Indie game storeFree gamesFun gamesHorror games
Game developmentAssetsComics
SalesBundles
Jobs

evoelise

98
Posts
13
Topics
1
Followers
A member registered Aug 11, 2017 · View creator page →

Creator of

Recent community posts

You can sign-up for the survey without a team and then use these forums and the IGDA Discord to find team members. Once you find team-mates, just sign-up again for a mentor through the form. 

OK that's great. We have done this. 

Is it possible to join alone via the Survey but then be placed with others that joined alone into a team to work together with a mentor for the actual Jam?

If so how do we go about achieving this?

(1 edit)

OK as a demo or a first attempt at a game. 

Would be nice to have some animation on the sprites (wheels turning for example) and some sound would be good. 

There is a development log that I found with the game install but there's nothing in there really that shows the brief is met of this being a family developed game. 

What We Set Out to Achieve

The main aim on this GameJam for us was to get my son Jack some experience with coding in C++.

I also wanted a refresh on my C++ skills having not used it in anger for a while.

We also wanted to learn the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) developmemt libraries. This is a low level library that we wanted to use having used Unit before and having felt constrained by it a bit.


What Worked Well

Getting Jack Experience in C++

Jack picked up C++ very surprisingly quickly, much quick than I had expected as C++ is a hard language to learn. Jack pretty much worked it out for himself after I gave him a 30 minute talk about C++, memory, pointers, buffer overflows, memory management etc.

Most of all Jack really enjoyed it all. 

Using and Learning SDL

This was a win, it's a great library - one of the best things you can say about an API is that it works the way you expect it to. 

Very happy with this and we will use it again next time. 

Before the Game Jam we spent two days and completed Lazy Foo's SDL tutorials http://lazyfoo.net/tutorials/SDL/ and this helped a lot.

Also the SDL tutorials on YouTube by Ather Omar were helpful https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhJr2LOK-xwxQlevIZ97ZABLw72Eu9he7

We learnt to "calculate" the level design, economy, timings and reward vs risk up front (in Excel) before adding it to the game (in our previous game we added this to the game and tried to tweak it after the fact - a bad mistake).

Subversion and Tortoise

Again and with previous Game Jams these were the stars and allowed us to work on the same files of code at the same time. Of 152 check-ins, probably 50 required a merge of Jack and my code changes – only occasionally did the auto-merge fail and even then Tortoise’s conflict resolution tool made short work of it. 

JIRA

We were obsessive about using JIRA for everything – no “Remember to add X later” conversations or notes. Everything we had to do, change, fix, improve etc had a JIRA ticket raised for it. 

It meant we forgot nothing and had solid goals to aim for. 

I use this at work but it was so useful on previous GameJams that I forked out for a personal copy.

Excel

We learn this in our first Game Jam that Excel is a great tool for level design. It can plan out the levels, story line, track difficulty and the game economy. We have since learnt that many developers use Excel in the same way. 

Nullsoft Installation Scripts
I tried a few other tools to try and make the installation package but came back to NSIS. It can be a little complicated but it just works. 

What Didn’t Work

Not much really, all seemed to fall into place.

One issue of our own making was the we based the geometry of the game with 0 degrees facing down and +ve degrees turning anti-clockwise as most things in the game move down the screen. But the SDL bases rotation on 0 degrees facing up and +ve degrees turning clockwise. This difference caused us a few bugs and puzzlements - missiles flying sideways for example. We won't make that mistake again.

Lessons Learned

There's Never Enough Time

As before the 5 days deadline on the Jam was both a blessing and a curse. It put a lot of pressure on us on one hand – on the other it made sure we got things done. We enforced a 8am to 4pm work day and broke that most days - mainly because we were having fun. 

By day 2 I thought we would run out of time, but by end of day 3 and on day 4 we were well ahead of schedule we struggled to get the story line all completed and in the game on day 5. 

The level design, story-telling, layout part, although not as technical as the core mechanics and game programming is always a slog to get done and to test. Need to remember to leave enough time for this next time. 
 

Tools We Used

SDLv2 - for the game engine.
Visual Studio 2017 - for writing the and unit testing
JIRA - for bug/issue/task tracking and Kanban boards
Subversion - for version control
TortoiseSVN – GUI front end to Subversion
Notepad++ - for additional editing
Microsoft Word - for design documents and producing focus group & play testing questionnaires
Microsoft Excel – for level design.


Websites We Used

Stack Exchange – indispensable for any programmer
FreeSounds.com – for sound assets
Itch.io – of course

Conclusion

Whilst it was tough, pretty exhausting and a lot of work we both really enjoyed it. We will to do another when I can arrange more time off work.
SDL v2 was great to use and I can see a lot more we can do with it, we'd like to use it again.

We are really pleased with the game, it is by far the best game we've built in the 3 game jams we have done. 

And Finally, Things I’m Really Proud Of

I’m really proud of Jack, he picked up C++ coding faster than I though anyone could, I put him under a lot of pressure to learn new stuff and develop a game. He had to put a lot of work into the level design on the last day.  He did really well. 

In the end, everyone in family was involved in producing the game, so thanks to them all.

Please don't forget that this game jam will also vote on the development log (devlog) for your games.  You can  provide a a DevLog in the game jam forums or attached as a dev log to your game page; this doesn't have to be long or detailed but just shows what everyone has been doing, Just a paragraph each day would be fine.

I have changed the game jam to allow submissions after the voting period starts to allow for dev logs to be submitted after the game is. 

Read the dev log here https://evoelise.itch.io/sector-104/devlog/107816/sector-104-devlog

The dev log for this game can be found here https://evoelise.itch.io/sector-104/devlog/107816/sector-104-devlog

Development Log for Sector-104 : Final Day 5

The final day and a final push to get the game completed and submitted. 

We had four of us working on the game today, whilst Jack was implementing the story board in the game. I was fixing bugs and tweaking the way the game played plus adding a couple of other nice to haves - and also building the installer.

We were taking snap shots, sections of the game have having these tested by Fred our son that's also a fast fingered arcade fiend to test the game parts and giving us feedback - the game is possible (at least sections we tested are) but you won't complete it first go, you'll need to learn how best to defeat certain sections. You also need to converse ammo and fuel to survive - aim carefully, make every shot count.  

Mum was testing the game and also proof-reading the story for us and co-ordinating everyone.      

The game is pretty much complete, we could maybe have extended the story to make the game a bit longer, there's also one annoying bug we couldn't work out, but fortunately most players may see this unintentional behaviour as intended, I leave the player to work out what that is :)

This was our third game jam and it's by far the best end game of the three, so we're quite proud of it. We certainly met out aims of the project, Jack learnt C++, picking it up far quicker than I expected, I brushed up on my C++ and we both learnt to use the SDL game libraries; these we will definitely be using again for another Game Jam.

I will do a wash up of the project over the weekend; what worked well, what didn't, what we did well, what we did poorly, things we would do again and things we would change.


After 5 days of pair programming:

Development Log for Sector-104 : Day 4

We had a change of plans on day 4 realising that we couldn't really implement the story fully until all the game code was fully complete. So Jack and I spent all day completing the games features and ironing out bugs in the code. Jack has coded up all the enemy code and I did most of the game code. Jack also got music and sound effects in to the game. So the game is now feature complete but still only about a minute long.

So Friday we have to complete the story board, implement that in the game, play-test and tune it. This doesn't sound like much but this may be difficult to do in a day. One thing we know from our previous two game jams we have done is that the game pacing and difficulty level is critical to the playability of the game - we need to get this correct. As Jack is the game design this falls to him to do. I will be creating the game installer and also helping play test the game. Unfortunately we've lost out main play tester, Fred, as he's going for a sleepover at a friends.  

As with a previous game jam we will use Excel to plan out the story board and have an Excel macro export C++ code we can plug into the game. 

The title screen:


Development Log for Sector-104 : Day 3

Again Jack and I spent most of the day coding, the game is now playable but currently only 30 seconds long. 

We've met our goal just about of getting the game pretty much there by the end of today. We also managed to get our story player into the game today ahead of time. With that done Jack can implement the story and level designs tomorrow. There are still a few things to complete in the game and I will be doing those tomorrow. Tom and Seth have also been making some tweaks to the sprites today too. 

This leaves Friday for tuning and also to create the game installer. 

We're both really liking SDL it just seems to work with no issues.  

We've got the music track in the game now too - so we'll be sick to death of that by Friday evening. 

Finally feeling like we're actually going to finish this game in time. 


(1 edit)

Development Log for Sector-104 : Day 2

Jack and I spent most of the day coding, the core of the game is now there, we can move, we can shoot, we can blow up enemies. We're invulnerable at the moment but that will be implemented tomorrow. 

Tom and Seth have been doing more sprite work, refining the sprites already done and creating new space station sprites. 

Whilst we have a lot done the amount of work still to do is a bit daunting. We pretty much need to get *all* the rest of the game mechanics completed tomorrow so on Thursday we can implement the level design, leaving Friday for tuning. 

C++ coding is now coming back to me and I'm about 80% up to speed, Jack has also been picking it up quickly for beginner in the language. SDL has proven very nice and easy to use, it works pretty much as you expect to it, its intuitive which is always a good thing for an API.

The scary Kanban board, it goes off my screen - so much still to do... 


Development Log for Sector-104 : Day 1

We started off the day with Jack and I discussing the main points of the game design and making sure we both kept the game simple to develop but had enough in to make it interesting.

After that we produced a couple of rough mock ups of the game display to have an idea what we were doing. 

I then started coding the core engine bits, trying to remember all my C++ (find it's not like riding a bike and you do forget bits) and checking the SDL docs and tutorials every 5 seconds. Meanwhile Jack started story-boarding the game and fleshing out the details enough to get a list of images and sprites we needed.

We then got Tom and Seth involved, discussing the game and the style of feel of the game we wanted and provided them with an initial list of art work we needed from them - mostly sprites.


For the rest of the day Jack help supervise the art work and they got all needed sprite work done but this will need some refinement tomorrow after seeing the sprites in the game. We need to remove the outline as it looks weird against the black background of space, also we need to make details on the sprites more “blocky” to make them stand out better.

Jack also worked on a rough plan for the levels of the game, a game story (if we get time for that) and did some maths on the quantities and supply etc for the management of the in-game resources.

I spend the rest of the day completing the core game engine in C++ and SDL and Jack started to get involved with coding this too at the end of the day.

Tomorrow Jack and I will need to tune the game engine and really nail that down and get the core of the game working and Tom and Seth will be refining the sprites.  

(1 edit)

Development Log for Sector-104 : Introduction 

The aim of our game jam is for Jack, my son, and myself to learn the SDL game libraries https://www.libsdl.org, for Jack to learn C++ and for myself to refresh myself with C++ (I haven't used it for real for nearly 10 years now). Jack is currently in sixth form but wants to be a games designer. Also for two of my other sons both want to be artists when they grow up to learn some sprite design. 

Our team consists of our whole family; Mum, Dad and 4 boys. 

I (Dad) will mainly be coding.
Jack, will be doing the game design and level layout as well as coding with me.
Tom and Seth will be doing the graphics, mainly sprites and learning Aseprite. Both will also be doing a small amount of coding.
Fred will be the main games tester and quality control.
Mum will be project manager, games testing and catering :)

We plan to do quite a simple game as we are using SDL for the first time; it will be a kind of space shooter (like Galaxians or Defender) with some resource management built in if we have time. Jack and I have spend the last two days learning about SDL with the great tutorials by Lazy Foo' found here https://lazyfoo.net/tutorials/SDL/index.php.

For tools we will be using:

  •  SDL v2.0 Game Library
  •  Visual Studio 2019 Community Edition for C++
  •  Aseprite for sprite creation
  •  Subversion and TortoiseSVN for version control (VC highly recommended when coding as a team)
  •  JIRA for project management (to make sure we don't forget things)
  •  Excel for level design 

Yes, this is my bad - I should have advertised this some more so we got more participants involved - also I should have created the Jam much sooner. That's something I will try and do next time.  As far as the start time goes, I chose these times as it is half-term school holidays in my area of the UK and it's the only time my boys can do this. So, sorry, your idea to delay the start is good but we can't delay it this occasion. 

Nice to hear - good luck with the game!

Hi all,

Welcome to the Family Game Jam. We done a couple of jams before and each time family has gone involved, so I thought it would be a good idea to make this a theme.

The aim is that you all have fun and hopefully learn something along the way. 

Please try to keep the work everyone does to a sensible limit, there's no point having "crunches" and getting stressed out over this. 

I've never hosted a jam before so I'm open to suggestions. If you have any questions please just ask!

Good Luck All.

Evoelise

Looks like this game was completed for a previous jam - not something written for this jam just re-entered for this jam.

You might want to remove the notice that says "THE GAME IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT " on the game page now the game is ready.

I will give it  a try.

The initial slowness of the printer can be kind of frustrating but it seems like that's the point. 

Yes kind of - one of the goals of the game is to make it print faster. But I can see that this detracts from the staring experience and could turn player off from the game.

Thanks for the review

(2 edits)

Thanks for the review.

You can get the printer going really fast by the top level upgrade for printer speed, it starts at 15 seconds to print and you can get it up to 1 second printing. 

I know what you mean about the printer click - it's a real printer sample they make that sound - but that click is chopped off at for the higher printer speed levels so higher printer speeds are more pleasant on the ears.

But as you have seen you can't go all in on printer speed upgrades as if you do you will start running out of paper and toner, so you have to balance those too. And to prevent running out of toner and paper, oil and wood upgrades are needed too. 

I think you are correct though we could have done a better job of balancing and also eased the user in a bit better.

As a first attempt at a Unity game it's fine. Might be worth adding more "game" next time?

Cool game & nice idea. I was rubbish at it. 

It does what it says - simulates reading social media. 

You might have missed a trick here, it would have been cool if there was a story told in amongst all the social media posting to keep interest. 

Made me laugh at least - brings back some painful memories as a computer tech...

Strange game?

Love the idea of this. 100% fits the Game Jam.

Loved the graphics and the aesthetics of the game, it looks great.  I found the game play really hard even on the easiest level but maybe that is just me. 

For first attempt at a Unity Game that's fine. Keep it up!

For best results play it at night, with the lights off and headphones on. 

Errrr.... either I don't understand it or  it doesn't work or it does work and that's deep!

(1 edit)

So you are telling us that you are simulating this:

The Entire Internet

This is the internet? The whole internet? Yep.

Cool game. Is it a useless simulation? Pizza delivery useless, it's an essential service if you ask me!

I hate spikes in games - I always land on them. Really good fun to turn the tables.

Clever and original idea. 

It's a game, a simulation and it works. Nice job.

Nice game. Love the bosses comments. Good job!