For the recent LD48 (72 hour jam mini-game), I created a survival mini-game Under the Shade. In a survival situation, one of the important things to do is to get an overall picture of the situation (at least that’s what the buddies in tv seem to do).
That’s what I did in this game jam: I sketched a high picture view about “what possible elements there could be in the game”. It was brainstorming, so I knew 80% and more could be thrown away… but it helped me to get some idea about the theme. I thought about weather, day-night cycles, shelter building, water, food, mosquitoes and so on.
Eventually I drew this:
One very important thing for me was to type down “what is the objective of this game”? I wrote “build a signal fire when you see a ship” in the top of the page.
Then I thought about conflict, and somehow the theme perhaps got me thinking about “shade”. “Shelter building” was something I wanted to do… so here I had the 2-3 most important pieces I could start to deal with.
By observing the situation a bit, I could get overall picture and then draft a plan.
They tell this type of assessment making works in wilderness survival situations… and I guess the same can be applied to game jamming as well.
At least this time it seemed to help me out… and Under the Shade was born.