Developer Interview: Thomas Detoy of twobitadder

In the third part of our new interview series we interview Thomas Detoy of twobitadder games. Thomas's game, 7 Intelligence, is participating in the GDWC 2020 and was a nominee for the Weekly Vote #6! He has also published several other games that can be checked out at his itch.io account "twobitadder". In this interview we go over a few different perspectives regarding Game Jams and hopefully you can learn a thing or two!



Hey Thomas of twobitadder! We'd like to know more about you! What got you into game development?

Hi! I'm a hobbyist developer out of the US, hoping to turn this into something full-time. I got into game development originally due to my childhood love for games and their capability to engage us mentally from a number of different perspectives. I'm also fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes and how they're made, and how code can come together to either create a beautiful machine or a hobbled mess - and how often game development is dancing that line between the two!

Have you been participating in Game Jams before or is this your first one?

This isn't my first game in a game jam per se, but it's certainly my first one for Ludum Dare. I've participated in a couple weekly jams and one monthly jam, as time permits working around my job. You can find them on my itch storefront (twobitadder.itch.io), though with the requisite warning that they're VERY rough games.

So you already have lots of experience with Game Jams! Is there anything specific you struggle with when participating?

The most challenging thing is, to me, scoping properly. It's far too easy to think that it would be possible to just add that one additional feature, before you realize exactly how many systems it touches and how it unbalances the whole machine. This is especially true when you're running on a timer and thus sacrificing some best practices to get it done as quickly as possible. That one extra feature is suddenly a much larger deal than you originally thought when you've slapped it in haphazardly and suddenly you're debugging unrelated items because you restructured a core bit of data handling to wrench it in quickly enough.

I can imagine it being a real #struggle! What has helped you cope with it?
What are the best tips you would give to others if asked?


Spend more time planning than you think you'll need. Plan out your code structure, draw out how your systems will interact, try and anticipate exactly how you'll need everything to talk. It also helps to establish some kind of standard for how you structure your projects - both in file structure when coding and data structure when planning and organizing. Work on small projects, but sometimes treat them like larger ones when it comes to structuring them (i. e., don't just throw everything into a single 1500-line file filled with commented out code and different trains of thought mashed together!). With each subsequent iteration of any given jam game that I've worked on, I've found that I'm able to make progress much faster when I'm working within established structures that I'm familiar and comfortable with. Plus, you find that you can repurpose code from small test projects and experiments and such with little to no effort if you treated them like part of a bigger project, which is nice!

That's pretty good advice! I bet the productivity rises when having a clear structure.
What would you consider your favorite thing about Game Jams?


I love game jams for the creativity that they necessitate, and the fact that they facilitate one of my favorite feelings when coding: that moment when you hit build and you see some new feature playing nicely with everything else, just as you'd hoped. Jams are full of moments like those, as you might expect. Of course... they're also full of moments where you're pulling out your hair over some edge case that isn't quite as "edge" as you'd like, but that's just another hit of endorphins once you're able to solve it (hopefully)! But honestly, I love the amount of possibilities that jams offer too. I love writing lists of ideas down and thinking about them in my head and all of the potential directions this new game can go. I get myself in trouble at work around jam time usually because I'm daydreaming too much!

Thank you Thomas for having this interview with us! We definitely noticed that you enjoy Game Jams and are glad to have had the opportunity to talk about them with you! I think it best concludes it when saying, if you are running on a timer, it is beneficial to figure out a plan to follow through!



If you haven't yet checked out the first part of our new interview series of Game Jams, you can see it at https://thegdwc.com/blog/blog.php?blog_id=36.

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bonus stage

{ Game Jam }

What is this bonus stage?

Bonus stages are additional challenges for game developers, giving them a chance to win prizes that are not part of the two main categories. For the Game Jam category, this means participating with games made during game jams.

How do I participate in this bonus stage?

Register for the Game Development World Championship normally. Find out a Game Jam you want to participate in, and develop your game during that game jam according to their rules, if any. Afterwards, submit your game into the GDWC as you would any other game.

Prizes

  • Visibility on the GDWC website
  • GDWC Finland-themed "care package"
  • Valco ANC Headphones to Winning Team (2 pairs)
  • Houdini Indie one year license to each of the top 3 teams!
  • More to come...

Rules

All the rules of the GDWC competition apply. In addition, the following apply for section 4. Judgement criteria:
  • The game for the submission must have been done entirely during a game jam, which must be specified while submitting the game.
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bonus stage

{ Fan Favourite }

What is this bonus stage?

Bonus stages are additional challenges for game developers, giving them a chance to win prizes that are not part of the two main categories. For the Fan Favourite category, there are no additional limits, it's simply a bonus!

How do I participate in this bonus stage?

Register for the Game Development World Championship normally. We will pick awesome games from those submitted into the competition weekly. During this week, our audience can vote for their favourite game of the week, which will then be a nominee in the final Fan Favourite vote.

Prizes

  • Visibility on the GDWC website
  • GDWC Finland-themed "care package"
  • Valco ANC Headphones to Winning Team (2 pairs)
  • Houdini Indie one year license to each of the top 3 teams!
  • More to come...

Rules

All the rules of the GDWC competition apply. In addition, the following apply for section 4. Judgement criteria:
  • Instead of the GDWC judges, the winner will be chosen by an open vote. Schedule to be determined later.
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