GMTK 2021: Bean Guys

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GMTK 2021- Bean Guys Post mortem

This is our (The Cool Kids Gang) submission to the GMTK 2021 Game Jam! 

The theme was “Joined Together”

It is a bullet hell platformer where you assimilate with body parts to become stronger. Think of it as a Katamari + DOOM in a 2d Platformer perspective. 

The Process

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1. Creating the Team

At a bar sometime in 2019, a friend and I created a Discord group to allow Game-dev friends & peers to help one another (with feedback, support, network, etc..) Today this group goes by the name, “The Cool Kids Gang”.

A few of us are always down to jam so it was just a matter of freeing up our schedules.

2. Brainstorming & Planning

Based off of our previous Jams together, we knew the planning phase had to be done properly.

These ideas had to be concise enough to code quickly but deep enough to build upon.

We initially toyed around with RTS like gameplay where you move totems around to power up & interact with objects.

It was an ok concept at first but unknown solutions to complex problems started to arise as we dug deeper into the idea.
1. How will we code the RTS AI?
2. How will maps be generated & balanced?
3. What will the end goal of the game be?

Its best to move on from ideas rather than to brute force one that wont work for a Jam. 

Fred then brought up the idea of a puzzle platformer that utilizes body segmentation.

He was onto something.

There wasn’t much to create other than the complex puzzle levels.

Unfortunately none of us were fond of level design.. but the right idea was there.

Cake iterated on that idea by making it a survival shooter rather than a puzzle game. From there, we built upon the body segmentation idea within the shooter genre.

After a few good back and forths, we ended up with Cake’s beautiful paper prototype! (Look how cute that monstrosity is)

This was the idea we all agreed upon. From there, we started work on the first mockups.

3. Concept to prototype phase

We had mockups within the first few hours. Here are examples of them:

Fred

Jason

Viktor

Attach Limb
Shoot Pistol

Failpositive

Demo Track

Cake

4. Working as a team

A part of our team lives in EU while the other lives in NA.  So the workflow had to flow smoothly from one region to another.

We let eachother know of our schedules since most of us could not work on it 24/7. 

On the last stretch of the jam, we all managed to conjoin our work together, play test it, and ship it off before the due date!

What we've learned

I learned that its super beneficial to have somebody for sound and somebody else for music. I was way less stressed then usually and the sounds were much better that came out of the process.

“It became clear to me that splitting the workload is really important- bringing on an additional audio person to share the load with made things way easier and more fun!”

It's important to keep everyone up to speed on all things and the scope and goal of the game. Somethings can get lost in translation if it isn't super clear when it's a team of many people in different time zones

Jason: Jamming is all about getting the vision of the game as fleshed out as possible. Allocate time for playtesting & do not waste time on the minute details.

I feel like what I learned this jam opposed to the last few years is to have a strong core concept with clear systems and to keep it simple. Games always tend to become more complex as they get made, which is troubling enough when you have such a short time period

Final thoughts

I’m thankful to be given the opportunity to jam with such awesome dudes. and am stoked for next year’s jam!


That about does it for this post-mortem for GMTK 2021. 


Thank you for reading, I hope this inspired or helped you in anyway! -j


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jasontomlee

jasontomlee

I'm a Game-Dev specializing in 2D VFX & Animation. I wish to simplify the learning process & help creatives learn new skills through LearnIndie.

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