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Concluding our first ever Game Jam

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So a little over a week ago the first ever GOL Game Jam came to an end and it's time to wrap things up, look at the games and naturally congratulate the winners!

The game jam saw 12 game entries, one of which was unfortunately taken down by the developer during rating phase. There were all kinds of games and just like I hoped, people were utilizing various different tools to create their own game. People also messed with various kinds of engines and as far as I know, at least one person picked up and learned to use a new game engine without any prior knowledge of that tool.

The games were ranked against each other based on graphical fidelity, stability/performance, gameplay and sound. Following is the list of games after the rating phase from the most appreciated to the least appreciated:

1. Reticle
2. Epsi Bit: Jumping Up
3. Survive The Unknown
4. black_hat
5. Godot Miami
6. Violent Settlers
7. SUPERVIRUS
8. Dark Dungeon
9. Platformer Prototype
10. Office Game
11. color assassin

Considering the quite sudden nature of the game jam and the total lack of proper organizational skills by the management (that would be me), I think we did quite well. A week is definitely a short time to create a game but, as you can see, a fair few people managed to create something for the jam and I was really surprised by the quality of some of the games created. I do recommend you give them a go, they are still available on the GOL Game Jam itch.io page.

I really hope all the participants had fun creating games. I have already heard some requests for a new jam and with this amount of success I definitely do plan to run another one in a couple of months. There are most likely going to be slight tweaks to how the next one will be handled and feedback is definitely appreciated.

Talking about feedback, I did mention that the winner would get an interview. So without further ado, let's bring in the developers of Reticle!

image

First of all, who are you and what do you do?

We are two software developpers living in Saguenay, Quebec. We are actually working in IT consultation services and applications development. Our formations include computer sciences and video games creation.

How did you come up the idea for Reticle?

It actually came in the mind of my partner, he wanted to create an aim practice game, as we just started playing Counter-Strike. Then we discussed it further to create the concept of reticle.
We had a lot of inspiration from actual arcade games, where the interactions are quick, like Geometry wars and Osu! The initial concept was much larger than the shipped product though, as time was a scarse resource. Multi-target challenges, Ordered targets, target layers, flick shots... We came up with a lot of ideas on how to make the game, then started developping.

Can you tell us a little about your process of making Reticle? What tools did you use?

The game is made using the Godot game engine, a very impressive MIT-licensed game engine that I recommend to anyone familiar with Unity. It is stable and runs really smooth and is feature packed. Although the documentation is lacking, the fact that the code is readable and accessible helps tremendously in the game creation process and I found very helpful people on their IRC. The sprite were made using GIMP and a little handywork. We started with the camera motions and user inputs, then followed up with actual gameplay: state-machines, area collisions, statistic collection, etc... Meanwhile, the visual effects and the music (HDR, bloom, particles and shatter shader) were added at the end of the process.

If you were to develop something like Reticle again, what would you do differently / improve?

As the game is still very limited, there isn't much to change, but a lot to improve. We had a learning curve with the tools that would be dampened a lot if we were to recreate the game.

Did you learn any new skills during the jam?

This was the first game jam we attempted and my game developper formation helped a lot in the process. My partner had a lot to learn, and he impressingly pulled it off. Particles, shaders, game engine, state machines, collision and 3D mathematics. It was kind of a crash course but it worked out in the end. On my end, I had a lot of fun with the voronoi shatter effects. Everytime you create something you find out new ways to deal with X or Y problems that comes up along and we were very efficient in our decision making.

What do you think about the game jam itself? How could it be improved in the future?

I think it was great to showcase Linux as a game development environment: tools are becoming very good and the end products run very well. We need more of these, without a doubt. As it is the first jam we participated, it is hard for us to really pinpoint particular improvement areas. Maybe a couple Linux games' Steam keys would be a cool reward for the future winners and runner-ups.

Do you happen to have other gaming or non-gaming projects?

Not right now, but be sure to showcase my friends at http://totemastudio.com/ They are making games go social again (read human social, not Facebook social) I'm looking forward their first release pretty soon, Game of Thumbs. Check these guys out.

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Thanks for participating and sharing your thoughts with us. Once again, do check out Reticle and the other games created during the jam. Remember to share your jam experiences in the comments and be prepared for a new game jam at some point in the future! Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I'm a Linux gamer from Finland. I like reading, long walks on the beach, dying repeatedly in roguelikes and ripping and tearing in FPS games. I also sometimes write code and sometimes that includes hobbyist game development.
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5 comments

Storminator16 9 Nov, 2015
Congrats!
c0degunner 9 Nov, 2015
Well done to all! Going to have Good play with the games later :)
WorMzy 10 Nov, 2015
As a player, I've had a lot of fun playing these games, I hope the experience has been a positive one for all the developers too. Congratulations to all the participants!
pd12 10 Nov, 2015
Congrats! Great to hear from the devs on what they thought their experience doing the game jam was like!

The end result was pretty different from the way I ranked the games, but it was great to see the participation!
I think the ranking system meant each of the different categories had equal weight, so developers should probably be let known the criteria for ranking/marking beforehand (like if your game didn't have any -even just 1- sound, that's an instant 1/5 for sound vs. 3/5 to 4/5 for 1 or 2 sounds). Personally I'd have liked to vote on an "overall" score for each game which wasn't necessarily the averages of the other categories' scores.
Nezchan 10 Nov, 2015
Great job to all you penguins!
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