This is my first game jam in a long while, and it is also the shortest one I participated in- I had three days to create a game. In this jam, the themes would be randomly generated and announced 24 hours prior to the jam. I wasn't sure I would participate if I couldn't think of a game idea in one day, but this window of time was apparently enough to create a game around the 'Defiance' theme.
Back in the Flappy Jam, I battled it out against my brother. We both delivered a game, and he won (because he had received two ratings, and I one). This time we tried battled it out again. My brother, not as skilled as I am, came short in time and only created a puzzle game featuring a dog that shoots lasers. He is still working on the game, though, so we'll see what he makes of it.
First, I started out creating more of a sandbox. It was a city. I made it somewhat lively by placing lots of different objects, creating them as I went, rather than thinking of a gameplay objective for them first. This is rather interesting- instead of creating a goal for the game first, I created the means, the toys to reach an eventual goal. It was, and maybe still is, more of a playground than a real game. This isn't a good or a bad thing, it's just something that I've never tried to achieve in a game before. It is very interesting game design by itself.
The main weapon is the graffiti spray, and after a explaining the idea to a group of kids at my school, they also coined the idea of the ability of taping the top of a graffiti bottle so that it would spray continuously until it was empty. This was added in-game as the paint bomb- in addition to the above named effect, it would also spray out a large burst of paint as as last attack. It is not a really useful weapon (not without any upgrades anyway) but it is a nice tool ('toy') to make the game more interesting.
After that, I also added in a score system. Actually, I don't know. Maybe for coloring things other than what you are supposed to color. For replayability, perhaps. Maybe as a reason to make those small, cute score pop-ups. It is an easy way to make a player feel rewarded for what he's doing, but by far not the best way. One thing I would've liked to do would be to include a online highscore list.
Also a quicky- the upgrade system. You can upgrade six different things, and each time you complete a mission it pick two upgrades (one from a set of three and another from another set of three). I initially intended to make the player choose the upgrades themselves, but I was too short in time to implement it, but I had already done some work on it and decided not to cut the feature, but to make it random. It would firstly make the game more replayable (not really needed for a jam game, but also something I hadn't tried in a game before) and would give the player a feeling of getting more powerful (that didn't really work out, a system where you hand-pick upgrades will be definitely better). The only thing I couldn't really test if the powers are well balanced- for now I've only seen the character speed boost and the bomb's final explosion range increase make a noticeable impact.
I caught some GIFs using Gyazo to post using Twitter. Normally I think of GIFs as dark magic, since capturing a good one is a hard task even using utilities GifCam and LiceCap, and getting them to upload correctly is a pain, but Gyazo captures them perfectly and uploads them immediately at no further cost. The only real downside is that GIFs can be maximally about six seconds. It is a nice replacement for Twitter's TwitPic, which takes credits for pictures you upload and has an MB limit for images.
If I would've had more time on the game, I would have made a larger city with more objects, and some sort of quick travel method by 'lending' idle vehicles, mainly to make it feel more like a city. Many of you will know what I mean when I name GTA as an example of this, but since I never played that series, I'll name Lego City Undercover as an example. I'd build different areas, such as a city or a university. Also, there needs to be a more dynamic traffic system, since the current one just lets pedestrians and cars follow a specified path. I guess those ideas will go towards the pizza delivery game I mentioned earlier.
There are lots of small details in the game. For example, hold space and you'll walk slowly, so you can walk and fully spray something at the same time. Many of the ads and traffic signs include sprites from either one of my own games or one of the other amazing indie games out there. The signposts also include a few messages, and you can show them by pressing [E] when standing close to one. The text on the signpost sprite itself also has a meaning, it's encoded in morse. The effect that the lanterns emit was inspired by this post on Joost's awesome blog, and I even went to Steam's Hardware Survey site to find out what the smallest acceptable resolution would be for the game. Lastly, the game also secretly puts out a screenshot the exact moment you finish the game, as a small token of remembrance.
After that I went out and played some other jam games! All devs out there are amazing, the host is super friendly and Jupiter Hadley has already finished recording all games (she almost plays all the games as fast as we can make them with the fifty of us!) It is now up to MadMarcel to cast the final votes. Personally I would have preferred community voting, but I guess I'll see how this works out. Until then!