Red Owl Games

Making Games Together
to Play Together.

Operation Cartwheel

16 May 2019 | 3 Minute Read

We finished our first game jam and considered it successful. Oblation wasn’t the most fun game but it was finished! Considering our work environment of two kids, one who didn’t really feel like sleeping while we were participating in the game jam, it’s totally a win. Next time, we plan to set the bar a bit higher and maybe send the kids off to have fun with their grandparents.

After we finished up 2 > 1 we decided to focus on wrapping up some loose ends and prepping for the game jam. We planned to figure out where we were going to take Red Owl Games after the game jam was over. Well, we followed through with that plan and then spent several hours talking about the possibilities. Some of the things we talked about were

  • Come up with three ideas, one small, one medium and one large to work on consecutively. The first two ideas would be full games we would release but not plan to sell. The strategy here would be to build a fan base. So once we’re ready to build a larger game, we would have a fan base to sell it to.
  • Take 2 > 1 and fix everything we think is wrong with it, add multiple levels so that it’s a full game, rewrite any systems that were hacked together and release it as our first full title for sale.
  • @Rocktavious would spend time honing his art skills. We discussed the possibility of him doing all the art for a children’s book he’s never read. That would give lots of ideas for a place to start. I would build pong by myself. It would allow me to build a full game by myself while using @rocktavious as a resource. Then circle back and figure out where to go from there.
  • Pick an idea and just start developing it with the knowledge that we would just iterate over it and over it until it’s perfect. Essentially end up rebuilding all the systems multiple times as we learn more and improve our skills in all areas.

We talked and we talked about the pros and cons of each of these and ended up going with… none of them! We decided to build a medium size game (~5 month timeline), basically until the next Ludum Dare. Then circle back yet again.

It was time to come up with an idea! We do have an ongoing brainstorming page, but nothing was jumping out at us. So we found a game ideas subreddit and posted for ideas. We got a few ideas, and one that really jumped out at us.

A Defender-style side-scrolling shmup, but the top half of the screen is the sky and the bottom half is underwater. One player flies a plane up top, the other pilots a submarine on the bottom.

@Rocktavious and I both really love this idea (Thank you DCSoftwareDad!). There are so many things that can be done with it! Power upgrades, unique enemy types, boss battles, different kinds of play modes. The list goes on an on. Not to mention neither of us has worked on a game that required enemy AI. So we’ll gain some knowledge as we work through how AI works. We also already started looking at Pooly for spawning enemies and found out that we’ll also be able to leverage it to manage enemy waves. Win!

So we have an idea! Yes! Next step, planning.

Time Frame: Approximately five months
Working Cycles: 2-3 two week sprints per cycle, for a total of about 4 cycles
Start Date: May 12, 2019
End Date: September 30, 2019

Our first sprint is planned, we’ve started work, and things are going smoothly so far. We expect to hit the delays of life along the way (kids activities, trips, sleep…) but are hoping to have a great mid-sized game in the end!