#canada150game – “The Great Canadian Game Jam” Post-Mortem

Happy Canada Day!

The last six months have been busy, but fun. It’s the first time I took a major role in co-organizing a local game jam, aiming to bring the country together in celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. It finished on July 1, and while I’m proud of it, it’s also clear that some major things went wrong, and lessons were learned.

canada150_businesscard_v02

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“True King” Development – Strategy Map Implementation

Deadlines are important for developers. Yes, we all hate deadlines, and professionally I keep seeing ridiculously unrealistic ones from customers who don’t know the difference between software and a operating system. It leads to bad quality: my games in particular could have benefited greatly by an extra few months of waiting and thinking. But it also gives a goal and motivation, something that it difficult for indie developers to find.

In past years, I relied on public events to showcase my game and spread the word. I’d work day and night up until a deadline to make a short demo and video to submit with an application, and would continue working several hours each day up until the event to improve what I’d be showing, even making last-minute modifications in the hotel room the night before. So when a deadline was announced for March for an event I was eyeing, I realized I hadn’t even enough of a game to showcase: only walking around worked, and a huge portion (the turn-based strategy bits) was never implemented. So, I got to work…

Working Prototype of Tactical Strategy Gameplay Map

Working Prototype of Tactical Strategy Gameplay Map

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“True King” Development – If A Tree Falls In A Forest…

I hoped I would be finished with trees sooner rather than later for “True King,” but as I continued to place trees by hand, I realized my frame rate for this large open world was dropping bad before I had placed all of the forest. I noticed that the scene had a few million polygons, which is a big no-no (some sources online claim to target under 1 million polygons in Unity3D to avoid bad performance on most hardware). So I had to fix it…

Trees don't need high-polygons...

Trees don’t need high-polygons…

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