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GGJ Archives 2009-2012

"Land The Mime" (our finished and quite polished game) - GGJ Postmortem

eordano

I loved the Global Game Jam!! Everything was great: the community, the people, the experience, the game we finished in time, “Land the Mime“. This is the postmortem that I wrote.

The Place and Organization

In Santa Fe, Argentina, there is a fast-growing group of people dedicated to making videogames. It's a small city of 400 thousand citizens, but with a big University, the "Universidad Nacional del Litoral (UNL)", that provided us with the space to work: at the "Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias Hídricas (FICH)", a building in campus (generally closed on the 30-degrees-at-night January on Santa Fe) that was very well equiped and we had a very nice place to work. It was organized by the starters of CoDeViSa, the "Community of Developers of Videogames - Santa Fe" and they did a great job.

The Team

Our lead graphic artist, Andrés Miranda, was great to work with. I had never met him before this event, and got a very good impression of him. I really liked the images of the game.

I had already worked with the other programmer, Fernando Nellmeldin, since we are friends for a while now, and we always get together to learn new geeky-programming stuff.

I found out that the music was the most underrated aspect of the videogame, but when I turned off the speakers to play the game (it started to annoy me after hearing it a lot of times) I had the feeling that something very important was missing. Ariel Echarren was in charge of all the music and sound effects, and he knew very well how to work on videogames, so he did an excellent job.

In our team, we had the youngest and newest member of CoDeViSa, Maximiliano Neder, who was 14 years old and helped a lot with the graphics part. He was very enthusiastic and I think he learned a lot of the experience. I see a very bright future in his carreer as game developer.

The Game and the Language

We started with a simple idea, since it was the first time that the two programmers of the team made a *real* videogame (we had stupid things lying around that we tried to do in the past, but nothing solid has ever come out of our lack of effort :P).

We used Python+Pygame to make the game, since those were the technologies in which we were more experienced. In the future, I will look deeper into Pyglet, since that is what we are trying to use in another project in which I'm involved, Galaktia. I think it was a wise decision, and we worked really fast.

The Experience

By 9 PM of Day 1, the (simple) mechanics of the game were done. By 4-5 AM of Day 2, we were able to play. At 9 AM of Day 2 I went home and showed the game to my sister, got incredibly valuable feedback, and got some sleep, until 1 PM.
By 2 PM of the same day (20 hours of competition) I went back to FICH to continue working.

I left at around 9 PM of Day 2 and went to a party, a birthday of a friend of mine. I couldn't stop telling people about the game and the experience. At 3 AM of Day 3 (33 hours of competition), the other programmer sent me a SMS telling me that he had submitted the game. By 6 AM, party was just over, and I was near the FICH so I went there to check on the guys.

The game just needed some polishing by then, but we were really tired and went home to sleep in our beds. At 2 PM of Day 3, we were quickly testing and fixing bugs & gameplay, at a very fast rate of changes. Our final version was ready at 4 PM, with a lot of time in between when we slept, went out with some friends, took our time to play Age of Empires 2: The Conquerors, among other activities.

I enjoyed the overall experience, having the power to say "I can make a simple but finished and polished videogame in a few hours" is great. The people in the team were very cool. The judges selected us as the local winners, for having the game finished, even thought the game was kinda stupid. The next time I make a videogame (I'm planning on participating in the next PyWeek), it will have a more interesting plot - and I want to be able to make a very addictive experience. I'll practice before the next competition, maybe create a game or two.


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