Vampire Jam: My First Jam ‘The Spooktacular Vampire Thief’
Lorcan here, while it’s still fresh I just wanted to do a write up about taking part in my first jam.
Until this point I have spent the last few months working on my second commercial game since leaving Farnham University after being a part time graduate teaching assistant for a year.
I entered two days in on April 3rd, so not wanting to waste any time I jumped right into unity for prototyping.
Given the nature of a gamejam I knew I wanted something puzzle based, with a mechanical focus. What cool vampire-themed mechanics could I base the level on? This is what I came up with;
- 1. I wanted something which gave you free movement around the scene, but with clear caveats. This is my ‘Bloodmist’. Something easy to control, that can get you past locked doors and broken down walls silently. The limitation being you can’t take anything with you.
- 2. Turning into a bat, you can fly and hide in small spaces, neat. You can also sneak into hard to reach places, but you can’t interact with anything.
Day 1&2 Designing the Level:
Wanting to ensure I could make something playable for the deadline on sunday I kept it so, so simple:
- Only easy to implement puzzles, locked doors and keys.
- Basic pick and drop inventory.
- Dumb, sentry level AI
- Simple objective - to collect and move the object to the end of the level.
By keeping this so doable within the timeframe, it also made sure I had plenty of time for art and menus, writing, screenshots etc. and by the end of day two I had the core game playable.
Day 3&4 Lightmaps, Polish And Sound:
By day four I got the dumb sentries working, art, sound, menu and tutorial prompts implemented. With one whole day left before the deadline I decided I could even add a second level to the game!
Day 4 Level 2:
In one day I was able to add in a second puzzle by using what I had built up over the Jam so far and double the length of the game.
Day 5 Final Stretch:
In the last 24 hours I only did basic changes to give the game that little bit extra polish and glamour.
- Added basic post-processing effects.
- Double checked the mouse and keyboard controls(Could have done more in hindsight...)
- Final check of the lighting, contrast and tutorial prompts
- Made a scene for the main menu, plus adding the bat model and sound to make a good intro.
All final touches to make it seem professional, tweaking audio and particle effects, while still being sure to leave a good half the day for a decent write up and image production for all the PR to help it stand out and make a good first impression. It’s something I learnt looking at the difference between this and my Uni games is dedicating that extra bit of time to the presentation of your game. A clean menu, three or four good screenshots and a proper write up really helped raise the level of what I was doing and getting people interested.
I really enjoyed doing this Jam, and, alongside my second release, I plan to do more of them to help me build up my skills. This has been the first time I've gotten to see how other people play my games which is something I haven’t had up till now. Knowing how people solve the puzzles, finding out about funny glitches and even seeing someone doing a speedrun has been a highlight of the year so far.
If you’re interested you can play my game here (and rate it!); https://itch.io/jam/vampire-jam/rate/402009
And please have a look at my website and twitter if you’re interested to see more of my work;
And follow me on twitter for more updates;
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