GMC Jam Discussion The Classic GMC Jam 32 - 8 year anniversary

Discussion in 'GMC Jam' started by GameDevDan, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. ghandpivot

    ghandpivot Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    261
    Haha, I did appreciate the idea of the game right from creating my first path. It nails the theme and has a perfect scope for a jam - totally doable and perfect for cutting corners everywhere. A lot of people just make something that could never be finished for a jam and put in as much content they have time for, yours was a good idea from the start, even if you ended up not polishing it enough.

    And yes, first time on every game. It wasnt rocket science even though I didn't quite befriend the path colors or the path removal. It felt like some ants just got lost in the void if you messed up and didn't connect your path back to the hill.
     
  2. Relic

    Relic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2017
    Posts:
    719
    Yes, you did mention something about the lost ants being "good for scouting" which was my intention - already cleaning this game up so that non-looping paths are destroyed and looping paths are assigned to an ant hill - not just 1 of 8 colours on the left panel, making it easier to remove. Thanks for taking the time to do videos - so much info can be taken from someones first attempt at a game and your suggestions for improvement were very insightful.

    I actually went out and photographed real terrain and ants over the weekend - going to use the photos to power the graphics.Might be interesting art style for nature lovers more than RTS lovers.
     
  3. GameDevDan

    GameDevDan Get Gyro Boss DX Moderator GMC Elder

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2016
    Posts:
    194
    I think you're right I misread their post!

    If that is the idea it sounds worse to me though... some people do play all the games and choose only to rate the top few because they find it hard to order the bottom bunch. If their vote counted for next-to-nothing because they didn't want to put the rest in order then they might either A. not vote at all, or B. vote for the rest of the entries entirely at random.
     
    O.Stogden likes this.
  4. ghandpivot

    ghandpivot Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    261
    @Rob
    Cheers for playing!
    I totally agree that you should be able to skip watching the balls land, it's a bit too slow to be honest.
    Oh, and once you've hit the building the camera doesn't pan back to the trebuchet automatically (I couldn't build a system that detects if every instance has stopped moving), that's why there's a big arrow indicating that you should pan back manually once you want to fire again. Great to have a video playthrough, that way I can see how the arrow clearly wasn't enough, which is reasonable considering there's no explanation to why it's there.

    I'll throw together an updated version with less downtime and port it to android when I have an hour or two to spare :)
     
  5. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    Ehh I might have made a mistake with the format of my second video. I just cut down the gameplay to a minute or so and added commentary at the end. I can always send you the full gameplay if you want to see it though.
     
  6. GameDevDan

    GameDevDan Get Gyro Boss DX Moderator GMC Elder

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2016
    Posts:
    194
    Only Six Days left to vote, and there really aren't that many finished voting posts yet! Please if you have time over the next few days (the weekend's coming up) get your votes in :)
     
  7. The M

    The M Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    285
    I've 20 games left at the moment, but reviews are coming. I don't have as much time this time around so I won't necessarily play every entry all the way to the end. I'll still give each a fair shot through. :)
     
  8. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    I thought I'd try a different approach to reviewing for the 2nd part. I still played all of the games for around 5-10 minutes, if it was possible to do so, and I cut down the game play to show the different parts of the game (and also cut out the parts of me speaking whilst playing). I then have some commentary at the end of the game play to voice my thoughts.

    If any Jam-game creators want to see the full game play footage for their game, let me know.

    Apologies for the sometimes-poor voice quality, I don't know why some of the reviews sounded better/worse than others... time for a new headset!

    ▶ 00:00 - Island of Risk by Matharoo
    ▶ 01:05 - My Righteous Conquest by SamSam
    ▶ 02:16 - The Empire by TinyGameLabs
    ▶ 03:30 - The Imperialist by Azure Knight
    ▶ 04:27 - These Planets Are Mine by Baukerg
    ▶ 06:08 - Apocalypse Chronicles - The Horsemen Clash Over Hearts by Alice & Siolfor the Jackal
    ▶ 07:20 - Super Mana Force by Jordan Robinson & Anokolisa
    ▶ 08:30 - Banana Toss by Toque
    ▶ 10:41 - PONTATOT CONQUEST OF DA MOON by dadio
    ▶ 11:01 - Spirit of the Forest by elijahmmin
    ▶ 11:54 - Pixle Cleaner's Pixel Conquest
    ▶ 12:58 - Axem Conquest by TheMiningBoyAlpha
    ▶ 14:03 - Kingdom Conquest by Braydee Johnson
    ▶ 15:30 - Sci Dominion by Niziowns & Purul3nt
    ▶ 16:32 - Professor Heinous by HayManMarc
    ▶ 17:59 - Chroma Crown by JacobV
    ▶ 19:20 - Stellar Destiny by Dr. Wolf
    ▶ 22:04 - Goating UP by iBlackpen
    ▶ 22:58 - Britskrieg by Allison James
    ▶ 24:49 - Oh Canada by Silas the Dev
    ▶ 25:47 - Conquest of the Olympus by Super Pancratio
    ▶ 27:03 - The Conquest of Castlecrest by Caoin Forde
    ▶ 27:57 - CardQuest by VagrantWhaleGames
    ▶ 31:19 - Bow Before the Queen by The M
    ▶ 33:00 - Simple VIllage Conquest by Mikeey Bikeey and Nacky Slockey
    ▶ 34:13 - King of the Ant Hill by Relic
    ▶ 36:10 - Tank-You by Evan Malinowski
    ▶ 38:01 - I'd Move Mountains by Lt. Farfetch'd


    I scored entries based on FUN, THEME, CONCEPT, PRESENTATION, AND STORY from 0 to 10 points (although only 1 "game" managed to score 0 in anything).

    FUN and THEME were worth double when scoring for the top 3 places.

    If there was a tie for the "Best of's" then the game with the highest combined score got the place.


    ======================================================================


    1st Place - The Empire by TinyGameLabs

    Score - 55/70 - Excellent theme, presentation and concept and fun (high scores in all 3)

    2nd Place - ALPS by GameDevDan

    Score - 53/70 - Excellent theme, presentation and concept and fun (high scores in all 3)

    3rd Place - Victory by CardinalCoder64

    Score - 51/70 - Excellent theme, presentation and concept and fun (high scores in all 3)

    Best Ofs
    Best use of theme: The Empire by TinyGameLabs
    Best concept: These Planets Are Mine by Baukerg
    Best presentation: The Empire by TinyGameLabs
    Best devlog: NA / Unscored


    ======================================================================


    Full Ranking (Place / Game + Author(s) / Score)


    1. The Empire by TinyGameLabs - 55/70
    2. ALPS by GameDevDan - 53/70
    3. Victory by CardinalCoder64 - 51/70
    4. These Planets Are Mine by Baukerg - 50/70
    5. Island of Risk by Matharoo - 48/70
    6. CardQuest by VagrantWhaleGames - 47/70
    7. I'd Move Mountains by Lt. Farfetch'd - 45/70
    8. King of the Ant Hill by Relic - 44/70
    9. Click to Conquer by 2Dspessman - 42/70
    10. Britskrieg by Allison James - 41/70


    11. Banana Toss by Toque - 39/70
    12. Kingdom Conquest by Braydee Johnson - 37/70
    13. Bow Before the Queen by The M - 37/70
    14. Conquest Royale - Booty of Treasure Island by Misty - 35/70
    15. Super Mana Force by Jordan Robinson & Anokolisa - 35/70
    16. Simple VIllage Conquest by Mikeey Bikeey and Nacky Slockey - 33/70
    17. Conquest of Lem by Dengar - 31/70
    18. The Imperialist by Azure Knight - 31/70
    19. Professor Heinous by HayManMarc - 30/70
    20. Stellar Destiny by Dr. Wolf - 30/70
    21. My Righteous Conquest by SamSam - 29/70
    22. Spirit of the Forest by elijahmmin - 29/70
    23. Axem Conquest by TheMiningBoyAlpha - 29/70
    24. Spirit Walker by Bingdom - 28/70
    25. Apocalypse Chronicles - The Horsemen Clash Over Hearts by Alice & Siolfor the Jackal - 27/70
    26. Everything is better with a Trebuchet by Ghandipivot - 26/70
    27. Mini Civilizations by Lukan - 26/70
    28. Tank-You by Evan Malinowski - 26/70
    29. Conquer the Treasure by Apapappa Games - 24/70
    30. Goating UP by iBlackpen - 23/70
    31. Conquest of the Olympus by Super Pancratio - 23/70
    32. Sci Dominion by Niziowns & Purul3nt - 20/70
    33. The Conquest of Castlecrest by Caoin Forde - 20/70
    34. Oh Canada by Silas the Dev - 19/70
    35. Pixle Cleaner's Pixel Conquest - 14/70
    36. Chroma Crown by JacobV - 6/70
    37. PONTATOT CONQUEST OF DA MOON by dadio 1/70

    @ghandpivot I think I realised that I could of moved the camera manually after I said that I didn't want to wait for the balls to finish. I felt dumb, haha.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
    The M, HayManMarc and Relic like this.
  9. Apapappa

    Apapappa Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2016
    Posts:
    144
    My votes/reviews are now done:
    https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php?threads/the-classic-gmc-jam-32-voting-topic.60078/#post-364685



    I also want to give some more info about my game and decisions:

    I had no intention of joining the jam at first, it was more of split second decision.

    That is one reason why I didn't follow the theme very well and the other reason is that I wanted to stick to something I supposedly know how to make.

    Basically, the reason I joined was - I wanted to try and make a *full* game as fast as possible.

    So yeah, the game was actually made in around 16h 52m and I started on day 2 of the jam.

    I tried to do everything from scratch but I had to look up two things:
    How the grass swaying physics worked, I tried doing it at first but didn't turn out correctly so I looked it up from my main project.
    Can't remember the second thing right now but I know there was two things.

    There are a lot of things I would do differently if I wasn't in a rush but all in all it turned out pretty good for the time spent.

    The decision for controls were just the ones I always use for platformers.
    The reason for using "a,s,d,f" instead of "z,x,c,v" is just that if feels better for me.
    Feels more like FPS game controls and I don't have to move my hand down since it's basically always at "asdf".
    But if I worked more on a game it would have custom control binding and all that stuff, so this would not be an issue in a normal scenario.
    Also, a comment on spacebar for jump - I hate the spacebar, even in fps games.
    I guess I'm just weird like that. :p

    Anyway, just wanted to give some more info for anyone who might be interested.



    I will try to make a big post later replying to everyones reviews/comments of my game aswell.
     
    Rob and Siolfor the Jackal like this.
  10. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    758
    My confusion with your control scheme was that the pick up and throw buttons could have been the same button.
    Glad you joined, your game was fun and I'd play more.
     
    Apapappa likes this.
  11. Apapappa

    Apapappa Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2016
    Posts:
    144
    Yeah, this falls into the category of things I'd do differently, and thanks. ;)
     
    Siolfor the Jackal likes this.
  12. Bingdom

    Bingdom Googledom

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Posts:
    1,678
    I don't know if that was directed at me or not, but I can assure you; everything was made within the jam's timeframe. You can even check my devlog.

    It seems I'm being rated poorly due to the fact people are having trouble identifying where the theme comes to play.

    I didn't want to have a simple approach to it. I wanted to be more creative. I wanted my game to have more meaning.

    A lot of people seem to explain it as "you just conquer their hearts". This is false.

    The game is about a supernatural species, on a conquest to conquer other people's mental illnesses/ fears/ problems (I suppose it would've made more sense if the NPCs were human). Of course, overcoming problems isn't as easy as a hug... But it's the really tiny things that make a big difference (which is what the intro was trying to get at).

    I am genuinely surprised no one picked up on this, and I'm upset people just brushed it off as "conquering their hearts", missed the message, and found the theme correlation weak...
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
    HayManMarc likes this.
  13. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    I tried to score fairly, whether I liked the style of the game and how "conquesty" the game felt.

    You have to admit that the game was on the fringes of "conquest" at best.

    Also, whether a games intro/readme explained the backstory or not, if I didn't feel like I was "conquesting" while playing then my score reflected that.

    If you wanted to make a platformer for this theme, doing something like Actraiser would have gotten a higher score from me because in Actraiser, you are actually conquering territory but you do it in the platformer section.

    The acual points I gave you were as follows: (out of 10)

    FUN 4
    THEME 2
    CONCEPT 4
    PRESENTATION 9
    STORY 4 (This was top 5 for Story, I guess I scored everybody very low on it)

    FUN and THEME were worth double points (so 8 for FUN and 4 for THEME)

    The FUN would of been higher if the control scheme suited me better. In the unedited gameplay I actually laughed and said "is this game made for 1-handed people... I guess I can just drink my brew whilst playing".

    I also died a lot, which is OK but when I got to the point where I had to drop down into the unknown darkness and find out where the spikes were, I'd had enough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
    Toque likes this.
  14. Relic

    Relic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2017
    Posts:
    719
    Part of the issue is that language is both fluid, yet precise and subjective based on background/culture etc. I would never use the sentence “I’m on a conquest to conquer mental illness” - rather “I’m dedicated to overcoming mental illness” (one of many examples). Trying to use the word “conquest” as a synonym that makes the phrase sound clunky and out of place is a stretch of the theme in my opinion and not a connection that I would make without you telling me.

    I think your game’s theme/story was beautiful and the first jam game that made me feel anything other than happy (fun game) or frustrated (bad game). For what it’s worth, I did understand your theme after the first hug about alcohol addiction, just was not “conquest” to me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    Toque and Rob like this.
  15. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    It seems like I was wrong about at least 2 of the platformer so I assume I was wrong about the other ones too (I said I felt like they'd just been submitted so people would play them).

    I think it was down to me not understanding the games theme / theme being poor and being in a bad mood from marathon playing 27 games.
     
  16. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    758
    That's why I spread my playing out across most of the time limit ;)
     
  17. Toque

    Toque Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2017
    Posts:
    1,047
    The hug was probably the most decent thing I’ve seen in a video game.

    I have to agree the word conquest is actually kind of a funny word. Many ideas I tried using it in a sentence and it didn’t make sense. “Food conquest” “Animal conquest”. “Defeat the conquester”. That’s the fun of the challenge.

    “Conquest of mental illness” is not a phrase that makes sense in Canada. More accurately Just something we would never say. So it never crossed my mind.

    Not a failing of you or your game.

    I did understand that the player was helping people. Loved it.

    My game I knew only a few people would get. If you have never played these hand held games it doesn’t make sense. It’s a strange stiff pre determined mechanic. But I liked the idea even with the understanding that half the voters might not get it. That’s okay.

    It’s all fun.
     
  18. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    I wouldn't have completed the reviews if I did that due to other commitments unfortunately, :( It was all or nothing and I'd already done 9 so I thought I should make the effort to finish.
     
  19. 11clock

    11clock Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    Posts:
    180
    I finished the remake for my GMC Jam #7 (old forums) game Spectrum. Feel free to take a look and provide feedback!

    https://11clock.itch.io/spectrum

    The levels are largely the same, with a few tweaked and the last level replaced entirely by a little surprise. This is for the most part a much more polished version of the original game.

    I will see if I can join the next jam if I am not busy (or lazy).
     
  20. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    758
    Yeah, making time can be difficult. I just find and make small windows to play when I can.
     
  21. HayManMarc

    HayManMarc Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    908
    My votes and reviews are done! Woot!! (link)
     
    Siolfor the Jackal and Toque like this.
  22. Toque

    Toque Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2017
    Posts:
    1,047
    I come from a world of mobile. Engine, games, design, users, Mac, all mobile.

    I come here to a world of dominatly windows, desktop, rpg games.

    Not a lot of love in the forums for mobile so I was (surprised) happy the jam community didn’t hate mobile style games.

    Looking forward to making better games in the future jams. Might take another year or two to get efficient in GML but that’s fine.
     
    dadio likes this.
  23. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    734
    Actually, I did appreciate the Game & Watch style you were aiming for, and in general it didn't feel like a "mobile game" in a sense of a game that one would see on smartphones. The game was also keyboard-based, so controls wouldn't be a problem.

    If there's anything I'd dislike a game being mobile-like for, it's heavily touch/drag based control scheme. In particular, heavy use of swipes, gestures etc. where mouse would suffice; also, not making use of mouse hovering where it would be applicable. Another thing I'd dislike a game being-mobile like for would be ads and microtransactions, but thankfully it seems Jammers have no time for that.
     
  24. ghandpivot

    ghandpivot Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    261
    I'm fairly certain there is no profanity in the game, except maybe calling the toilet "the shítter", if that's what you are referring to.

    Correct, the throwing of the stone can be done in 31 different ways (1 for each image of the sprite), and most of the time you'll throw between image 11-15, meaning that there are only a few ways it will fly. Then it's up to the player to walk sideways to compensate for always shooting too low by a certain amount, but I don't think that's something that comes naturally, one prefers to try to shoot better instead.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    HayManMarc likes this.
  25. Dr. Wolf

    Dr. Wolf Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2017
    Posts:
    69
    I haven't written up my formal review of your game yet, but I remember finding it nicely nostalgic. I was a big fan of Tiger when I was younger-- had a whole bunch of their standalone games, and even got a Game.com instead of a GameBoy (which I still think could have found a niche for itself, if it had had some support worth mentioning from third-party developers and games, first- and third-party, in its library that actually played to its strengths instead of its weaknesses, but I digress).

    I don't know that this is necessarily a "world of dominantly windows, desktop...games." My impression is that, if you trace back the influences and inspirations of the things most people here make and play, you'll more often than not find yourself looking at console and handheld-console games, especially ones from Japanese developers, within a few generations of back-tracking. Influence coming from desktop sources seems to be less common, and continuity with the tradition of desktop Indie gaming, as it developed from the earliest days of personal computing through the mid-2000s, seems almost nonexistent. I don't know exactly how far down the list of common influences standalone handhelds might be, but with the Nintendo connection, it might not be nearly as far down as one might suspect.
     
    Rob and Toque like this.
  26. Toque

    Toque Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2017
    Posts:
    1,047
    I think that’s pretty accurate.

    My thoughts were observations not compliants for anyone that might think differently.

    My logic was I don’t have skills to make a complicated game. If I can deliver 30 seconds of nastalgia and one smile I’m pretty happy. Personal victory. In the mobile world 30 seconds of play is huge.
     
  27. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    Like I told you in PM, man - you've come a long way and I think you're a better gamemaker than I am. It was a good idea to design the game that way and I'd completely forgotten about those old 1-game handheld devices. It seems like the reviewers are placing you around 10th place so you can pat yourself on the back for that.
     
  28. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    734
    I've been thinking about how reviewers seem to treat the use of theme category, and I feel like there are some tendencies which might have undesirable results - rewarding the most straightforward use of theme at the expense of games that try less conventional approach, which in turn promotes less variety. Not saying that these tendencies are Very Wrong™ and that reviewers should absolutely never do that, but rather I want to point out some things to think about.

    Reviewing the theme as its specific (usually most obvious) definition, rather than as a word/phrase itself.

    The thing is, the theme is "CONQUEST", not "conquest /ˈkɒŋkwɛst/ - the subjugation and assumption of control of a place or people by military force". This also means that people brainstorming for theme-specific ideas might use some different definitions (e.g. "the successful ascent of a mountain, especially one not previously climbed") which are also perfectly valid.

    If reviewers score these alternate approaches lower because they don't match the typical definitions, then the problem of theme use becomes less of "what I can do given this theme" and more of "what reviewers will consider to be the right use of theme". Which kinda kills creativity.

    It doesn't mean that all approaches should be treated equally - if I Google "conquer the treasure" and on the top of page I get results like "Conquer Online - Desert Treasure" (without quotes) or the Jam game itself (with quotes), then it feels like the title itself was mainly made to include CONQUEST in the title somewhere. On the other hand, if I Google "conquer mountain" and I get over 40 millions results with results like "20 Quotes About Mountains That Will Make You Want To Conquer Them", then I can assume it may not be as popular as, say, military conquest, but it's also not out of ordinary to put "conquest" and "mountain" together.

    Also, please note that I don't refer to situations where someone simply doesn't recognise the use of theme - sometimes author's interpretation of theme just goes over the reviewer's head. I mean the cases when the reviewer is aware of the intended use of theme, but considers it lesser to the more typical approach despite the alternative also being valid and non-generic.

    Focusing on gameplay mechanics when considering the theme

    This one is a little bit trickier. I can totally see where people are coming from when they say things along the lines of "theme should be conveyed through the gameplay, not backstory". After all, quite often the theme is used by slapping the variation of theme word/phrase somewhere in the title or in the backstory, and there isn't much beside that. Proper use by gameplay, on the other hand, is pretty much the most tangible form of theme there can be. These aren't the only possibilities, though - sometimes theme can influence the general aesthetics, in-game dialogue etc. For example, if theme was "EMPATHY", then "Spirit Walker" as it is would very much fit the theme; replace people with keys while keeping the mechanics fundamentally the same, and suddenly the game doesn't match it at all.

    With that in mind, I'd rather suggest a broader measure of theme - how ingrained it is in the game. Or, to look at it from some other angle - how much the game would change if it was rid of all parts related to the theme.

    In some cases, it just takes removing a fairly insignificant gamestory bit without changing anything in the in-game part; in others, it would require rewriting 90% of the dialogue and replacing half the graphics. Sometimes, it's as simple as commenting out a gameplay gimmick that doesn't even need to be used to complete the game; other times, it's woven so deeply that if it doesn't require changing the genre, it needs at least a reworked level design and different kinds of challenges.

    --------------------

    When it comes to me, I generally try to answer questions like:
    • Is this game about *insert theme here*, under any common definition?
    • Does the game try to justify the theme by some awkward phrasing that's practically not in use outside of the Jam? If I searched for some key terms related to the specific use of theme ("conquest risk", "conquest mountain", "conquest apocalypse", "love conquers all" etc,) would I get some relevant results?
    • As mentioned above - how much the game would change if it was rid of theme uses? Does the game - its mechanics, aesthetics, story, etc. - seem like it originated from the theme, or is it rather a game of author's preferred genre with the theme tacked on?
    • How generic is this specific use of theme (the less, the better)? How many pre-existing games would end up implementing this take on theme without even intending it? For example, Super Meat Boy would easily fit into OVERCOME ALL ODDS as a struggle, but not OVERCOME ALL ODDS as gambling.
    • Does it stack varying interpretations of the theme?
    • How many other Jam games used this take on theme? The fewer the better - assuming the theme use is valid in the first place - on a ground that more unusual take on the theme takes more brainstorming. Plus, most obvious takes usually end up with lots of samey games (in this case - strategy games), and I prefer when Jam games are varied.

    You might agree with this approach or use your own, but I think those are some good questions to ask when reviewing the theme.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  29. Toque

    Toque Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2017
    Posts:
    1,047
    I think it’s a worthy discussion.

    I’ve put some thought about the comments made.

    I think you can throw as much logic as you want at this but in my opinion games are art.

    Individuals will interpret art in different ways pending culture, language and social constructs. Everyone is going to see things a bit differently.
     
  30. Relic

    Relic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2017
    Posts:
    719
    Both points, @Alice and @Toque have merit. Your suggested ways to question the theme inclusion will give me something deeper to consider next Jam Alice as I think these are great ways to approach it. How important ingraining the theme is an individual reviewers choice and subject to the reviewers context too as Toque suggests

    In the end I just hope to get back some critical feedback - both what was good but what was not. Which is why I put the time in to provide it to others.
     
  31. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    758
    I think part of it is also some sort of proof that the game was made during the jam timeframe too. I know we're all on a bit of an honour system when it comes to this, but some games are so complete and impressive, it can be difficult to believe they were made in the same time frame. So seeing the theme being represented in some intrinsic or deep way (like Alice suggests in her post) gives me a little less doubt about a game.
    I know the theme is optional, but it seems a bit boring otherwise, and it's nice when all the games are made with the theme, some sort of unifying thing between them all.
     
    Relic and Toque like this.
  32. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    734
    Thanks for the feedback, people. I also agree that ultimately, it all boils down to reviewer's choice; I just wanted to throw in some things to consider.

    Siolfor also raised a good point about the game being in Jam timeframe. Or maybe not as much the proof the game was made during the Jam, but rather the fact that it has been designed around the theme, not attached to it. In other words, it's not like "I like this genre so I'll make a game of this genre and include the theme in the backstory", but instead it's like "I have this theme and this general concept, and this kind of genre would fit this concept".

    For example, having "conquering the mountain" as a starting point, come up with a puzzle mechanic based around careful climbing and clever use of gravity and, especially near the end, have clearly vertical level design. I'm pretty sure it went that way round, rather than "I have this mechanic lying around and it conveniently goes well with mountain climbing theme". On its own, this kind of abstract game mechanic and level design maybe wouldn't be easily connected to the theme (without the graphics providing the context, for example), but it's one of the pieces that emphasises it.

    (by now it should be pretty obvious which game I ranked for the best use of theme, but I digress)

    Also, after some thinking I decided to add another question to the bunch:
    "How generic is this specific use of theme (the less, the better)? How many pre-existing games would end up implementing this take on theme without even intending it? For example, Super Meat Boy would easily fit into OVERCOME ALL ODDS as a struggle, but not OVERCOME ALL ODDS as gambling."
     
    Siolfor the Jackal likes this.
  33. ghandpivot

    ghandpivot Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    261
    I updated my game and fixed most of the things that people have disliked, such as having to watch the stones roll. When you no longer have to watch the stones, my avarage playthrough went from 10-15 stones to 40-50, so that's interesting. I also ported the game to Android, it can be downloaded here :)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  34. dadio

    dadio Potato Overlord Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2016
    Posts:
    218
    Yeah I agree with your main Theme point there Alice.
    I touched on exactly this earlier on when the Theme was revealed...
    and tbh, I was disappointed (from what I've played so far at least) by how restrictively interpreted the Theme was.
    I was really hoping a few people would latch onto "climbing a mountain" (great , wide open Theme use imo!) and "love qonquest/visual novel" of sorts".

    But I think the issue is exactly as you went into in more detail...
    sad fact is, I think if you had 3 games of equal quality in this Jam like this:
    1. Military conquest
    2. Getting to the top of a mountain
    3. Love conquests
    The military one would get a higher place - simply by virtue of the fact that it interpreted the Theme in the most commonly used / well recognised way - which is a sucky thing.
    I think this is even more true in a situation (like here) where many entrants 1st language might not be English.
    Possibly quite a few entrants would only ever have been exposed to conquest in a miltary context (or never at all and want to use the most commonly used defintion.)
    And I think entrants know / suspect that the most commonly used defintion will net them a higher placing...
    so.... yeah, it's tricky.
     
    Lt. Farfetch'd likes this.
  35. O.Stogden

    O.Stogden Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2018
    Posts:
    201
    I just made a military game as it's the most interesting to me.

    I'm not particularly imaginative or creative, so coming up with a story for a "love conquest" would be difficult for me in 72 hours.

    I like how games such as I'd Move Mountains implemented the theme, but that's not something I have an interest in making.

    I don't know whether people chose military to "game" the system, or just chose military because it requires the least thought and planning and is a straight-forward implementation. That was how my choice went anyhow.

    If people really care that much that they're going to put thought into how others will interpret their game and make a game they don't particularly want to make in order to earn more points, then that's just a little sad for them, I made what I wanted to make, definitely others in this jam chose to make whatever game they wished, which is why some didn't fit the theme very well. My votes were most based on the games I enjoyed the most, rather than on games that I thought fit the theme the most, which is probably reflected in my rankings.

    In my mind the theme is more there to prevent people starting the jam early, rather than a strict rule. Probably not what it's there for, but that's the purpose it serves in my head. Some games I'm not convinced were made in the 72 hours, some quite openly state that a lot of the work was done before the jam began, and in those cases I did adjust my rankings as I felt that was slightly unfair.
     
  36. Toque

    Toque Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2017
    Posts:
    1,047
    Has there been more specific themes in the past???

    Like “pizza delivery” or “green” or “stars” ?

    Creative use of theme deserve high marks in my opinion because it’s creatively difficult. But again this is interpretation. One might see creative another might see didn’t follow the theme.

    Art too. Should there be one jam all art must be made in jam time frame?

    When I watch videos of global game jam games. Lots of neat games. The games seem very rough with simple art. Very basic. And some of them are made by teams. Still rough. But they look like they were made in the 24 hours.

    But it’s fun to see what people come up with. Even with all the flaws.

    I think following the theme is more important than how polished the game is. After reflecting on it.

    But more restrictions could mean less participation. Maybe “ I can’t do art so I’m not doing it if that’s the rules” . But I would say “ if you can draw a box or circle or stick man you can do game art”


    Or are expectations so high that a “primitive game” would be dismissed?
    Is the soul of game maker jams the most polished completed complex game the best? Just a question what the goal is. Not me to decide.

    I might have to re evaluate next jam how I judge games.
     
  37. dadio

    dadio Potato Overlord Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2016
    Posts:
    218
    I think the main goal / spirit of this Jam has always been to just use the Theme as a springboard to try to make something "fun" within the timeframe, and give constructive feedback to people.
    I don't think most people want or expect polished art...
    and I'd like to think most people value originality and gameplay over visuals...
    and personally I'd much rather a game with Paint scribble art, but with great gameplay and/or a unique hook / mechanic...
    over a game with dull gamplay, no innovation, but super polished art.

    I think looking back over Jam entries over the years...
    sound and music are often the most overlooked element (all too often people leave it too late to even include much (or even any) decent sound fx and music...
    and it's something that can really elevate a game, or give it a unique feel / mood.

    At the end of the day tho, gameplay is king.
    And the general trend across the Jam results is that games with the best (often unique feeling) gameplay tend to rise to the top.
     
  38. Misty

    Misty Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Posts:
    1,024
    i agree. Themes these days are too vague. I want a solid theme like pizza or something so people can't just cheat jams. To me its also the fun factor. Solid themes are more fun in my opinion. Otherwise its like an avante garde free for all where people put everything up to interpretation.
     
    Alice likes this.
  39. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    734
    ...you know, earlier I'd think PIZZA would be way too specific, but at this point I kinda wouldn't mind it. A mobile-like game where you try to slice pizza evenly (I'm pretty sure I've seen something like that already), a pizzeria time management game, a platformer with pizza-themed protagonist and/or monsters, an adventure game where you try to gather the ingredients for pizza (not unlike the Bacon Soda entry from the previous Jam), an arcade game where you try to collect as many toppings as possible but must avoid pineapples* and so on. For a seemingly overly specific theme, it has surprisingly many gameplay concepts going with it.

    A good thing about themes like PIZZA is that they don't have a no-brainer gameplay mechanic associated with them, so there could be a reasonable variety to the entries overall. The risk is that people might fall back to the most familiar genres instead which would result in lots of... platformers, perhaps? Still, it seems this theme gives quite a lot of conceptual freedom while leaving little room for definition ambiguity.

    (now I totally want to see @JacobV successfully pull off a dark and heavy game in a pizza-themed Jam)

    *I actually eat pizza with pineapple toppings sometimes.
     
    Siolfor the Jackal and Misty like this.
  40. HayManMarc

    HayManMarc Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    908
    I think it's funny how there are so many comments in these discussions about "another platformer game" when many platformer games end up ranking high in most jams. The genre one chooses to use doesn't determine how well the game will do. How easy was it to learn the game? How neat or interesting were the game mechanics? Nice graphics take time and should very much be considered as adding to the experience, just like music and sounds as dadio mentioned. Is the game finished? A neat concept is nice, but a finished game will rate better. So, it doesn't matter if the game is a platformer, top-down shooter, RPG, 3D FPS, block-moving puzzle, or a card game... If it is an all-around well made game from start to finish that's enjoyable to play, it will do well in the rankings.

    Of course, not everyone has the same taste for games. People will always rank things differently.

    I think trying to restrict genres by theme (or any other means) imposes a burdensome restriction to many and is ultimately unnecessary.

    In my eyes, this jam is about using GM to make any game you want, with a tie to the theme. The stronger the theme connection, the better. The most complete game and player experience, the better. I've also enjoyed how open and inclusive this jam has been over the years, which is a nod to the community and the jam hosts as well as the fundamental rules of the jam.

    I don't think anything needs changing, I think we need to just relax and keep enjoying making and playing each others attempts, ideas, concepts, and full game experiences.

    I think PIZZA is a great theme. Just like I thought "pancakes" and "trains" were good themes. These provide a solid base to build upon in any direction. You need to be careful with artsy-fartsy themes like "tranquility" and "facade". They sound like they would be neat themes at first, but can be pretty difficult when ideas don't just spring to mind. "Reflection" would make for a nice artsy-fartsy theme as there are many ways to take it.

    Anyhow, there's my long-winded rambling of thoughts, FWIW. Cheers!
     
    dadio and Toque like this.
  41. Toque

    Toque Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2017
    Posts:
    1,047
    Has there ever been a very specific jam theme like pizza? Like pancakes or trains? We’re those actual jams? Cool.

    Just curious. I’m too new to suggest any changes.

    I’m happy to just play along.......
     
  42. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    734
    PANCAKES was the theme of the very first Jam, back in the old GMC boards.

    TRAINS wasn't a theme per se, but one Jam the theme was EVOLUTION, and handicap was along the lines of "A train must appear in the game and affect the gameplay in some way". In practice, the trains handicap kinda overshadowed the EVOLUTION theme, especially since the latter was often interpreted generically as levelling-up and such (the character is progressing/developing, therefore they EVOLVE).
     
    TehPilot likes this.
  43. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    758
    I'm a bit conflicted sometimes when it comes to judging ranking games based on art and music.
    When my games have art and music, It's almost always made for the jam by me. Apart from two early jams where I used some randomly generated music, all of my games that had any music I wrote that music during the jams. And similarly, I think one early jam I used some free art assets(had even less time than usual) but apart from that all the art I do myself as well(as bad as it can be).
    This jam was the first time I did no coding though.
    So I'll get back to my point which is I realise that most of us here are just coders, and may not have any real skills in creating art or music. But games are a package and that package includes art and music, so I feel like sometimes I want to reward people who can do all 3 things(or at least a team that can) over people who use free assets in whatever amount.
    But then I sometimes feel that is a little unfair and start to try and judge their choices of borrowed assets, how well the were chosen and how well they all fit together because that seems like a bit of a skill in and of itself.
    So I don't know what to do sometimes, rewarding one group sort of feels like punishing the other amd I don't know how to balance it.
     
  44. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    758
    I'm almost done with my votes. It's tough, I keep changing my mind about some games and changing my ranks. And then there are a couple games I just keep playing because fun.
     
  45. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    In regards to reviewers having the wrong view on theme - here are my theme scores for all the entries:

    10 The Empire by TinyGameLabs
    10 Island of Risk by Matharoo
    9 CardQuest by VagrantWhaleGames
    8 ALPS by GameDevDan
    8 Victory by CardinalCoder64
    8 These Planets Are Mine by Baukerg
    8 King of the Ant Hill by Relic
    8 Britskrieg by Allison James
    8 Stellar Destiny by Dr. Wolf
    7 I'd Move Mountains by Lt. Farfetch'd
    7 Click to Conquer by 2Dspessman
    7 Kingdom Conquest by Braydee Johnson
    7 Mini Civilizations by Lukan
    6 Bow Before the Queen by The M
    6 Simple VIllage Conquest by Mikeey Bikeey and Nacky Slockey
    6 Conquest of Lem by Dengar
    6 Professor Heinous by HayManMarc
    6 Axem Conquest by TheMiningBoyAlpha
    5 Banana Toss by Toque
    5 Spirit of the Forest by elijahmmin
    5 Tank-You by Evan Malinowski
    4 Super Mana Force by Jordan Robinson & Anokolisa
    4 My Righteous Conquest by SamSam
    4 Apocalypse Chronicles - The Horsemen Clash Over Hearts by Alice & Siolfor the Jackal
    4 Goating UP by iBlackpen
    4 Sci Dominion by Niziowns & Purul3nt
    3 Conquest Royale - Booty of Treasure Island by Misty
    3 The Imperialist by Azure Knight
    3 Everything is better with a Trebuchet bs Ghandipivot
    2 Spirit Walker by Bingdom
    2 Conquer the Treasure by Apapappa Games
    2 Conquest of the Olympus by Super Pancratio
    2 The Conquest of Castlecrest by Caoin Forde
    2 Oh Canada by Silas the Dev
    1 Pixle Cleaner's Pixel Conquest
    0 Chroma Crown by JacobV
    0 PONTATOT CONQUEST OF DA MOON by dadio

    As you can see, the games that I felt like I was "Conquering" things usually got a higher score in theme, but there are some games that you wouldn't normally associate with "CONQUEST" that also scored highly.

    Looking back at the scores there could be some leeway for a point added or taken away and that's down to several things but overall, to me, the "THEME" in a game needs to be the core of the game, with everything else surrounding it.

    Theme also isn't the Be all and End all of a jam game to me. If the Conquest was a little weak but the Concept was strong, that would pull the game up in my opinion (and that's how I scored it).

    You could have a weak theme score but a strong concept score and that would prop you up a bit.

    Putting the theme into the story and not the gameplay is a mistake for a jam game. I'm not a jam veteran and I can see how people want to try and think outside the box but I think sometimes you do more harm than good to your games.

    If I were to make a game that involved platforming to the theme of conquest I might do this:
    • A map with "zones" to click on - this is what I'm "CONQUERING"
    • Every zone is a different platformer level with maybe a boss at the end (I would probably end up with only 1 boss in a 3-day jam)
    • I might have small cutscenes after/before each level to give some backstory / character interaction
    This would (hopefully) cover Theme, Concept and Story, with Presentation / Fun being fairly obvious.

    The theme would be at the core of the game, with everything else wrapped around it.

    I also think reviewing Jam games isn't an exact science and can be arbitrary sometimes. It's like when my GF asks me "How much do you love me?" and I say "Umm... 53??". How do you quantify a game into different categories exactly?

    For me the earlier games that I played were the benchmarks I guess.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  46. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    734
    That's the thing, though - the theme isn't "CONQUERING", and definitely not "CONQUERING zones/territory/etc.". The theme is "CONQUEST".

    If someone in good faith decides to make a game about CONQUEST (noun) that isn't exactly about CONQUERING (verb, continuous) and gets a lower score/rank because it doesn't feel like CONQUERING, then they might feel "cheated" in a way. They tried their best to make a game about CONQUEST, but then they're told it's not the right kind of CONQUEST. It's this discrepancy between the wide possibilities of theme use that creators find during the Jam and the narrow interpretations reviewers actually end up using. The creators try to use theme ambiguity to do something different and original with theme, but end up being punished for it.

    With this in mind, now I actually find PIZZA to be much better theme, because it has much less ambiguity while still leaving plenty of room to make fun and mechanically varied games around it. In CONQUEST it's quite the opposite - there's quite a bit of ambiguity, but if you want to stick to the most common interpretation and make your game feel like CONQUERING, you better make your game a strategy of sorts (limiting your gameplay options) or include Mandatory Zones Map or something like that (requiring some superfluous work over the main game engine and feeling somewhat disingenuous).

    (once again, what I'm referring to here is not the situation when creators fail to convey their theme in a way that reviewers would be aware of it; I'm referring to cases when reviewers are aware of the intended interpretation of theme, but still consider it not the "right" interpretation of the theme)
     
    Siolfor the Jackal likes this.
  47. Relic

    Relic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2017
    Posts:
    719
    This would make a classic 2D Mario game a Conquest themed platformer? I would disagree - but that might be just a difference in interpretation of applying the theme. A "conquering" themed platformer for me might be about about knocking opponents off the mountain (only way to deal with an enemy is to knock them off an edge) so you are the sole conquerer lol. Replacing "level 1" zone icon with a castle or land icon to be conquered is somewhat of a connection to the theme, but not much - certainly not from a game mechanics view, more from a story view.

    I do agree with your approach to applying points to theme inclusion - gives a clear indication to each dev about how well you thought the theme was connected. I didn't go points this time, just sort of ranked against fun and theme in my head. Some fun games went lower because I saw no theme while rougher games were higher because of a strong theme. Poor game and poor theme to the bottom and great game with great theme to the top - more intuition that points. Not sure which way I prefer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
    Siolfor the Jackal likes this.
  48. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    758
    I'm seconding PIZZA as a potential future theme.
    I just love how in no way it implies a genre of game.
     
  49. Rob

    Rob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Posts:
    681
    I know you've said that a few times but in my mind I don't see the difference. Id be hard pressed to think of "Conquest" and "Conquering" as very separate things.

    If I were gonna go the "clever" route i would have made a prison based RPG where you're a CONvict that's QUESTing??

    Depending on how that was implemented it could be really cool or really lame.

    I don't disagree that Pizza or Green would have been better themes if only because they don't instantly conjure a specific genre of game to mind.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
    Toque likes this.
  50. GameDevDan

    GameDevDan Get Gyro Boss DX Moderator GMC Elder

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2016
    Posts:
    194
    RE: themes and whether or not they are too restrictive etc. etc.

    It's not like the jam host, or the community as a whole, "enforces" what counts as matching the theme. It's up to reviewers to decide whether the game they played used the theme in a decent way. I don't really see how we can police that without putting people off voting.

    It's become pretty funny seeing how obviously I can use a theme and still get 1 or 2 reviews that say I didn't use it, almost like a challenge. But that's just the way it is! Some people will literally give entries 10/10 for theme use if the theme is in the title of the game and 0/10 if it was used just subtly enough that they didn't pick up on it. Just one of those things you have to expect and learn to love about the jam.

    I don't have a problem with generic "noun"-type themes like pancakes or pizza, I'd be happy to enter a jam like that. But I also really like themes that make you think outside the box re: game mechanics. I wish winners would more often pick themes that are Ludum-esque like "The whole level in one screen" or "You are the weapon" or whatever.
     
    Relic and Siolfor the Jackal like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice