Yet, the another game jam! This time it was the 3rd edition of the Slavic Game Jam in Warsaw. Lots of Slavs, Nordics and bunch of other awesome people and games. Oh boy, there were a lot of games! About 86 if I remember correctly. You can check all of them here (the winner is Dot. if you wanna just play in the best one). But here… I’m gonna write some about my entry.

Splash

The theme of this jam was “Unknown”. Yeah, kinda broad topic, but thanks to this there were no problems in finding an idea. Here’s the main thought I have: Everybody was telling me that “The first few ideas must go to the trash”, because they are probably the most generic ideas ever. But I’ve liked the first idea I had so much I just made it!

I was doing this game all by my self, so I had to be careful to not plan too much. There were only 36 hours and I’m not the one of those who can live without sleep. The idea was simple – “one feature to rule them all” – as one of the very wise developers said. It’s pitch black, which can only be lighten up by the projectiles. This creates the interesting mechanic – you can’t see yourself, but the enemy can’t see you too. When you shoot – you can see where you are, but the opponent can see you too. Except the basic projectile there is also a granade/flare that creates a light which helps in seeing how the level looks like (and in locating the enemy).

It was a simple idea, which on the first sight looks very generic and obvious… but there wasn’t any simillar game to the one I’ve made. And people liked it. It even got the distinction in “One more turn” category!

How does it look like? Well, see yourself!

It is a simillar situation to the one I had when I was writing Lunar Maze. First, simple idea I had, strict goal and trying to make a game as polished, complete, smooth and bugless as possible. I really like the 4:44 strategy where you are making a prototype in 4 hours and then you polish it in 44 hours. During this jam it was rather 3:33 but I think you get the idea.

What I”m trying to say is that if you have some cool ideas for a game on game jam and you really like those ideas – just do them! It doesn’t matter if they are the first ideas you had. Game jams are mostly for fun, just make a game you want to make and play with it and have fun with it!

What was the biggest issue and difficulty in making this game? Lighting optimization. The game uses lots of dynamic light sources and Unreal Engine, by default, is set to be the best looking engine ever, but also the most demanding one. To make it run on GTX730M (I was working on a laptop) I had to make some nifty optimizations (huge thanks to Sjoerd for helping me in figuring out what to do) to get it to 60 FPS. In fact it was the Game Jam during which I learnt a lots of new stuff!

What about the Slavic Game Jam generally? It’s the biggest game jam in Poland and one of the biggest in Europe! Lots of people with crazy minds, you cannot be bored with them! There were some inconveniences (no showers!) and difficulties in organization, but it was mostly because of the amount of people (over 300!). Still, we had a room to sleep, food, drinks and the Internet, so it wasn’t so bad!

As usually you can download the sources of the game from github (UE4.16 required) or simply download the game and play (requires at least two players with xbox controllers).

Have fun and see ya on the next game jam!