I came into the jam with the idea that I would be able to convince people to do a whacky take on Lovecraft, Chtulhu and all that horror stuff, something akin to calls from Cthulhu, but we ended up with a 2D survival horror game that borrows a lot of stuff from Silent Hill.

What we wanted to do:

  • A 2D survival horror with good ambience.
  • About a woman who searches for her daughter with the help of a wise sage in a mysterious village where no one can really be trusted.

     SPOILERS: It turns out the village was deserted because of evil spirits brought forthde by an evil cult, those spirits body snatched the protagonist’s daughter and put her spirit in a wobbly portal thingie, by the end you can choose between: a) Killing your body snatched daughter, b) Search for your daughter beyond the wobbly portal, c) Leave with your body snatched daughter who is still possesed by an evil spirit thingie. Your choices are limited by the sanity system.

  • That had plenty of puzzles, a sanity system and plenty of spooky exploration( which included a randomly generated underground cave of doom).

What we got:

  • A 2D exploration horror with good ambience as long as the player used headphones.
  • A story that was missing a lot of the planned gameplay to be really inmersive and comprehensive. The ending was also bugged, so if you tried to kill your daughter, all of your progress was lost and you were taken to the beggining of the town.
  • The game had one puzzle that you could solve with a book and was ok. The sanity system did not exist.
  • We also had the random dungeon code lying around, but no way to implement it in a polished, satisfying way. The game had a nice sound system and a cool flashlight effect that was a definite plus to the ambience.

Mistakes and what I learned:

  • At jams, fun is better than big, complex games with a fuckton of backstory.
  • Plan way ahead of whatever feature you wish to implement. Be sure to have a design, or at least a clear flow, before you code. The sanity system wasn’t properly planned, the random dungeon either, so they were scrapped.
  • If you are a developer who is doing coding tasks (e.g: editing audio) and non-coding people on your group have free time, do your best to delegate those tasks. Explain to them how to do what needs to be done, be there to answer questions and get back to coding. I spent a lot of time editing audio and putting dialogs into the game, when our game designers could have done so. I’m not mad about it, but I will keep it in mind for the next time.
  • Whatever you have to say about other people’s games has to be phrased in a respecful and constructive way.

You can play the game at the GGJ site