Game jam post-mortem.

Sky Fisher (Jam Edition) is a jam game for the NotGDCJam that was built in over the course of one week.
Playable in your browser on Itch.io.

Tools used: 
GameMaker Studio 2
Adobe Photoshop

Game jams for me are similar to a sand mandala’s without the destruction. You spend a finite amount of time dedicated to crafting something beautiful and then you simply move on, embracing what you’ve learned and cherishing the experience more than the end product. That’s the ideal game jam to me.

Sky Fisher was the longest game jam I ever attempted (being 1 week long), and without a doubt the most educational and the most fun. I woke up the day after the jam still filled with excitement, hope, a rekindled joy and reminder for what I love most amount game design. Focusing on on the things *I* want to make instead of what ‘what game will be trendy.’ My new rules stand as such: If it’s fun for me than it will be fun for someone else.

Sky Fisher itself is a much larger game on paper. Once I started with the concept idea the rest came flooding out as if it was a game that had always been in my head that I never played before. Unfortunately this beautiful game I had crafted with pen and paper could only fit inside the time frame of one week and I knew it wasn’t going to be good enough. So I scoped the project down to core basics and began using it as a prototype idea to see if the potential was there for the future and I would say it definitely is.

Firstly, I started with a point-to-click movement system because I anticipated potentially bringing the game to mobile but then I realized that I was shoehorning my ideas so after 2 days of point to click – I got rid of the entire movement system and went with traditional 8 ways gamepad support and told myself to just build what was in my head.

Once I had established I would scope down to just finishing the journal and a costume shop I found myself working tediously to ensure quality code. I think in the back of my mind I knew I was coming back to this project and ‘jam code’ wasn’t gonna be good enough. I religiously took notes on where I would need to revisit code and worked tirelessly to make everything work and be readable. Without a doubt some of the cleanest jam code I’ve ever written and I think it is a testament to working hard and seeing myself grow. If I was a Pokemon, I just had my own personal evolution.

My most incredible feat for this jam was the last 6 hours. I had not a single thing built for the hat shop and knew I was in trouble – but somehow I managed to design, write, and implement the entire thing just before the last hour of the jam. Bug-free and with code I would be proud to show.

All in all, this game jam was a wonderful experience with a lot of great developers – and also met an amazing composer who helped bring the atmosphere to life. These kinds of experiences are treasures.

The future of Sky Fisher is a strong one as I will sit down and look over the next year+ of my game development and make some tough decisions but I believe the path is obvious for me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this short post-mortem and be sure to give Sky Fisher a play in your browser!

Special Thanks:
Greg and MikeT for hosting NotGDCJam! Was really fun!
Mortistar for crafting beautiful music!
– All my family and friends at Game Dev League and /r/GameMaker discord for their support and help with hard maths!