A design & development journal for the game Telley made for Weekly Game Jam 82.
A few notes and useful links
This is mostly a stream of thoughts and work log instead of a classic journal, which is enough to pass on the experience to you, I hope.
Feb 1, 2019 - Friday
Feb 2, 2019 - Saturday
After a great sunny day at beach, sat down with my notebook and pen, and the search for the game began:
- A TV shooting signals at the eyes
- Lots of eyeballs watching tv and a stream of signals with different type of genres (action, documentary, sci-fi, etc.) with different health and rewards?
- Really liked the idea of eyeballs that look at the same point, occasionally closing the eye lids
- Lots of additional ideas with eyeballs in them...
I feel blocked, no ideas with potential. Maybe I should start from the name of the game?
- Telley, the first name that came to my mind. I can make e's look like eyeballs and the hat of T as an eyebrow over e. Yes, liked it a lot, simple but enough...
Back to idea generation. Asked wife if she has ideas, and turned out that she has some great ones!
- Remote control trying to control the TV
- An eyeball beating the TV (by jumping on it)
- I just couldn't build upon her ideas, not that they are bad but I am still looking for the hidden gem. Maybe I'm too picky?
- It's late at night, still no ideas...
Feb 3, 2019 - Sunday
- Woke up feeling good despite having no ideas at all. It's been two days, what am I going to develop? Do I even care about this game jam? Starting to doubt myself, a stream of self-beating thoughts and curse words...
- At the breakfast, complained to wife about myself, lacking any original thoughts, any talent, can't do this, bla bla bla, lots of self-criticizing stuff, judging myself (a mean judge it is)...
She told me to ask kids for ideas and wow, how haven't I thought of it before? Again, stupid me and a stream of self-critisizing thoughts...
- To give some context why I'm being harsh on myself for not having thought of asking kids before: For the last few weeks I was just thinking about the games that are targeted for the kids on Playstation Store and complaining that they are not basic enough (achievements with unlocks, leveling systems and too complex control schemes. Come on, we don't need those for six year olds, what we need is just basic astreoids and similar stuff...) and I was asking myself the question of how hard can it be to develop that kind of game, or market it, or make money from it...
After the breakfast, sat down with my two 6 years-old daughters and started a brainstorming session (I am not sure if they'd call it that):
- At first it was a bit hard to constrain the session to the TV theme we have for the game jam. They were like two idea generators, running at the same time, that can generate 60 ideas per second (IPS?) with 120 different subjects (I know, I know... 60 ideas with 120 subjects, yeah, it's possible, believe me...). A stereo stream of ideas...
- After a few minutes, they've finally accepted that we should stay within the theme, TV...
- And the big-bang happens! Both of them, at the exact same time, told me the main idea: We should not be too close to the TV, it hurts our eyes.
- From this, another thunderstorm of ideas start raining on me...
- There should be platforms to jump over while escaping from the TV (from which we understand that the TV chases us)
- We should be able to select different colors for our eyeball (we control an eyeball, our main character, which also I thought of it yesterday, fathers and daughters haha)
- Somehow there are spikes in the room that we should avoid falling onto or touching them (we can jump over things)
- ...and there is a snake! (?)
- ...and a tornado! (??!?)
- ...and lots of clouds! (of course!)
- It went like this for another ~10 minutes and then stopped.
- I was listening to them and taking notes, trying not to miss anything. They also drew some pictures of the room and the characters.
- After the brainstorming session, we started to role-play the game in our living room. I chose to be the TV, Ada (my daughter) became the eyeball, Su (my daughter) is the player (controlling the eyeball, Ada) and Gülay (my wife) is the game controller (counting down, keeping the score and etc.)
...and, at the end of the day, here is the draft concept and initial ideas of our game:
- A TV chases an eyeball in a room, filled with obstacles and dangeraous furniture (furniture with sharp corners, etc.)
- The aim is to have a higher game score by not getting caught by the TV, staying far away from it so we don't loose any points and avoid the obstacles.
- More close the TV gets to the eyeball, the more points we loose
- If the TV catches the eyeball, game is over and you don't get any score
- We start with X amount of score and try to keep as much of it as possible untill the end
- We have a count down timer, and when the timer is done we have a game score
- So, that's it, we have a concept. Next, I need a plan and a schedule. Since I have a full-time job and lots of other responsibilities in the house, I don't have too much time to work on this during the weekdays, and sadly we've already spent the weekend for the idea generation phase.
- I've created a Trello board, Telley the Game, which is public and you can see the progress, the documents, and everything. I will do my best to keep it all in there.
- Trying to come up with a very detailed schedule, in order to prevent procrastination and make it to the game jam deadline.
- Wow! Lots of progress today. On the Trello board, I've added cards for tasks and logged some ideas. Also, I have decided to make this game with top-down perspective. You can read the thoughts and the reasoning behind this decision on the related Trello card.
- Here's the schedule, as of today:
- I have created a project for the game on itch.io
- Added useful links at the top of this post.
- First movement :), but no collisions :(
- After ~40 minutes of research and tinkering, comes the tilemap collisions! (Thanks to really good explanatory youtube video of GM Wolf)
- The white blocks seen in the screenshots are going to be the furnitures (seen from top)
- I had the idea of sharp edge furniture in the living room, when hit, slowed down Iyobi (player). However, I decided to use a carpet for that. More details are on the related trello card.
- ~40 minutes after the collision implementation, I've implemented the danger zones (carpets that slow the player down)
- After 2 hours of work, I have implemented pathfinding behavior for Telley (AI player) and now it tries to catch Iyobi (player) while avoiding obstacles on its way. Dynmic mp grids tutorial on yoyo games website was really helpful. I needed to make some changes due to tilemap collisions and also offset the grid a little bit in order to avoid overlapping sprites.
Today was super productive, still want to continue but I need some sleep. From tomorrow, I'll work only at nights and that makes 2-3 hours a day at max. Here's what I've accomplished today:
- ✔︎ Found the idea
- ✔︎ Created a Trello board and made a project schedule
- ✔︎ Create itch.io project for the game
- ✔︎ Made some core decisions about the game
- ✔︎ Lots of journal updates
- ✔︎ Implemented movement mechanic for Iyobi
- ✔︎ Implemented collisions for the furnitures
- ✔︎ Implemented speed affecting areas (carpet)
- ✔︎ Implemented pathfinding behavior for Telley (AI player), which was actually due tomorrow, not today
- Can't stop myself... I've also implemented "always looks at the TV" feature for Iyobi.
- That's it, I'll continue tomorrow night...
Feb 4, 2019 - Monday
Feb 4, 2019 - Monday
- Another day, different challenges. Tonight I will be focusing on graphics and music
- I've gathered some inspiration for the graphics. The ones that I liked the most:
- You can view the rest on this trello card: https://trello.com/c/tlvYT1I5
- Drawing graphics is taking too much time. I don't think I will be able to draw every needed sprite so need to focus on the most important ones. Here is what I got for now:
- After ~2hrs of work, I got something but when compared to the inspiration should I cry or not? I don't know...
- OK, enough negative self judgement. It's what I have and it's what I'm going to submit :)
- I'm too tired today and that's it for me for tonight. Tomorrow is game build day and itch.io page preparation tasks left. If I have time, I will also work on the music and sounds...
Feb 5, 2019 - Tuesday
- Too tired, need to rest...
Feb 6, 2019 - Wednesday
- Started the night with working on music, and it's very enjoyable to work with BeepBox.
- Here is the music for the game: Telley the Game sountrack
- Here is the music for the title: Telley the Game title soundtrack
- Although I've decided not to do music the day before, still spent two hours on the soundtrack tonight. Yes, that's how not sticking to plan looks like...
- In order to submit the game, I need to build Mac and PC versions of the game from GameMaker, which includes small tasks like icons and etc. Also I need to prepare content and some graphics for the itch.io game page and only 20 hours left to deadline...
- Should I try to implement a speed boost power-up? Should I? Should I? Should I? Should I... This is what was I doing (nothing, just thinking) for the last 15 minutes instead of doing/finishing something :)
- OK, I've submitted the game 18 hours before the deadline. It's late and I am tired. Tomorrow I will try to build a Windows version but it seems in order to do that, I need a Windows machine.