Global Game Jam 2020 was my first game jam where I went to find a team. Previously I had always gone with people I knew or solo'd it. This jam was run by Kylie as part of signal and was the best organised one I had been to. There were mentors on hand and the start was well structured. Everyone was in groups to ideate on ideas. People then pitched ideas to the whole group that they were keen to work on then groups formed. Fellow developer Tate was keen to make a game about building robots out of scrap which sounded like an interesting challenge. Adam and Daisy were keen to make a Mars rover game so we all got together. After thinking about how the ideas could be combined we decided to make a rover game where you needed to build it out of parts.

It ended up splitting really nicely between the four roles. Daisy smashed out all of the art. It is great having an artist for this type of game because you can get exactly what you need rather than hunting for assets. Tate took on the inventory and building and I decided to do the 2D traversing physics for the roving. Adam had only done a small amount of programming so I gave him the Phaser Examples website to find something we could adapt into 'doing science'.

The game ended up in three parts that looped. First you would construct your rover out of parts. Then you would need to traverse a generated 2D landscape until you found some ice. Finally you would need to drill the ice to get science points. This would loop until you had enough science points or hit a failure state. We had the main constraint as battery usage. Adding extra wheels to make traversing easier meant that it ate more battery. You could also add science machines to get more points for your drilling. Adding batteries and solar panels helped with your energy usage but made the rover harder to drive. As you used parts they became damaged for future runs so you also needed to manage your inventory.

The site was cool and had a great vibe. It was also amazing to have home cooked meals instead of the normal junk food filled weekend. In the mornings we had a wee Scrum to make sure we were on track to finish and the timeline ended up being pretty relaxed with everyone in good spirits. Our team even got interviewed by the local paper. The art gave the game so much personality and all the different ending screens are just wonderful. I was really impressed with how well Adam did. He created a whole mini game with Tate and I helping occasionally when he got stuck. At the end his family came to play and he proudly showed his son what he had created. It was great to be part of the team, get the game finished and have a low stress weekend.

Lessons Learnt

You can adapt the game around peoples skills so everyone has a good time.
Having an artist gives lots of flexibility.