GGJ 2010: Post Mortem-ing a Weekend

The Last Bullfight: Our beauty render

The Last Bullfight: Our beauty render

Global Game Jam 2010 Post #3:
The weekend is over and our game is playable (!).
You can find it here:
We recommend the web/flash version (may ask you to download/install the small Unity/flash player).
If you are stuck in any way, please email me:

What Went Awesome:
* Treating Each Other Well: listening to each other’s ideas, encouraging each other to take water and brain breaks, keeping good humor, appreciating each other’s contributions.
* Making Good Decisions as a team at regular intervals on what features to keep and what to toss in order to get the project done: late Saturday afternoon, late Saturday night and first thing Sunday morning.
* Planning Our Work Flow: in our design doc we structured the weekend into 3-hour block “sprints.” This helped to guide our productivity and made a good balance between being able to dive deeply into our work and regularly checking-in with each other. We also got each other’s contact info right at the start, chose a safe source system, and established an “it is OK to recuse yourself early from meetings in order to be productive” policy.
* Allowing Pablo Picasso to do all our concept art for us.
* Research: we spent two hours on Friday night watching and discussing bullfights on Youtube, and came away with a clear vision for our subject matter that supported our thinking all weekend.
* Manageable Art Scope: making a game with only one location and where the main animated characters–the bull and the matador–are frequently invisible made it much easier as the sole artist to produce any kind of quality rather than just quantity.
* Our wacky deception mechanic, to our surprise and delight, actually seems to make sense to people.

What Could Have Went Awesomer:
* The free version of Unity did not play nice with our choice of version safe software, SVN, and by my estimate our (amazing) two-person code team lost 20% of the weekend dealing with issues around synching their work until downloading a professional trial late Saturday night.
* Possibly a better balance between tweaking and implementing features: considering we had so little time to get our game made before the 3pm Sunday deadline, I wonder if we could have spent less time tweaking details of the game on Saturday and more time getting features in as quick and dirty as possible. As team artist, I was aware of how motivating it was for my team to see semi-polished art early on, but also that having rougher animations available earlier than the Saturday evening sprint would have helped the team to get gameplay feedback features in sooner, allowing us to test the game before the bleeding deadline edge.
* Defining/addressing Work Needs Better: we allowed one of our teammates, the research/QA lead, to work essentially on his lap all weekend when we should have gotten him a table, and another needed more quiet space than we found for him early on. A better discussion of what each person needs to be productive should have been part of our first meeting.
* More documentation: it is hard to document everything when creating a game at 90 miles an hour, but the few times we did document our work made such a huge difference in our thinking and productivity that I suspect any bit more would have helped.

We want to thank Rik Eberhardt and Phillip Tan and everyone at the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab for hosting this fantastic event and taking such good care of us all weekend, from the great organization to tech support to arranging meals. We recommend you try out all the games made at MIT this weekend. Some we are particularly fond of include:

* Run Run Run Jump: More joy than any single game should be capable of producing in one weekend. These guys shared a space with us, so yes, their sound track is permanently scarred into our brains:

* Press X to Not Die: Amazingly clever and deliciously mean game, a send-up of Quicktime events with an exceptional amount of beautiful 2D animation:

* Quest for Stick: Lovely Braid-like look and feel, with a very cool mechanic for interacting with the world:

One Comment

  1. I really love the art you guys came up with, I kind of wish I could have worked on this as well as Quest for Stick. I absolutely love the bull!

Comments are now closed for this article.