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lolcorner

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Thanks to everyone who played Project Magellan, voted for us, or left a comment! This was our first Game Jam and we convinced ourselves that we don't stand a chance against this fantastic competition. It really speaks for LibGDX and it's community, that there are so many quality entries on the first #libGDXJam.

Thank you all ❀

@David Thanks! You are right about the FTL influence ;)
After some time enemies should start to attack you and your planets, there is even an end-boss to fight if you play long enough. But, you're right, some more urgency from the start wouldn't have hurt.

Tip: You start at the bottom left of the universe, the enemies homeworld is on the opposit corner.

(Edited 2 times)

Post-mortem for Project Magellan, winner of libGDX Jam 2015/16

Introduction

Our team consists of 3 individuals. There is Kilian, who provided all of the graphical assets for the game - be sure to check out his stuff at wilde-grafik.com! Then there's Felix who did programming and designed the awesome UI - he also did most of the animations. Lastly there's me, Tobias, I also programmed and wrote most of the dialog. Felix and I own a web agency, so if you ever need some web stuff going, head to dieschittigs.de ;)

We all are really into video games and started countless game projects over the past years - but never, ever finished a single one. For about a year now I'm developing my first real game in libGDX and kinda infected Felix with how awesome it is and that he totally should also realize his ideas in libGDX. When we heard about #libGDXJam, we where on fire.

We will make a game - a real, fully realized, video game - in just a month.

Eagerly we awaited the theme voting. β€œLife in space" - kinda meh, but we'll take it. Let's do this!

What went good

Concept, mood and vision

We had a pretty clear idea about what kind of game we'd like to create. We took some inspiration from Faster Than Light, but we wanted it to be more open and about ressource management and populating planets. It should be turn-based and kinda relaxed to play, but also a bit eerie, as you head alone and without real direction into the darkness. I think we achieved most of these goals with Project Magellan.

I'm also happy with the story and its conclusion. Admittedly it is very clicheΓ© and the twist at the end is well … not really a twist, but I'd like to imagine that at least one person wondered β€œWho or what is SAATOO?".

Teamwork

We, as a team, where really good at dropping features before they became a problem. We dropped pirates, neutral parties, trading routes, a third enemy class and so on. I think not doing so is the biggest mistake you can make when programming a game, or any kind of software. Imagine drawing a picture. Would you simply draw all the things you think about on it? Probably not and even if you tried, the picture frame limits your creativity to certain bounds. You'll have to think about what will fit into the frame. When developing a game, there are no bounds. You can fire up your IDE and start programming anything you can imagine, but then you'll probably never finish it. You have to set up a picture frame in your head: What is my motive - or in other words - what are my core gameplay elements I absolutely must get into this thing? There are still wortwhile features that may be added, but stop and think before you implement every idea you come across. Feature creep kills motivation very, very quickly.

Also - and this is a big one - we had an artist. Most indie developers have to come up with their own art (often with fantastic results, don't get me wrong), but the sheer fact that we had someone who would replace ugly placeholders with consistent, beatiful art, makes the whole process just more rapid. I'm really curious as to why there only is a relatively small number of artists participating in game jams…

Gameplay (most of it)

Navigating the star map just fills me with joy, and I love the drones. Did you know that you can pack multiple subroutines into a drone? A single drone can scout, mine and fight, or follow your ship and repair. You can even load drones back into your ship and reuse them. Anyway, most of the gameplay elements work pretty good. I'll talk about the other ones in the, well, not-so-good section.

Graphics

Just look at them :) Kili did an outstanding job hand-crafting all of the assets and giving each faction an unique look.

Music

One of the assets we could not make on our own was music, luckily I stumbled upon this reddit post from the great Mark Sparling, who gave a bunch of nice music away for free.

What went not so good

Gameplay (some of it)

We all agree that the battle system is very, very simplistic and just not very rewarding. Also we are not happy with how clumsily it feels to populate a planet or setup a drone. At least this stuff could have been explained a bit better.

The HTML-Build

I'm sure a lot more people would have played the game if I would have been able to make it work, but I just wasn't satisfied with how the build turned out.

Building an audience

We tried our best on Twitter and by somewhat maintaining the Dev Blog, but I feel we could have done a lot more in these regards.

In conclusion

We had a blast developing Project Magellan! It was so cool to see what others are doing with the theme and to get a feeling for the libGDX community. I want to meet all of you guys IRL. We where also positively surprised by the kindness in the comments and overall quality of discussion. On this note, I feel really bad for not leaving comments on other games - sorry about that.

We are very grateful for having been picked as the winner of the first libGDX Jam! We'd like to thank Mario for organizing the jam and for libGDX, of course. Also thanks to Robotality and RoboVM for their sponsorship!

What now?

Kilian, Felix and I have decided to continue developing Project Magellan. Right now we are planning a release for iOS and Android and maybe a version for Steam later on. We will do this as MOON HOOK which will be our studio name for Project Magellan and the other games we are working on.

Thanks and cheers,
saibotd aka lolcorner