we perceive platform movement.”

The influences and sources of inspiration for the game were many. There’s much credit to be given to the classic platforms like Mario, Sonic and Megaman, for their influences on how we perceive platform movement. The “controlled jump” and “accelerated move” of Mario and Sonic are seen in the game, as is Megaman X’s dash.

In the case of our composer, Rafael didn’t look for specific game soundtrack references with a thematic similar to our game idea, mostly because there was not enough time for this task. So he focused on his own musical preferences he was used to working with, so he could reach the soundtrack effect he wanted more easily. He took as inspirational sources L. V. Beethoven, J. Brahms, Leonard Bernstein, and music from Banjo-Kazooie, Zelda and especially, Mario Bros. He composed the orchestra as to provide the game with a dramatic atmosphere, supplying an urgent and epic feeling to the task of collecting resources and avoiding extinction. The musical percussion was specially designed so it could give an additional fun ambience to the missions.

The right scale

During the game’s development, several ideas didn’t make the cut, simply because we didn’t have enough time to implement them:

  • There were supposed to be at least two additional hazards, a lightning bolt and a meteor;
  • Smoke particles were supposed to be used for the dash and as a notification that the volcanoes were about to explode;
  • We originally had planned a solar system-wide view, where you could see the star swallowing the planets as time went by.

We tried to deliver the player an experience where he comes upon a situation in which choices are to be made, for he will never be able to save everything from each small planet. These choices per se imply results and responsibilities concerning the influence over the sustainability of a new world as well as the preservation and extinction of species and cultures. We wished this game to provide fun above it all, without trying to stuff the player with moral lessons or cliché preaching. If the player can gather a deeper meaning from his experience or just have a really good time playing, all is well, our mission is accomplished!

“Looking back on our development process, one thing that could probably have been better would be to have more time to balance and refine the gameplay.”

Looking back on our development process, one thing that could probably have been better would be to have more time to balance and refine the gameplay. Particularly, we believe that the final scoring and collectible distribution systems could have been improved. Our programmer’s opinion is also that the game might have ended up being too hard, perhaps due to the unpredictable spawn of volcanoes and the movement (in particular, the unstoppable dash).

Overall, everything went incredibly well. Some great ideas surfaced, like Henrique’s idea to use a “surface map” to indicate the hazard areas of the map. With a combination of Notepad++ Macros and Photoshop trickery, he could create a long string of 0s and 1s indicating which segments of the surface of each world was safe to step on, and Rodrigo hardcoded that into the game as C strings. Without that, it would have been impractical to implement this concept, at least given the time that we had with only one programmer. It was very surprising to see that all surface maps were very accurate, and not a single one required tweaking!

Looking back

The team is very proud of all the polish that we were able to give the game, including finishing a reasonably complex game with relatively few bugs. We also managed to complete the GGJ-2011 Achievement Playing the Music: The game’s duration is matched to that of a song. When the song ends, the game ends. No loops allowed.

For events like the GGJ, where you only have a weekend to develop a whole game, the most important thing we can say is: THINK SMALL. Games are always more complex than they seem at first. In particular, we strongly recommend making a 2D game, since not only does 3D add extra difficulties in both programming and asset development, and given the time constraints, they are rarely worth the effort, and are more likely to look “amateurish” (it’s unlikely that you’ll have time to make professional-looking models and textures).

“There’s no “write the whole game first, program the whole game later” – and some questions are better left unanswered, too!”

After the first concepting phase, when you know what kind of game you want to make, you will have tons of gameplay and feature ideas. You will also get that paralyzing feeling of “we have to decide everything that would be in a game’s design”. We really think it should be avoided as much as possible. Think of all the questions on your mind, but don’t decide on anything beforehand – instead, think of the smallest subset of the game that you can build fast, and then as you build it you will feel the answers coming. We tried defining that smallest subset as early as possible, and work on it right away: “some platformer guy who is running around on a 2d planet with lots of hazards and a spaceship he has to return to. He collects things.” Whether the guy was a robot, a dragon or a human, whether the things he picks up are rocks or books or people: it didn’t matter at that time. There’s no “write the whole game first, program the whole game later” – and some questions are better left unanswered, too!

A tip we would like to give is that care should also be taken when picking your tools: pick something you’re familiar with; you already have enough on your plate, don’t try to learn new technologies as an added difficulty! Try to prepare in advance, setting up a blank workspace/project can save you a lot of time. When you’re trying to get a game done in 48 hours, you don’t want to spend a few of those tracking down dependencies and writing boilerplate. And finally, have fun! Otherwise, there’s no point in joining.

Finally, we wanted to say that having such a positive feedback about our work is without any doubt the best kind of stimulant we could get. It’s definitely an incentive to keep working hard and makes us value our work as a team and individuals, as game developers. We want to keep producing games and giving it our best.

We are sure that this positive response to Planetary Plan C is the result of an incredible teamwork, full of talents that not only complement one another, but are capable of communicating well and sharing a harmonious view of the whole.

The Team

The Planetary Plan C team
The Planetary Plan C team

Amora B. has a career in Animation, having worked in productions such as “The Princess and the Frog” (Disney), “Chico y Rita” (Estudio Mariscal y Magic Light Pictures), and other films and commercials. She’s a co-founder of MiniBoss.

Fernando Su is a friend of the team. He helped us as a Beta Tester, cooking-planner and moral support.

Henrique Schlatter Manfroi majored in Game Development. He has worked for Southlogic Studios and Ubisoft as a 2d and 3d artist, and is now co-owner of the independent developer Sulistas.

Irene Sasaki Imakuma majored in Architecture and Urbanism, and works in a retail architecture office. She also works with graphic design, animation and project management as a member of MiniBoss.

Karen Garcia Teixeira has majored in Visual Arts. She works as an Illustrator and is a member of MiniBoss team.

Rafael Miranda is a pianist and studies composition at Alcântara Machado College in Brazil. He composed the soundtracks for the games Jules: unboxing the world, Talbot´s Odyssey – part one and Planetary Plan C. He is a member of MiniBoss team.

Rodrigo Braz Monteiro is the game’s programmer. He works for an online casual gaming company, where he is the lead programmer.

Santo, a.k.a. Pedro Medeiros, has majored in design and works with illustration and concept art. He is a co-founder of MiniBoss.

Find out more about Studio Miniboss team on their blog.

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