Ludum Dare Part 1 - Week 11
Updated: May 14
"A game jam is an event where participants try to make a video game as quickly as possible. Most game jams take place over a single weekend, where everyone has 48 hours to try to make a game often based on a secret theme that is either voted upon or chosen by the organisers. " (Kaitila, 2012)
This week was taken up by preparation for Ludum Dare Game Jam and getting the team together and ready to take part and create a game within 72hours. I had recently said in our Indie Game Development Discord about taking part in the Ludum Dare, and I had a lot of interest from multiple people looking to add work to their portfolio or just to take part in their first game jam. I was very excited about this project as I took part in the Global Game Jam in January, this would be my chance to implement what I had learnt from making my first game named Lave'.
Initial Approach and Process:
At the beginning of the week I set up a Game Jam Discord for all party's interested in taking part as you can see in fig.1. This was an environment where we could chat about ideas and goals that we wanted to get out of the game jam. One most common goal and aspiration that the team wanted from Ludum Dare was to have content for our portfolios. Into Games specifies the importance of a game jam is, "Game jams build your portfolio. By the end of the weekend (or month, or hour) you’ll have a game with your name on it." (Games, 2020) We held a voice chat meeting on the Monday that week to discuss our strategy and how we should approach the game jam. We all agreed on using Miro for mind mapping and creating a mood board for the Saturday morning as well as Trello as a Kanban board to assign ourselves tasks. My main goal for this game jam was to work on my 3d texturing skills as well as rigging characters.
fig.1 (Rozak, 2015)
We had a 9am start on the Monday with the theme 'Deeper and Deeper', We started by mind mapping with a Miro board as seen in fig.2. A thought for next time is spending more time on this stage as I felt as though we rushed through the ideation and creative process as you will see later on down the project. We stumbled across some errors in timing and motivation for the player to do said tasks towards the end of the game jam. The next stage was to come up with a list of tasks to assign to people in either of the three categories; level design, programming or art which you can see in fig.3. A thought on this for next time is breaking into those smaller groups in voice channels after creating the list and thinking about for example the type of art style the artists want to pursue for the game. I would have liked to have seen more cohesion between the artists as I felt as though the end product was not quite what we envisioned in terms of looks and aesthetic.
We used a Trello board for keeping the team organised with deadlines for the project as you can see in fig.4. Trello was a crucial tool in our teams game development process as trying to fit so much into such a short deadline would have been difficult without the organisation that Trello allowed us to have. My task for the day was creating a Janitor character for the game, rigging him and making his prop (a broom). I started by sketching out a character for the team so they know what I envisioned the character to look like as seen in fig.5.
fig.4 (Pryor, 2014)
I then used Blender to rig and sculpt the character in low poly to allow for maximum performance in game. To speed the rigging process up I used the Rigify plugin to create the final rig to be animated. as you can see in fig.6 and fig.7.
My tasks for Sunday was creating and rigging an enemy and then modelling assets that were ready to place around the game. The enemy was done in the same way that the character was using rigify I also made the enemy dressed in white as the game was based during a snowstorm the process of this is in fig.8. The enemy rigging and creation took most of the day, however I realised that rigging the character with the gun attached to the rig was a bad idea as the gun constantly got attached to the wrong bones even though I weight painted each bone not to do this. I was excited to move onto the assets as this is something I am more comfortable with and allows me to get more experimental with the modifiers within Blender.
Day one and two all and all went well, I had hoped to have been faster on day one to allow me to get more done, however I believe this will come in time. I also think that coming up with a smaller idea for a game jam is easier, so spending more time on ideation is important. Another point of interest I have found so far is communication between artists is key as one can easily go off on a divergence from the original vision had by the team. I also think that artists should discuss the art style of the game prior to starting as I feel like the style of the game was very disjointed. "Having a particular art style sets your game apart from other games. It gives your game its own unique atmosphere and style. After all, you want your game to be as appealing as possible, to as many people as possible!" (Ford, 2017)
Fig.1 Rozak, M., 2015. Discord. Discord Inc.
Fig.2 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Mind map visual
Fig.3 Luke Morrisby. 2021. List of assets required for the game
Fig.4 Pryor, M., 2014. Trello. Atlassian.
Fig.5 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Sketch of character
Fig.6 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Rigged character
Fig.7 Luke Morrisby. 2021. 3d modelled character
Fig.8 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Enemy character renderings
Kaitila, C., 2012. How to Get the Most Out of a Game Jam. [online] Game Development Envato Tuts+. Available at: <https://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/articles/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-game-jam--gamedev-437> [Accessed 14 May 2021].
Games, I., 2020. Why You Should Join a Game Jam & How to Succeed. [online] Intogames.org. Available at: <https://intogames.org/news/game-jams-101-core-games> [Accessed 14 May 2021].
Ford, R., 2017. Why Art Style Is More Important Than Graphics in Game Design. [online] MLC. Available at: <https://maxlouiscreative.com/art-style-vs-graphics-game-design/#:~:text=Having%20a%20particular%20art%20style,as%20many%20people%20as%20possible!> [Accessed 14 May 2021].