GMTK 2019 Postmortem [One Card in hand]

Heya, this is the first official "Devlog" for my current unnamed project. While I say devlog I really just mean Postmortem for the game jam, I do have plans to further develop the game however into at least a small roguelike. I will be quite busy so I decided to write this out, as documentation of my thoughts immediately after the jam, almost like a journal. With that said I'll get started.


so to start off let me set the scene of what I was doing right before the jam. I was literally in the middle of moving, the day before the jam me and my brother had been moving all our stuff to our new place. I knew the jam was coming to I put my desk together that day, so come jam time I was tired. I dont have a job or anything as of writing this but my school semester starts the month after the jam. Honestly not the worst situation as I would be free for the whole Jam (I thought) which is a great situation to be in.

Before I continue a brief summary of the game: 

it's a card game where you face a enemy deck with ONLY ONE card in hand, you fight through 10 waves of monsters and you win. The game has a focus on managing your gold.


Planning my game was a pretty straight forward process but almost went completely wrong. I was in a discord call with a friend who isnt doing anything game dev related he was just chilling. We came up with a few ideas and I settled on the idea of a platformer with only one boss who just has an absurd amount of phases. The idea is that it would be a parody of darksouls bosses and how many phases they can have (Cough sister freid Cough). So the project got a little over scoped and to top it off I havent made a platformer before,  so I thought even if I couldnt finish it would be a great trail by fire learning experience.

Before I could get started my Brother pestered me into playing some table top games, I would have the entire weekend after all. We played a card game called Coup (a personal favorite of mine) a game in which each player only plays with two cards. It was fun and I decided to make a card game, something I have alot more experience in.

This project would have been a disaster if I went with original idea tbh, I was saved by my table top games.

What went well

so this is the boring part, 

I used my experience making a Darkest dungeon like prototype to have a slot system and made the basic mechanics quite fast. If enemy has a unit in front of it do conflict, else player takes damage. 

Unities Scriptable objects made developing cards easy, card effects are just directly in the code and calls the cards name.

I came up with a way to give cards multiple uses during normal play, which was the big design barrier. How can you have a card game with only one card in hand during your turn? Sell your card or play it, that's what it came down too.

Over all the project turned out really well so time for what's in my opinion the interesting part.

What went wrong

So I was supposed to be free all jam, well two things kinda put the pressure on me. 

One I started the jam 7 hours late, I thought it started later than it did because I didnt check the time zone diffrences which looking back is a stupid way to lose time since I was just lazy.

And two, my brother decided to move furniture, long story short he bought a TV stand that couldn't fit in his car, he took 30 minutes disassembling his back seats and fit it in, but the entire trip took much longer than expected.

Minor set backs though and I would still finish early.

Problem two, My digital art setup wasn't up because haha just moved in. So I improvised by just drawing in my sketch book and coloring with marker, finalizing the are by taking a photo via phone. It worked out since I'm much better on paper that tablet.

Problem three, so the problem that DIDNT get fixed and is something I'm working on post game, BALANCE some cards were way to weak, some enemies could lose you the game instantly. The game has terrible feedback loop problems, if your losing you lose harder, if your winning the wave is a joke.

The Lessons

So I learned alot on how to program systems like this but more so I learned some more general lessons. Here they are in a nice little list.

- Double Check time Zones so you dont lose time for NO reason

- Dont overscope, it helps to play a few other games with the theme in mind.

- Dont be afraid to improvise graphics if you must, my game would have suffered if I spent time setting up my tablet to the slowly draw out everything in a program I'm not fully used to yet.

- Create a clear goal near the start, by know how to win I was able to plan the way the player gets there which help the experience go from just prototype to full playable game. The Subnautica guys talked at GDC and mentioned using Placeholder Goals, 10/10 would reccomend.

Thanks for reading this, I had an amazing time and have a project in genuinely interested in pursuing while I go to school. I have to planned schedule on Devlogs for this project but I'll post them from time to time based on free I am. Also expect a patched version of the game some point post Jam.


GMTK2019 (3).zip Play in browser
Aug 04, 2019

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