November 21, 2018
After every jam my head is buzzing, I feel disoriented as I finally pick up my head after a few straight days of work, and I’m excited and nervous for how it will be recieved by the community. As the fog settles from the weekend, it’s helpful to reflect on the process to find what went well and what mistakes could be avoided in the future.
I’m mostly writing this for myself (hi, self!), but I’m hoping that by sharing it some other jammers might find something useful in it.
This was my second entry into Mini Jam, a jam that takes place every other week from Thursday night until Sunday night for a total of 72 hours, and my fourth game jam entry overall. I teamed up with gtibo, and this is my first experience working on a team for a jam.
Working with a partner changes the dynamic of a game jam entry a lot.
Overall, I’m really glad that we teamed up. I learned a ton in the process, and the end result was much more polished than any of my previous solo entries.
The biggest challenge for a weekend jam is working on the right things in the amount of time that you have. This is always the case, ambitions outgrow what can be done, but there were very simple things that I could have done to plan better.
I wasted too much time setting up a webpack build process - something I’m used to needing to do for the web developement work I do for my day job, but is really uneccessary for a jam and I think it ended up getting in our way. I should have taken a more practical & flexible approach.
We completely omitted a huge piece of the game because we just didn’t give it any priority: audio. With some planning, I could have spent an hour or two looking for free assets that would have easily fit into our game.
Collaboration and planning were my biggest takeaways as I look back on the weekend, but there were a lot of other things I learned in the process.
It’s been another really fulfilling jam, and I got what I wanted out of it: to learn more about the process of making games. I’ve played every entry from the jam and it’s so cool to see the novel ideas and the effort that went into every one of them. I look forward to learning even more in the next one.
Lenny Sirivong is a full stack web developer and game maker.