Between the 9th and 16th August 2019 I took part in the Godot Wild Jam #12. Let’s go through what it was like, and the things I learned this time.
My game, MatchUp is a fairly simple match-the-coloured-blocks game. It’s not a match-3, because the game doesn’t care how you match the tiles, and each level has a different number of tiles that need matching. Think of it as a mix between those “Same Game” block games and ZooKeeper on the DS.
With this game, I was trying to create something fun, with lots of visual interest. The previous games I’ve made haven’t had much fancyness or design to them. I also actually playtested this game, and spent quite a while tweaking the gameplay to make it feel more fun to play.
So what did I learn?
A week is a long time
There’s plenty of time to design and test a game, and to make it look and place nicely. There’s no need to rush!
Using tools saves time.
I was using Godot, which has a large userbase and people have made many many tutorials for it. When I got stuck I could just go and read or follow some, rather than having to spend hours of my own time figuring out problems from first principles.
Cutting things because they’re broken and will take too long to fix is a good strategy
This was a big deal. Mouse dragging was buggy and the bugs were annoying when playing the game, so I ripped out the mouse controls entirely and replaced them with keyboard controls. Fixed all the control issues and made the game more fun, too!
The first two or three ideas I had were rubbish, but by trying to make them I understood why they were rubbish.
Not everything can be planned from the start
I didn’t quite know what I was making, but “sliding block puzzle game” was the general direction. Once I had that basic mechanic working, I was free to experiment and find something that worked.
Don’t clone games, but do be inspired by mechanics
Nobody wants another match-3 puzzle game, and there really doesn’t need to be yet another “Same Game” out there. But the general mechanics are fun, and it doesn’t take much to mash things together into a new idea.