Jam to Product – Part 1 – Result of the Jam

It is time to start a new blog series!  This blog series will be all about taking a Game Jam entry and transforming it into an actual product and publishing it out to Windows Phone and Windows Store 8.  Our case study will be the game I built in 48 hours for Ludum Dare.  A screen shot can be found below.


Here are the parts of the series.

  1. The initial entry.
  2. Re-Architecting the game.
  3. Refining the code.
  4. Giving some Graphics Love.
  5. Adding Levels.
  6. Optimizations.

So lets dive right into the initial entry.  What did it look like, what are the features?

1.  Slow time:  During slow time, you can rotate pipes and move ladders and cannons around in the level.  You have a time limit of this.

2.  Ladders: Walking over a ladder and touching it teleports you to the top or bottom.

3.  Cannons:  Walking on one, click it, you can rotate around as soon as you let go, you fire off.

4.  Bouncy Clouds:  Slight bounciness to them.

5.  Character: IK animations, running, jumping, bouncing, slowing time.

Cool, so this looks like a good entry so far.  Why can’t we just publish this?  Well, I built it in 48 hours, this is not something that is a real product yet.  This needs to make it to a certain quality bar before we can actually push this out and make some money on it.

What is the first thing I did?  I created a project in www.visualstudio.com and checked in my code.  You can follow THESE instructions for how to do that specifically for Unity projects.  I then went through and added a bunch of bugs and features I needed to look at. 

I started by just fixing some basic bugs.

1.  FEATURE: Get rid of the hand rolled IK animation system, it is buggy.  Build a new character, and learn smooth moves.

2.  FEATURE: Ditch the double light requirement, this means the rotating my sprites around an axis should be replaced by flipping the sprite scale on the x and is blocked by the IK system rework.

3.  FEATURE: Centralize inputs and input management.  I need a strategy that is manageable.  I just slung code around and the input states are not manageable and is buggy due to objects being close to each other.

4.  FEATURE: Create a smoother input experience.  Right now the controls are buggy and not very good.  I should have thumb sticks that plop down, I should be able to do more things in slow motion because right now my character cant even change direction in this mode.

5.  BUG: Create a smoother experience with the clouds.  There are tons of places where my character is not detected to be on the ground.  How do we deal with this?

6.  BUG: The time bar doesn’t scale properly, it gets bigger and smaller in the y as well as the x.

So this is the initial state of the game.  The next article will be a high level on how I re-architected the game.  What are some of the key points that should be mentioned how did I make sure I built it for extensibility, manage ability and is built such that others can work on it simultaneously.

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