Michele Mantovan

GGJ 2017 Post Mortem

Once again I’m going to describe and share my experience at the Global Game Jam in Milan, that was the world’s fourth site in terms of participants in this edition, even if in Italy there was almost 10 sites around the country. I have to renew my thanks to the organization crew of the event that did a really good job for both organization and security matters.

This was my second participation (last postmortem here) and this time I felt to be more prepared than the first time. Logistically I already knew the venue and how the event is structured, so my organization for the event was all ok and smooth. On the site I’ve found a lot of good friends and passionate people  about videogames, willing to share their games and thought about game development, some of them were also very skilled and professional people. Like said, I’m going to analyze my experience on this GGJ, instead of focusing on the game we made.

The jam experience

This year I decided to go on the venue in the afternoon. The morning conferences are very interesting but since I had to travel for 3 hours from Trento to Milan, I decided to skip the morning session and rest a little more. Once arrived and registered, I started to walk around and look at some of the games from the guys of the Politecnico. Like the first time, the team building was very random: while walking around, after refusing some interesting offers using Unreal Engine (I don’t use Unreal and I think it’s not a good choice to learn how to use it on a jam), I found a game designer who was searching for a team. Ok, we were in the same situation and we started to search for an artist, and the search was literally 2 seconds long. Then the artist found some sound designers. At that point we needed another programmer and we found one programmer and another one with a game designer badge who joined our team. Our team was good to go and we went to the theme revelation conference (like always, one of the best moment of the jam) and then jumped into the development for the following 48 hours. I have to admit that the spirit and the mood of your jam can drastically change along with the components of your team 🙂

What went right

Self wisdom: that was my second GGJ and my third game jam, so I faced all the phases of the development with some extra wisdom, avoiding the common mistakes and the mistakes I’ve done in the past jams, and the fact that I was the only member of my team who already done a game jam, was pretty vital.

Right Idea, very fast: we found some decent ideas for the game pretty fast, with a well-ordered brainstorming. We had the right inputs from the others members, using different phases of brainstorming, and with the right time for each phase we didn’t loose much time or find stucked.

Good rest: This time I decided to schedule the rest during the jam in a proper way. I worked every day to 2am and rest until 7am. Five hours are a good compromise to me, and I didn’t felt exhausted at all.

What went wrong

Bad task assignment: As the only one who have already participated to a jam, I had the “privilege” to coordinate and assign tasks to the other two programmers. I started with the first things that came to my mind and assigned them, but on second thought I should have thought to the big picture and assigned tasks for a certain aspect instead of some braided tasks that have almost compromised the project.

Engine issues: In the middle of the jam we encountered a little problem with Unity (the causes are still unknown). There are some project files corrupted that they forced us to waste a lot of time in redoing some tasks. Fortunately they weren’t dramatic, and we solved pretty fast.

Tips for the future

My personal tips for future jams are:

    • (again) give more meaningful choices to the player.
    • Think more to different game genres that are suitable for a jam
  • Explore more games from the previous jams to get the feel of them

Final result

The final result of all the efforts is Make Babushka Proud (lots of infos here). We are currently working on it to resolve some bugs and maybe publish the game for Android in the Play Store. I leave the time lapse of the “making of” and link for downloading the game on itch.io