This post is part of day three of itch.io week. We'll be interviewing developers all week. Learn more here: https://itch.io/week
Daniel Linssen, also known as Managore, is a prolific game developer producing games of great design primarily during game jams. He recently won Ludum Dare 35.
I used to play around with RPG Maker a long time ago, but I never came close to finishing anything, and before that I used to draw Sonic levels on graph paper and make up ridiculously overpowered bosses for shmups.
The first game I actually finished was in 2011, a flash game a friend and I made for a small game jam. The game was a single room platformer and it wasn't really all that interesting.
I'm not sure whether this counts, but the second game I ever finished was a platformer called Violet, and I remember very distinctly how amazed and happy I was when the game was covered in a Youtube video
At the time, I couldn't believe that had actually happened.
I honestly don't remember! I think the reason I started using itch.io is because I wanted a place to put a web build of Javel-ein, one of my earliest games, and I must have already played a few games on itch.io by that point. Shortly after that, jams were introduced and the Flappy Jam was announced, and so I stuck around for that as well. And then never left.
It's quick and painless to set up a simple webpage for a new game, but you can also (if you're neurotic like me) spend an hour tweaking the page to look exactly how you want it to look.
Leaf (as well as everyone else who works on itch) seems to want to make the best possible platform for developers (and players), and is exceedingly friendly and approachable. I don't know if that counts as a feature, but either way it lets me segue into talking about itch.io's cut from sales and donations. The minimum cut itch.io asks for is 0%, and the default cut is 10%, which is incredibly generous.
One of my games, Sandstorm, was actually inspired by a game called Step by takorii, so I suppose I've already done this! Anyway, droqen has released a huge number of really interesting games and I would love to explore some of the ideas in them myself.
I've played a whole bunch of games for Ludum Dare 35 and the bit jam I organized, but the last game I sunk some time into was Stephen's Sausage Roll by Increpare, which I really enjoyed. I've also been playing Mini Metro a lot. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or what, but I'm starting to really like puzzle games!
Daniel's Ludum Dare 35 entry, windowframe, was voted #1 overall.
There's something about game jams and the crazy deadline which means games get finished. Instead of trying to do something the right way, or the most efficient way, I'll do it the way that works immediately. I don't know if this is a good idea in the long term!
I also love the community feel that game jams have. Even ignoring the fact that you'll be playing and rating each other's games (and getting feedback and suggestions), knowing there are dozens or hundreds of other people struggling alongside you is really encouraging. Even if you're making a game by yourself, it feels like you're all in it together.
The biggest thing I don't enjoy about game jams is the severe lack of sleep, but that is always very much my own fault!
I'm sure there are lots of good approaches to this, but what has worked for me is to figure out what aspect makes your game interesting or unique, and use that as much as possible. If you're still figuring out the details of your game, consider trying to explore that interesting or unique aspect as much as you can, and build the game around it. Obviously that's not always possible or appropriate.
If you can show off this aspect of your game visually, make use of this by posting images or (even better) animated gifs or videos on whatever social media you use, and spend some time making sure that whatever you're posting is as cool as possible. If you're posting gifs, make them loop if you can. If you're posting pixel art, check what dimensions work best (for example, twitter apparently likes widths of 506px for images and 560px for gifs).