Slime Jammers - Retrospective (GBJam 9)
Music: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube
Game jam: Entries
My third outing into the world of game jams was for the GBJam 9 that's all about making games that are true to the GameBoy aesthetic and controls. This one was specifically the "original" GameBoy - the brick! Being a lover of the GameBoy Colour and Advance line of Nintendo's handheld consoles, I couldn't say no in getting involved with a project inspired by one of my favourite handhelds.
After going through the jams on Itch, I found the Discord server that I initially reached out on to find an individual or group to team up with for the duration. I received a couple of messages fairly quickly, showing that the pitches that I do are to the point and succinct enough to get attention and interest! I usually lay out specific styles that I do predominantly to help keep the scope down on my end.
When it comes to jams like these, I prefer to work on a first-come, first-served basis to keep things fair for all involved. If a project does fall through, then I'll open things back up again for other potential game jam hopefuls to use what's already been created and anything new that I might compose.
I ended up working in a team of four - two for programming, one for concept art and myself for the compositional aspects. The genre and technology was established fairly quickly. A top-down racing game in a similar vein to that of Kirby Air Ride for the Nintendo GameCube and Unity being the choice of game engine.
Things begun well with some proactivity from all sides and progress made early on the art and programming. I had a little bit of a late start but caught up with some early tracks and getting the title screen music completed.
The work started to peter out the further into the jam we got but I was always trying to be as positive as possible with the other team members and celebrate any wins we had along the way with work on the controls, weapons and enemy AI. I tried my best to reassure the team that it was health, sustinance and sleep first as always!
Inexperience is always expected as it's some people's first time delving into the world of game jams or experience with a particular engine or game mechanic. I never got impatient with any of the team and tried to keep spirits up!
When it comes to game jams in general, I always feel that real life and health should always come first. Unfortunately, this was a case where my team had a lot of other obligations such as school and chores. Time zones also have a habit of getting in the way when some people are halfway across the globe but that's fine! You don't want to restric what you work on just because it's morning for one person and the afternoon for the other. It just means that responses can take longer than expected.
Ultimately, the game in its current state wasn't submitted for judging so unfortunately we couldn't bring anything together in time. Sometimes that's how things go and I don't expect all of the teams I join to be plain sailing each time. While I'm always hoping for a team that I can get a credit on to help slowly build that portfolio up, all is not lost and it's always experience gained for myself.
While I've composed GameBoy styled soundtracks in the past, this was the first time that I've tried to compose music specifically for a racing game and I found it rather difficult to get an idea in my head of the pacing and transitions throughout each song.
I think I nailed the feel of the title theme and the "Track Start" brief jingle was a little callback to what you'd hear from something from the earlier Mario Kart games.
Where I lost my way a little was the "City Stadium" track. I don't think this song has any real coherence throughout, even though it's a rather short loop. I focused far too much on the idea of a crowd and supporters cheering in a city landscape but musically, it was rather average. Every album has to have a weak song in it or, at the very least, a song that isn't their favourite!
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the outcome from such a short period of time.
The project didn't turn out like I'd hoped but that doesn't mean my time was wasted. It was another opportunity to talk with other creative individuals and work on my communication and relationship-building further.
Next for me will be attempting to join a team for the MechJam II! The VimJam2 retrospective will be coming soon as the judging period is longer than I expected, with the results being released on October 4th.Tagged as: retrospective
Published on: Wednesday 29 September, 2021