I didn't know if I can, I just believed that I can. Anyway, let's play safe -- joining the team which already has a lead programmer. That's pretty much what was running in my head with a lot of frustration. Things didn't turn out as expecting, but it was a happy ending.
Spring 2017, January, it was my first time joining Ohio University Game Developer Association (OUGDA). I hadn't even known people in the club besides officers; I hadn't even trained properly how to make a game; but a big day was coming in the next week -- it is the Global Game Jam (GGJ) 2017.
GGJ is an annual event in which game developers would spend only 48 hours to make a game -- starting since ideation until release. GGJ would provide short keynote and theme; the rest is up to you. It is not a competition, no judgement, we will just appreciate our friends' products, share comments, and thoughts. It sounds like there would be no stress. Haha. That depends. T.T
OUGDA started gathering since 4:30pm of the first day. Everyone was so energetic; actually, everyone is always energetic - -". The keynote and theme released around 5:30pm. "Waves," that's the theme.
With a lot of energy flow, and frustration, everyone was wandering around and talked, and shared, and listened to ideas on the theme. For me, I was more toward listening. Though I had an idea in my mind. It was about echolocation -- yeah you heard right, that's the EchoEcho -- listening to others' ideas can really expand my imagination; and I love it.
During the time I learnt that there were couple of people also thinking about echolocation. In the end, our producer, JJ, was the one who pitched on the idea.
Even though my idea was standing there waiting for me to join the team, I was hesitant for only one condition -- I didn't want to be the lead programmer. Why? Because it was my first time making a real game; I didn't have experience; I didn't have confidence; I didn't want to screw it; etc. Luckily, JJ's team already had all the important positions filled, which means I could stay as the support programmer. YAY!
We took off and had dinner together. We supposed to talk about the project, but nobody started. I think that was one of our team main problem -- we didn't have project manager. However, we managed to get into the topic, and the fun began.
We came back to the computer room around 8pm to start working. By that time, only myself was available to do the programming since JJ would do the level design first, and others worked on graphics, and sounds. I was sitting there for about two hours getting nothing done because I was so tired for the long day. So, I decided to leave and got some rests. That was the right decision. Rest makes your brain runs.
Because JJ was still busy with his level design, and only him can do programming besides me, I was shocked when I went back in the morning, and learnt that my team moved me to the lead programmer. I tried to keep things in control professionally, even though I was like screaming inside so loud! Being chill. Taking it easy. Communication. And, planning. Those were things kept me moving forward with the tasks at hand.
The project seemed to maintain a good flow until the end, at least for my part. Though we discarded a bunch of ideas, arts, sounds, etc. because of either time constraint, or lack of capabilities, our first release, EchoEcho, v1.0.0a, was very satisfying.
I had learnt a lot from this project. It improved both my skills, and my attitudes. I learnt to believe in myself, and my team. Though many people might say that programming is the main role for making a game, I would still insist that every role is important on the equal foot. And, we are all awesome!
Thanks to my team: JJ, Liam, Brian, Ryan, Erin, Maddie, Kayleigh.
Thanks to OUGDA, Ohio University, and GRID Lab.
Thanks to GGJ.