"Rat Park": Design notes 5

Wan • 2 years ago on 1st Kajam entry  Rat Park

For my Kajam entry, I have decided to go with a top-down, twin-stick shooter. That should give me plenty of opportunities for finetuning the game feel and juicing up the action!

For my last MiniLD entry I tried the exercise of making a whole game design document before coding the game. Even if the actual game was quite small, it was fun writing the doc, and I think it helped keep the development focused and the end result consistent.

I won't do a full GDD this time but still, here's my notes on the upcoming entry:

Design notes

Theme/Art style

  • Game set in a strange, futuristic place that feels like a maze made out of hundreds of similar rooms arranged as a grid, with straight corridors in-between them.
  • Top-down view with either a pixel-art style (like Hotline Miami except simpler), or a smoother look with simplistic art like Prison Architect. In both cases it will be simple and in full 2D.
  • Setting & atmosphere largely inspired by the Cube movie

Gameplay loop

  1. Enter a room.
  2. The room locks up and something happens randomly: you get loot, or robot enemies appear. Maybe both. Maybe nothing.
  3. Kill the enemies until there is none.
  4. The room unlocks.
  5. (Optional) You see a clue about where the exit of the maze is.
  6. You pick one of the 4 directions, enter a corridor to the next room.
  7. Repeat.

The goal is to survive while finding the exit. I have a cool idea in mind for the ending, but I don't know if I'll have the time to implement it… If not I'll just make the difficulty ramp up until the player dies :)


  • 1st room after the one you spawn in will always let you find a weapon dropped by a dead robot
  • Health
  • Maybe ammo (if so I should give the player a way to attack if out of ammo, e.g. by throwing his weapon)
  • Maybe a 2nd weapon to have one in each hand
  • Maybe maybe, some bonuses to improve the weapon

Juice up your games! 1

Wan • 2 years ago on 1st Kajam 

Particles! Tweens! Screen shakes! Flashes and explosions!

For the 1st monthly Kajam, your mission – if you accept it – is to make a small game and push its juiciness to 11, by adding all these little details that make a core gameplay super satisfying.

That includes not only visual & audio feedback but also, gameplay-wise, how tight and clear the controls are – in particular for action-oriented games. See the bottom of the post for a list of resources!


  • Oct. 13th - Nov. 19th: The jam. You have around one month to work on your game and submit your entry! (see also the event rules). Note: You are allowed to submit your in-progress entry to let people know you are entering, then edit the page later.
  • Nov. 19th - Nov. 26th: The rating phase. For one week, all entrants will rate how juicy the other games are – and that's it: no Overall, no Originality ratings, just Juiciness!
  • Nov. 26th: The definitive rankings of the most juicy games are announced :)

Have fun! Don't forget to share tips & progress reports with the community throughout the month.




If you have a link to add, please share it in the comments.

Introducing... Kajam! 0

Wan • 2 years ago on 1st Kajam 

Missing Alakajam! already? Fear not! In-between the main competitions we will run longer, more relaxed events. Kajams are month-long jams where the goal is to practice a specific aspect of game making.

The theme of each Kajam will not be elected by votes, but instead chosen by a host picked every month. For this first month I will be that host, announcing the topic on October 13th! (UTC evening). If you're interested in the topic, you'll have a whole month to work on a small game and submit it to the competition.

Detailed Kajam rules

Competition results are out! 7

Wan • 2 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

Thanks to everyone who took part in rating and commenting on games, and congratulations to the winners! You can discover the results here:

Solo rankings | Team rankings

We hope you had fun joining this competition, hopefully the first of a long series! Since this is the first time we're running it, we'd love to get your feedback through this 2 minute survey.

Next events

Here's the calendar for the next competitions. While the next Alakajam! will be hosted in February, we'll run smaller events in the mean time, focused more on learning, sharing tips and experimenting. See you then!

1st Kajam > 13 October - 19 November 2017 (what is this?)

2nd Alakajam! > 23-25 February 2018

Behind the scenes…

Despite the appearances, this first Alakajam! was not just the work of wan (ewww, look who's speaking of himself at the 3rd person):

Also, shout out to the various streamers (in particular DanaePlays & Aurel for their hype marathon), who made the event much more lively :)

This Sunday, watch the DanaePlays marathon stream 2

Wan • 2 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

Our friends DanaePlays and @Aurel300 will host a marathon stream this Sunday: they will try and play all the games from the jam (at least those they didn't try yet)… until the jam results are revealed.

If your game wasn't played yet, make sure to tune in and request it to have it played live! And of course, let's all meet at the stream at 7pm UTC to discover the results together ;)

What When Where
marathon results hype 12:00 - 19:00 UTC

Final days for rating games 2

Wan • 2 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

Dear Alchemists,

You have until this Sunday, 7pm UTC to rate and review other games. When the time runs out, the final rankings will immediately be revealed!

If you submitted a Solo/Team entry, make sure you have at least 10 votes, or you will not be featured in the final rankings. To make sure you can reach that goal, you should aim for rating at least 10/15 games.

Rescue mode is on

For the final days, the event's games page features a selection of games nearing 10 votes, go rescue them!

This is it! Congratulations to everyone! 21

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

The 1st Alakajam! is now complete! Congratulations to everyone who entered the event, and in particular to those of you who managed for the first time to make a game in 48 hours! It's quite an achievement :) We hope you had fun!

Next step is: the rating phase! You are invited to go play and test each other's game during the next two weeks. On October 8th, we will finally reveal the results of the community votes.

Site issues

We'd also like to acknowledge the little issues we got, from the crazy theme-announcement-mixup-thing, to the server availability issues around submission hour :) We've learnt a lot this week-end, and got reports for various bugs regarding our freshly built site (NB. there's still an annoying one causing occasional crashes). Everyone has been very supportive and understanding, so we'd like to thank everyone who joined, making this a very enjoyable first event.

Hopefully the 2nd Alakajam will be even better! If you want to book the date already, we have chosen the 23-25 February 2018 week-end for that one. But for now, it's time to play some games!

Unranked jam: the end is near 0

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

The unranked submissions for the 1st Alakajam are approaching their deadline!

Go submit your game before 10pm UTC to enter the event. There will not be a submission hour after that, and the jam will be closed for good at that time, so make sure to at least create your entry page by then.

Good luck with your polishing and testing! Almost there!

Time is up! Submission hour is on 5

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

Put your pens down! The competitive jam has just ended, and we are now in the submission hour.

If you haven't already, go submit your game right now, even if you don't have an upload yet! You will always be able to update your page later. Around 8pm, we will officially shut down the competitive submissions, leaving only the Unrated division on.

See you at 8pm for the grand opening of the ratings phase!

Final hours for the ranked jam, submission hour 0

Wan • 3 years ago on 1st Alakajam! 

As the deadline approaches fast (too fast…?), here's some details about submitting your games:

  • As you already know, you have until 7pm UTC to finish coding & playtesting your entries. After that point, stop adding features to your game!
  • After 7pm, you will still be able to submit your entry thanks to the submission hour! Until 8pm UTC, you will be able to package, upload and submit your entry. Still, make sure to submit as early as possible, even if the game is not uploaded yet, because after 8pm, the Solo & Team divisions will be locked. Also, I can't promise we won't have traffic issues ;)

To create your entry, browse to the "Games" section of the event, and look for the "Create entry" button.

Game voting will open right after the submission hour. Meanwhile, Unranked jammers can keep jamming until tomorrow evening, where they'll still be able to submit entries.

Good luck with the crunch time!