Hug Marine: A Game Jam Diary - Outro.

Hug Marine.

I came downstairs, out of my cave of desperation and furious work, and held out my Macbook Pro in the direction of my girlfriend, who was seated contentedly on the couch. "It's finished," I said. "I'm done." She put her things to one side, settled herself into a comfortable gaming position, and went to work completing it. I sat next to her, taking in every movement, every reaction, whether in-game or on her face. She smiled, clearly enjoying herself, and I saw the tell-tale signs of a gamer deeply engaged.

It's difficult to express how much it meant to see that. You could show your game to any number of random people — I'm sure my parents would "ooh" and "ahh" until the cows come home, and my non-gamer co-workers have done so already. But to hand it to someone who plays games, who enjoys gaming, and have them enjoy themselves because of something I created, is magical.

If I've shown it to you in person, you know that I watch people when they play it. I used to think developers were irksome for doing the same, but I see the logic behind it now. I sit there, desperate for it all to go right, for them not to hesitate, not know what to do, become frustrated or bored. It's an emotionally intense process, and after the long, dark tunnel of development, I'm standing out in the bright pre-summer sunlight and actually relaxing, knowing that I achieved what I set out to do.

I made a game.

The most difficult part was the guilt. Every second I spent doing something outside my day job that wasn't working on Hug Marine was a second in which I felt under pressure to produce something. I'll be honest — a big part of that was writing these articles, knowing people really were watching me, waiting to see what I'd do next. I can recall one night, not too long ago, where I sat with my face in my hands, just utterly lost in despair and exhaustion, mental and physical. Another where I sat working on it till past midnight, trying to ensure there were two new levels to show off on a Friday, not one. Another where I woke up during the night, my sleep-addled mind filled with panicked mental images of bugs I had to fix.

It's often said that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Sure, this wasn't a project with any lethal consequences where failing to complete said project was concerned. But doing this has made me a stronger person, a more determined person. It's improved my focus, my planning, my ability to commit to a project and see it through. It reminds me of National Novel Writing Month, and the sensation of having written a book, albeit one shorter than the norm. The sensation of bursting through the tape at the end of the race, laughing and crying and feeling incredibly alive.

Now? Now, I sit and think about what I want to do next — if I want to write, or make more games. Do I want to make more games? Honestly, yes. Yes I do. But not for a while. Right now, I just want to be a Gamer with a Job, not a Gamer with a Job and a Game Project. I'm incredibly lucky to have both a career and the resulting funds to pay for the various games I play.

What makes me glad I've finished is that the sine wave of my self-esteem now has another curve toward the top. I can upload Hug Marine to Kongregate or Newgrounds or anywhere where Flash games are readily accepted and nod to myself and know that I can finally point to a game and say "This is mine. I did this." I'm proud of myself.

So until the next game project envelops my spare time you'll have to make do with the final version of Hug Marine (which will be updated this week with a small fix). I hope you enjoy it. I shouldn't tell you how to play, so I won't, but I do recommend wearing headphones or having your sound on, especially on the last level.

Oh, and let me know if you find the nod to Gamers with Jobs somewhere in the levels. If one Goodjer spots it, I'll be happy. Thank you for your support, guys. Now, I'm going to go and remember what actual free time feels like.

[intro - week one - week two - week three - week four]

Comments

Congratulations on the finished product!

I've followed your posts to this point, but my first playthrough was of the completed game. Hug Marine made me acutely aware that I suck at platformers. Disregarding my own incompetence, it was a good game, especially to have been developed in only 1 month.

I also like your hieroglyphs, if you know what I mean

Hurrah. Congrats on the release. I'll have to pull it down as soon as I get home.

Very nice, sir. Just played up until I reached the

Spoiler:

underwater level

before running out of time -- will check more out later.

Kudos.

Very fun game man. Love the music.

Great job! One of my sons watched me play the whole way through (as I showed of my l33t platforming skillz).

Spoiler:

At the end, he gave me a hug.

Aristophan wrote:

Great job! One of my sons watched me play the whole way through (as I showed of my l33t platforming skillz).

Spoiler:

At the end, he gave me a hug.

Just wanted you to know that this comment stopped me in my tracks. Genuinely moved by that. Made the whole process worth it.

Also, to those who've commented so far:

Taidan: Thank you, and I know. ;).

kazriko: Thank you, I hope you have fun with it.

TheHipGamer: Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. :).

Costontine: I'm glad to hear that! I was worried about what people would think of the tunes.

I'm excited to check out this final build. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze it in during lunch.

Awesome. I hugged stuff.

I noticed the shoutout!

Well done CY. Found the shout out as well. Loved the end.

So pleased you did this, and followed through to the end. And as much as I detest platformers in general, I loved hugging the little guys at the end of the levels.

Great job, CY! Made it to the end, and I only wanted to punch you in the shout-out level (I'm not so great at platformers and rage easily).

Yeah lots of fun, my only critique would be the hash/mesh (like on the last level) backgrounds make my eyes hurt when i'm running/jumping past.

That was cute and the tunes were nice. I especially liked the last "hug". Congratulations on seeing your project through.

*ahem*

wordsmythe wrote:

I'm excited to check out this final build. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze it in during lunch.

Was that an intentional pun? :P.

Tyrian wrote:

Awesome. I hugged stuff.

I noticed the shoutout!

Great! Was worried it was too hidden, it's my first Easter Egg!

Rob_Anybody wrote:

Well done CY. Found the shout out as well. Loved the end.

I'm glad the end was okay, I did consider having them all have a group hug at the end, but time and stress tended to influence what I did as time went on.

rabbit wrote:

So pleased you did this, and followed through to the end. And as much as I detest platformers in general, I loved hugging the little guys at the end of the levels.

Yay! That's excellent, rabbit. Now all I need to do is make a JRPG and get Elysium to play and enjoy it!

Gravey wrote:

Great job, CY! Made it to the end, and I only wanted to punch you in the shout-out level (I'm not so great at platformers and rage easily).

Yeah, some of those jumps are tricky. I used myself as the difficulty test, and of course my loyal testing crew, and I figured if we could do it it should be okay for most gamers.

Cayne wrote:

Yeah lots of fun, my only critique would be the hash/mesh (like on the last level) backgrounds make my eyes hurt when i'm running/jumping past.

Yeah, I'm sorry about that. I was going to make proper backgrounds originally, but once I realised the sheer amount of art involved, or layers if you're aiming to have one that has a sense of depth, I thought something simple would do. I can always patch post-release, though!

mediocrepoet wrote:

That was cute and the tunes were nice. I especially liked the last "hug". Congratulations on seeing your project through.

Thank you very much. :). Glad you liked everything - that last hug was my girlfriend's idea, I really enjoyed it so I put it in.

My 7 year old son played it through twice on his own, he really liked it and so did I.

Great job, thanks!

Scrote wrote:

My 7 year old son played it through twice on his own, he really liked it and so did I.

Great job, thanks!

That's fantastic! I'm really happy to hear that. :).

I can't believe you crafted a game in a month.

Like, seriously man. We need a toast to your industriousness at each of this year's Goodjer Day celebrations.

I especially like how you were jonesing for more Dev time.

Spaz wrote:

I can't believe you crafted a game in a month.

Like, seriously man. We need a toast to your industriousness at each of this year's Goodjer Day celebrations.

I especially like how you were jonesing for more Dev time.

Hah! Honestly, I think I could've achieved a lot more (hence the jonesing), but on the other hand, I kept my sanity, which is important.

Reminds me - I need to find out about London and Goodjer Day, and ensure that something happens for it if nothing is.

Nice work, CY!

Finally played it. Well done that man!

Oh, and you are at least partly responsible for guilting me into attempting this madness. I hope you are happy

Great work for a 1st game...... I hope one day I will start and make a game, good luck on the next one

Really enjoyed your write-ups. As a full-time developer going through my first flirtations with game development myself, I'm amazed at what you've been able to accomplish here. A complete experience is way harder to build than a bunch of mechanics in a box. You seem to have done a great job with the editorial scalpel and gotten down to something you were able to complete in the timeframe you gave yourself... well done!

(Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go put some more mechanics in the box and shake it up some more.)

I'm a bit late in catching up on this, quite an inspiring thing to read. Congrats on your accomplishment, and I regret not following this week-to-week.