About Me


I missed the 2017 GGJ, so my lust for uncomfortably long developing sections, lack of sleep and the indistinguishable sound (and smell) of hopes fading away forced me to join the 2018 edition, and it was a blast! The Rome edition has the luck to be hosted in some of the best places in the city, this time the Termini Station inside the Luiss Enlabs.
I always join jams alone, to meet new people, this time I was invited by an old friend in a team full of artists, (varying from students to veterans) and another (extremely talented) programmer, for a total of 8 people, enough to look for the stars.
The first real problem raised immediately as we couldn't find a good idea for this year theme but by the faces of the other jammers, it was clear we were not alone. By the end of the first day, we came up with an idea good enough to hide the truth, we didn't have any idea on how to implement the theme, we just liked the game we came out with and it kinda made sense, so we just started running. Actually, very few games used the theme properly, most of this jam production was only making references to it.

Here is possible to see the minimap I worked on.
What went right.

Due to the graphical potential of the team, it was clear from the beginning that it was going to be the strength of the game, the programmers (the two/three of us) tried to keep the game as easy and basic as possible to make a sense of the stream of assets coming in our direction! Somehow we aimed really high for then lowering the shot on the go, basically the complete opposite of what the unwritten "Rules of Every Game Jam" book say and it was actually the right thing to do with a team like ours.
Our game needed a map, the player would transmit his position through it, but if the enemy intercepts the transmission they would move in that direction. The concept of the map touched an exposed fetish I didn't know to have: minimaps, I felt the physical need to create the minimap. I suppose I was the only one carrying, but I immediately had so many ideas on how to implement it. Technically, it's very dirty but visually is very appealing to see. I spent so much time on it (learning Unity's shaders from zero on the go) but I think it was worth, it is in the player face half the time, a couple of fellow jammers even complimented (rightfully, all the team) for it.

What went wrong.

The team suffered from the classic jam mistake (and I was guilty of it too): the lack of sleep. Some people seem to not care about it, but the remaining mortals will fall without sleep. I knew it, I tried anyway and obviously, I fainted multiple times. Even if I wanted to work on the game, my body didn't. Probably, all the team would have saved time by sleeping and working normally.
When it comes to the game, the biggest (and fatal) problem were the plugins. If they are supposed to save time for development, they remain a tool. Tools need to be known before use, we didn't know them. We should have not used them as much as we did. Probably the lack of communication, created a problem early on, that ended up breaking the game in the final moments. We were "fixing" these plugins to ours need on the way but at the end, this unperfect card castle fell down and a dozen of things broke up unexpectedly. I never saw a game passing from a playable state to a complete mess so quickly. We found ourself too tired (as said before) and unwilling to search for bugs inside a code that we didn't write. I can't speak for myself (I'll be sold as part of next month Humble Bundle), but the other programmer was really talented: "shipping" with a broken health/damage system was kinda depressing for both of us. Needless to say, we didn't have somebody taking care of the audio, so nobody took care, luckily in the jam was hard to listen to it anyway.

more sleep,
clearer view from the beginning,
polish everything "as final" as you complete the game,
build audio on the way.

Surprisingly the game receive some recognition from the other jammers (our jam organize some fake "awards"), nobody in the team was expecting it, so much that we really thought there was a mistake, and I think that the "Unfunniness game" (second place) we achieve was not taken ironically as it should have :| . As expected instead, we got the second place as "best graphics", the game looks too AAA for a jam. The one that I really appreciated was the "Best Pretentiousness" that by my personal (and probably wrong) interpretation, is given to the one game that tried to do the hardest/strangest thing, something we should always do as indie developers..
It was one of the funniest jam I had and now I'm just looking forward to next year!
Here you can download the game in it's unperfect and final state! (Tab for the map ;)
(Tips: if you do the voices for the robots it's potentially hilarious)