Hello, My Name is Dave

A Top-down Bullet-hell Game Jam Game

7 min. read

Overview

“Hello, My Name is John” is a game that Dylan (my friend) and I created at the Global Game Jam in January 2022. We actually decided with the name of the game on the third day after we had the aesthetic nailed down and thought that it was a fun name to use. The process was really amazing because everything that we developed came to life naturally. The only thing we really planned was a high-level concept of the game. Everything that’s granular was not decided upon on until we had something tangible to work off of.

Click here if you’d like to try out the game! (.7z download)

Theme: Duality

The theme for the game jam was Duality. We started brainstorming the game by writing down opposites and trying to tie them to a mechanic. For example: Good vs Evil, Small vs Big, Nature vs Technology. The duality that we settled for was Reality vs Non-tangible. We also layered other contrasting pillars together such as Soul vs Body, Cope vs Depression and Colorful vs Dull to the main contrasting point.

Dream World

The Process

The most interesting thing about this game is how everything naturally evolved. My friend whipped up whatever he felt was appropriate and although we had initial design ideas for the core mechanics, I also started whipping up and changing ideas to match our budget. I also kept in mind how people will perceive the game on the first playthrough and if things made sense for their limited attention span. We were really satisfied with how the game turned out.

Crafting Tree

Day 1 - 72 Hours Remaining

I started off with the systems for inventory, crafting, and basic player movement. We wanted to have a tree/branches for the crafting mechanic that we wanted to focus on so that the player has a choice in how they want to play. However, in the end, we didn’t have time to QA and implement unique mechanics for each weapon and special effects for each. My friend started working on the enemies at this stage and roughly drawing concept art for what we wanted.

Day 2 - 48 Hours Remaining

On the second day, I started rigging the player character and focusing on nailing the player’s movements. Then later I started focusing on the reality/dream-world mechanic and implementing hittable objects/resource collecting. My friend focused on finishing up the enemy characters and environmental modelling. I also touched the crafting mechanic a bit focusing on the logic for recipes and the UI. Near the end of the day, all the enemies were fully modelled by my friend and I started rigging them.

Dave and Enemies

Dave and Enemies

Day 3 - 24 Hours Remaining

On the third day, I started focusing on the enemy attacks and the title screen of the game. I also did some rough QA by myself and tried to balance everything. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I decided to go with the bullet hell approach since I didn’t have time to animate and create the logic for the original j-RPG concept we had for the characters. My friend focused on finishing up all the models for the weapons and creating all the 2D art for the game. Later I hooked up the visuals for the weapons and all the collectables when there was only 30 minutes left for submission. It was very hectic but in the end we managed to submit the game 2 minutes before the deadline.

Weapons

Concept Art for Weapons

Bugs We Found

After the build went live, we found bugs. Yep, typical. The first bug is a hardlock in the crafting mechanic. There was an item that we couldn’t craft because an item we couldn’t obtain due to the fact that we have to craft the uncraftable weapon in the first place.

Another bug that we found had to do with the rendering of the collectable sprites. This is due to changing the main texture of a lit material which were caused by the UV’s of the mesh. I later fixed this by using a world-space canvas to render the collectables.

A third bug that we found had to do with the ending screen. It displayed the wrong ending message after completing the game. There were two endings to the game and it would display the opposite one. Kind of an annoying bug to find last second, but that was fixed.

Polishing

After fixing those bugs and resubmitting, I did some polishing with the game’s balancing and fixed some C-grade bugs with the animations and stuff that I found. For the balancing, the end-game enemies had too much HP which made it very frustrating to kill due to the knockback/juggling dynamic of the game. Another thing that I balanced were the recipes for crafting. Another C-grade bug I found was that to craft the water sword, you needed a fire stone instead of the water stone (whoops!)

Reality World

Conclusion

At the end of the project, we were really satisfied with how the game turned out. The gameplay and art-style was surprisingly very depthful for the amount of time we had to implement everything. I’m not saying that it is the most depthful thing in the world, but there is a lot for the gameplay, story, and themes to this game that could be explored. My friend and I were so happy with the project that we were thinking about either extrapolating upon the idea or working on another project with a similar style to this project in the future.