Lessons learned while developing my first game
September was the month I decided to learn unity and give game development a try. I heard out there that Game Jams were the way to go and was lucky enough for a “Beginner’s Circle Jam” to be starting in a couple of days.
Game Jams are game development competitions where people have a theme, some rules, and a deadline to deliver a game. I participated in the “Beginners Circle Jam #3”, where we had 2 weeks to create a game from scratch (all assets should be made during the jam), following the theme “A different planet”.
I wrote the code and created the soundtrack for the game and my girlfriend did the assets. We created a game where you are a dog that needs to deliver packages in order to unlock a spaceship and return to Earth (your human misses you). One can play the game here, it’s called Delivery Doggo.
Don’t underestimate the complexity of the code
As programming in unity is script-based, that led me to underestimate the complexity things could get. What started out as being a few scripts, ended up being 27 scripts that were disorganized, contained duplication and unused code.
Decide the resolution of the pixel arts before you start making them
Since this was the first game my girlfriend and I made, we didn’t think about defining the pixel art resolution before starting to create the assets. Throughout the days, she needed to redo some pixel arts because they were not in the correct proportions, and rework is something you don’t wanna do in such a short schedule.
Planning is really important, even in a short-timed competition
At the beginning of the Jam, I implemented an upgrade system for the game. That turned out to be useless since near the end when I was adding the upgrade system to the game, the complexity of the scenes + me having no idea on how to implement a second character (new skin) made my initial code to be thrown out and a new one (much shorter) to be created.
That pattern repeated itself a couple of times and in the end, the game had bugs and unused code.
Game Jams are great for learning
After deploying the game and receiving some feedback from random internet people, I can say that the experience was not only worth it, it was awesome!
I learned a LOT about game development in just 2 weeks, not only about Unity, but also about animations, game design, level design, project planning, sound design, and more.
The indie dev community is super nice, as I received a lot of comments and constructive feedback after the game was released. They encouraged me to continue creating games and I’m looking forward to doing so.
Game development is a fun hobby and can’t wait to see what the community can come up with next! I encourage you that want to learn game development to join a game jam as well and share your experiences online. You can find game jams on itch.io and on Ludum dare.
In this article, I will recommend a Youtube channel over a book. That is because this youtube channel helped me a lot on the development of the game and so I think it needs a shout out:
Brackeys is THE youtube channel one that wants to learn Unity needs to know about. There, you can learn all the basics of the software and some intermediate/advanced stuff too. Brackeys even has tutorial series where he shows you how to create an RPG, an FPS, and 2D platformer games. I highly recommend you, that want to learn Unity to check it out.
Let me know your thoughts about this article in the comments below, feedback is highly appreciated!! If you speak Portuguese and want to see the behind the scenes on this game development, check my Youtube Channel