Brandon Blanker Lim-it

Self-taught programmer. Currently in love with löve. I Make my own stuffs.

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Love Jam 2019 Experiences and Lessons

Published Feb 21, 2019

WHAT’S THE JAM?


The bread alone is not sufficient for those who hunger, a jam is required.

So, with that nonsensical quotation let us jam-p pun intended to the matter. Love Jam 2019 was a success!

What’s the Love Jam 2019? Just click on your question.

The optional theme was FRICTION, and I daresay that it was indeed optional for my entry since I poorly integrated it with my game. I always thought that the main theme of the jam was love so my entry is aptly named Love to the Rescue!. Ofcourse, I also wanted to throw some references and easter eggs to the game by naming a character Command Seven and the main boss, and only enemy, Slime.

Oh by the way, here’s the link to game Love to the Rescue!. If you want the source code, here you go, go nuts with it in Github

WHAT DID I LEARN?


As I tasted the sweet strawberry jam, I fell in endless bliss.

Well, a lot of things.

That’s it. Thanks for reading!

Just kidding.

I learned two things that I really need to consider for a long time, maybe like a month or so. First, let us break some terms down:

  • Indie Game Developer - because it is your passion or hobby
  • Professional Game Developer - because it is your job
  • Professional Indie Game Developer - because it is your passion or hobby and you are paid by doing it.

I consider myself to be under the fourth category, what is that fourth category you ask? It is 70% Indie and 30% Professional Game Developer, basically, I want and enjoy making games but I also in need of income (who does not?).

For Pros, there has to be some organization and code reusability and perfection in writing codes. Since commonly they work within a team or studio and has to deal with other people’s other preference like spaces over tabs and so on. Unlike Indies who are commonly and usually doing it solo, where code looks and performance are not the leading issues and of importance. There is a lot of differences between the Pros and the Indies which I do not want to enumerate and list here for sanity’s sake.

The problem I had after publishing Going Home is that when I reflected on its codebase, it turned me into a programmer, not a game developer (you can read more about that here). So instead of making games, I tend to desire and struggle with:

  • Code looks - when other people see my code they will go WOW!
  • Project organization - every file, every everything must be categorized and ordered properly, intensively, and insanely over too much.
  • Code usage - how I use my own libraries and source files should be clean and beautiful and perfect.
  • and more

Yes, those points are not inherently bad, but those get on my way so I consider them bad and not helpful. Those points are helpful and good on the long run, i.e after a year when I look back at the code. But let us face it, the only two reasons I could possibly look back on my old game’s source code are:

  • I have to fix a bug
  • I have to update it (new version of framework that breaks compatibility)

I struggle also with the fact that my game should be like game engine-y. I always want to have those fancy visual debugger stuff like in Unity and Jonathan Blows’ Sokoban game, but the problem is, I do not have to, I just want to, which defeats the purpose of my hobby.

THE QUESTION


Ask yourself, do you want to make a game? or do you want to make a software?

I learned this during the jam, I want to make a game within 72 hours (3 days) and so I have to stop thinking about a lot of stuff like separation of classes and data, integrating dearimgui, and code looks (this is my general term of a lot of things). I want people to play my output and not my input source code.

I always remind that question to myself whenever I am coding so I won’t lose track of the goal.

THE BREAKDOWN


Eating too much jam will jam-ble the brain.

Huh? Yes.

Midway of the jam, I had a breakdown.

I lost the desire to code anymore.

I lost the energy to keep on coding.

I lost the motivation to make a game.

Now, let me clear things out, I was not physically tired since I have proper rest during the jam. Not mentally tired since we had no classes in school so I have a lot of time than I have expected and prepared for, also, I planned the game properly beforehand.

I was tired emotionally. I was in need of someone to talk to, the fact that I do not have anyone to talk to (except for my family of course, but we teenagers do not talk to them about most of the stuff) for a very long time is saddening. Where is social media when you need it, right?

To somehow get on track and to help myself during that time, I recorded myself talking to myself, like a blog or stream. I was going to include that as an overlay video to the timelapse. But in the end, I did not want to because I might become a meme or be targeted of social media bullying and so on.

Somehow, that worked, I feel good and relieved even though I am talking to myself.

I am okay now, do not worry.