Meet the Team

This time I've had the pleasure to work with a most impressive team of people. Let me introduce them!

  • Aurélien, our game designer and programmer, is a long time friend of mine. He's been working on games for a while now, and even had his own game studio for a while!
  • Manon, another long-time friend, was our 3D artist. She's been working in the game industry for a few years now, creating gorgeous scenes and environments. She's an indie artist now, so if you like her work, reach out to her!
  • Rémi has been working at Ubisoft a long while now, as a programmer, but for this jam he's been one of our two musicians. Still, we couldn't resist asking him for programming advices from time to time…
  • I won't be able to tell you much about Aurore, except that she was our second musician, because I didn't know her before this jam. But I know she's a great musician, and she contributed highly to the amazing musics of the game.
  • Finally, I participated as a Jack-of-all-trade, doing a bit of producing, a tad of programming, and some level design.

And now that we have a team, it's time to make a game.

Meet Cthulhu

The theme of the jam was "Joined Together". Our brainstorming session led to a bunch of ideas, some horrendous and others less horrendous. Aurelien did some work to take one of these ideas to a full blown pitch that we started working on. Here goes that pitch:

The game is 3D platformer with a series of levels. Levels are split on several screens, each one showing you only some of the existing obstacles. You must combine these different views to move through the level and reach the exit.

Worded like this, it seems to be loosely connected to the theme, and I guess it is. Our train of thoughts was to have several views that are "joined together", meaning that whatever action you do in one happens in the others, and whatever obstacles exists in one affects you in the others.

We had a pitch, a few ideas to test out for level design, so we got started. Manon chose to give the game a kind of horror vibe, and Cthulhu was quickly brought into the conversation. That gave us a nice theme and story: you are in hell, Cthulhu has broken your soul, and you need to escape while finding a way to rejoin your soul together.

The initial goal of the game was to simply reach a goal within each level, then move on to the next. We rapidly decided to add another goal: to align glyphs, just like you would do it in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (warning, spoilers for that game), but this time with the glyphs split across different views. This would make the player explore levels twice, but looking to do different things each time.

Our musicians, Aurore and Rémi, got inspired by this and the horror theme, and started working on two different ambiances, one for each part of the levels. Do put the sound on when you try the game, it is worth it!

After a few hours of work, we had a working prototype, and I started making an actual level, with assets that Manon had produced. The concept included a small labyrinth, with doors and levers to open them, split into four different views. I showed the concept to Aurélien, then implemented it and sent it his way. It turned out that it was waaaaaaay too hard. Even with the 2D map of the level, he struggled to get to the end of it. Working four cameras was incredibly difficult, and made the game not fun to play. We clearly had to make it a lot simpler.

We then started rethinking levels, and made much simpler ones, dedicated to teaching different aspects of the game. In the end, we had five levels, with only two views except for the last one which went all the way to three.

The rest of the development of the game was pretty uneventful. We had a working game design and spent most of our time just building the game. Aurélien did most of the programming, I built most of the levels, Manon created all of the graphics, and Rémi and Aurore created the musics as well as a collection of sounds that we could use for the sound design. Except for the classic stress at the end of the Jam, everything went fairly smoothly!

Play Shattered Soul

And just like that, we had a game! Give a try, play Shattered Soul on

We scored a fairly good result for our first participation in this jam:

These marks I think are on spot: the concept was quite new and original, but it turned out to be quite difficult to play and we did not manage to make it into a fun game. Still, I am very proud of what we did! Aurélien spent quite some time after the jam improving many details of the game, so the version that you can play on itch is fairly better than the one we submitted. It has less bugs and is a bit smoother to play, but we did not change the actual game design at all. It's still the same experience that the people who voted enjoyed!

My experience

This Jam has been a bit different than what I was used to, personally. First of all, it was my first jam with people who where not physically in the same place. That made it more difficult to handle production, as it was more difficult to keep track of what people had done or were doing, and it was also more difficult to share knowledge. Because it was happening in such a short time span, I don't think it was appropriate to enforce specific processes to increase communication. But that cost us a bit, and I felt a bit far away from my teammates (except for Manon who was working from my place).

The second thing that happened was that I was twice out of my comfort zone: we made a 3D game, and that is something with which I have almost zero experience, and we made it using Unity, a game engine I had never used prior to this jam. Both those things combined made me feel quite useless as a programmer, and I ended up doing other things, like creating levels. It's still work, and it's boring work that I was happy to take on for others. But it left me unsatisfied about my level of contribution to the game.

Overall, I'm still very happy that I was able to enter this game jam, especially with this incredible team! Thanks a lot to Aurélien, Aurore, Manon and Rémi for the good times we had, and I'm hoping to jam again with them all. :)

As for you, dear reader, thank you for reading, please give Shattered Soul a play, and I'll see you soon with news from the game I've been working on for the last 4 months.