Making of Brain Muncher
I’ll set the scene. It’s Tuesday 26th October and I find out a small game jam begins in 24 hours. I haven’t touched game dev since pre pandemic but can feel my hunger slowly returning. I enter the jam planning to utilise the entire allowed 7 days to my full advantage.
Flash forward one week and it’s now 8pm Tuesday and I still haven’t started my game. Catching a cold delayed me starting which was followed by a weekend of Halloween drinking at university. Monday, I nursed the hangover. Now it’s Tuesday and I don’t have an excuse to not start my project as my lectures finished at 3pm yet I still haven’t started at 8pm. I couldn’t procrastinate anymore as I literally had nothing to procrastinate with. I sat down at my desk knowing I was in for an all nighter of panic, worry and regret for not starting earlier.
Tuesday morning, I was stacking shelves at Iceland and realised I was definitely not going to have time to make the top down zombie shooter I originally planned. As I stood alone in the back fridge, I pull out my phone to search for simple game ideas. I hadn’t used Unity for over 18 months and knew I was going to be rusty. Due to shitty 4G provided by voxi (fuck you voxi) I couldn’t search and the google lost connection dinosaur game appeared on my chrome app. Turns out my shitty connection gave me the idea of making a Halloween themed infinite runner (thank you voxi).
I’m very aware how lazy of a decision this is but admittedly I just needed a simple project to help get me back into the swing of things. It’s not what I want to continue doing in any future jams but if it helps me improve my shitty game dev skills then I see that as an absolute positive.
I quickly draw up the assets as I think this will help inspire me to keep working through the night. Once I’m happy with my zombie animations I make the gravestone obstacle, brain collectibles and ground textures. I then lay out my ground textures and begin working on making the zombie move and jump. Next, I created the grave and brain game objects to kill the player and increase the score respectively. Then I added a spawner for them to instantiate at random intervals. The core features of the game all worked perfectly and I caught some second wind after finishing this step.
Sound was needed next and searching online for a sound effect and a royalty free theme that had a darker tone was a pain in the arse cause every website expects you to sign up or pay. No.
Next I needed polish and after adding in a moon I drew in gimp - haven’t downloaded a cracked version of photoshop yet - I became stuck on why my player was jumping behind the moon. This took me 30 minutes at 2 am to figure out I just had put it in a higher layer than every other piece. This was very infuriating to discover but taught me to sort layers properly next time.
Noticing the tiredness starting to kick in I decided to move onto final polish. I made the game gradually get harder and faster as the player ate more brains, added a title screen, and allowed the player to restart the game after the zombie dies. Lastly, I made as many minor bug fixes as I could and seeing the clock approaching 4 am I called it a night. About an hour and a half of sleep before starting a gruelling 6 am Iceland shift. 100% worth it to actually complete my first game jam.
Overall, this was an extremely positive experience and I couldn’t be happier to have actually submitted something even though it is buggy. There’s lots of improvements I would have wanted to make but after 8 hours straight I needed some sleep. I had forgotten almost everything I had learned prior to covid but this is at the very least a step in the right direction to getting me back into indie development. The project is far from perfect but I’m proud of it regardless.
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