A look back at my Molyjam 2012 NYC experience

Manny eventually suggested a one problem per room (ie: level) solution and that helped put everything in focus and helped get us to a complete state a lot faster than we were going up to that point. This helped me as a designer/leader to keep things like that in mind and may not have come out in a much more protracted development cycle.

Talk/write out your ideas, even if not many people are listening: By the kick off of the MolyJam I knew the concept that I wanted to work on. I knew it to my very core. But it wasn’t until I started talking to a sound designer about the idea and he started asking important questions like, “And how will that play out?” that I started to really flesh out my ideas. I started answering him off the cuff, because this was a jam, a place where failure is perfectly acceptable. My ideas just flowed, and got better and better the more I spoke to people about them.

In the end I didn’t work with most of the people I shared my ideas with, but just explaining it to people got it out of my head and into reality where it could thrive and grow. Discussion of ideas is a very important part of the process, even if you don’t take everyone’s advice.

Don’t be afraid to throw shit away: There was a time where GEC had 3 random endings that could play, and you’d have to get the right items/make the right decisions to get to that specific ending. There was another time where the story was more ambiguous and you could turn out to be the murderer based on your behavior (The Suffering, much?). There was a time where actions could create extra paths that could be taken, and there were many questions about how to implement more elaborate ways “play” the game.

But as the weekend marched on and our vision became more focused, we kept cutting features and ending trains of thought that were keeping us gridlocked in “Not gonna finish it” hell. In any game jam time is of the essence, and you really need to know how to utilize every last minute. Even going in attempting to be lean on ideas, I still managed to bloat the games scope beyond what our resource and man power limited team could pull off, so I just had to cut whenever it seemed like that feature just wouldn’t get done, or just felt auxiliary to the core experience.

I even started a way more in depth ending cinematic that I started drawing in Sketchbook Pro, until I realized I had spent close to an hour on only one frame. I had to throw out my obsessively cinematic ideas and really get to the heart of what my ending should look like.