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Our First Game Jam - Pack Rat 🎒🐀


TLDR: go play the game!

Pack Rat: A Point & Click Adventure Game!

Back in October 2023, Luketns and I competed in the Cozy Autumn Game Jam 2023 hosted by Firith Studio, who is someone I've followed on YouTube for a while. This came at a time when both Luke and I were able to collaborate for a few days without much interruption. We found out that having time to collaborate like this was key. After working on a few game projects, we both felt like we needed to take a project to completion. A game jam was the perfect way to do that. Not to mention we would hopefully get some feedback from the community and (hopefully 🤞) have a game to show for it!

Day 1

Since we had been working on another game for a bit, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to start building the project so there was a lot of setup that needed to be done no matter what game we ended up making. I got started as we were talking about ideas for what we wanted to make.

We built Pack Rat in GameMaker. A while back I decided on learning GameMaker because most of the games I want to make are 2D. At the time, GameMaker had a lot of impressive games that had been made using it and it was gaining a lot of traction online. This was before Godot really took off. There are a number of awesome resources for GameMaker that just weren't there for Godot at the time and GameMaker seemed to be leaning really hard into JavaScript, which is what I'm good at, so it seemed like the perfect fit.

luke drawing our main character

Halfway Point

We had a lot of the game mechanics in place but none of them felt right. Our other projects we had worked on were all controller based. Pack Rat however, is a mouse only game. Using the mouse as an input device wasn't something I had done before, so it took a little getting used to. Not to mention, pathfinding and object interaction was a lot more complicated than I had anticipated. We had to scrap a lot of the work I had done near the end and redo some of it. Luckily, I found a much better API that put most of the work on the engine.

// This line does it all! Tells the player to walk to the mouse position
// and find their way around any walls.
mp_linear_step_object(mouse.x, mouse.y, 0.5, obj_wall)

Final Day

Unfortunately we didn't get to work on the jam the full time we were allowed. We ended up submitting the game about a day and a half early. That being said, we had a blast and are so proud of what we were able to produce in such a short time.

By the end of the jam, Luke had redrawn almost all the art again, and I had rewritten all of the complicated bits to make them much simpler. Not to mention created an inventory system that was called out a few times in the comments for being pretty nice. I was shocked how well it came out considering I had never built anything like this before.

early screenshot of the game

Jam Results!

We ended up placing 35th out of 125 entries on itch.io. Not bad for our first game jam! We got a lot of great feedback and we're really happy with the game. If you're interested in following our game dev journeys, follow us on Twitch/RatRaceStudio.

pack rat placed 35th out of 125 entries on itch.io
Here are a few of our favorite comments. People were way too nice 😊. some of our favorite comments from itch.io