Of Mice and Bad Choices: Post-jam notes

Of Mice and Bad Choices: Post-jam notes

This post is essentially a repost of the twitter thread I did right after the jam, with very little editing.

Itch.io game page: https://dlowl.itch.io/of-mice-and-bad-choices
Github repo: https://github.com/d-lowl/of-mice-and-bad-choices

I've recently participated in Siberian Game Jam (November 2023 edition) (itch game jam link). Fun, many participants. I liked the alt-theme (as evidently many others also liked): Mice were crying (Мыши плакали in Russian, as in "мыши плакали, кололись, но продолжали грызть кактус"). So yeah, I took it quite literally.

I'm Reggie, the Elder Mouse trying to stop our reckless young'uns from nibbling those nasty cacti. They won't listen to reason, so I've got a cunning cheese plan to lure them out of danger with aromatic fromage. Help me strategically place smelly cheeses around our maze, using their powerful scents to redirect these unruly mice away from the prickly plants. My nose can barely take the stench, but with your puzzle solving skills we can steer them straight out of the warren. I may be old, but I ain't letting these young mice make mousetakes on my watch!

There's literally like 2-3 minutes of actual content in the game, as I've set out not enough time to design puzzles. But I'm still quite happy with the result. Plus, here's a gameplay video (that the gamejam orgs asked for), it spoils the game a bit, but there's not much to spoil huh.

Below is my reflection on the game jam in no particular order.


Time spent

To qualify for "Best solo game" nomination, I couldn't use 3rd party assets (without alteration), hence I went by the route of creating everything myself. Time spent:
Video – 00:19
Submission – 01:05
Sound – 01:00
Art – 02:30
Levels – 03:00
Code – 12:42

Total time spent – about 21 hours. Even though, the jam itself lasted for 3 days, I had only two days off, so here's what I had to work with.



The most of time was spent in Godot, coding the game in (I wish I recorded time more granularly). I definitely overscoped again, 2 days and a bit was not enough to do what I initially planned from scratch (I'm still learning bits of Godot after all).

A lot of the complexity of code comes from tile maps. I wanted to use tile maps for level creation. But I ended up with a mix of multiple layers on the tile map + more complex objects (not supported by the tile map) to represent the level. It's messy. Ideally, I would want a better way of handling tile maps, that would allow for complex nodes as tiles. Maybe there is? I can imagine that I used them entirely wrong, so I'll revisit this part of documentation later.



I've actually bought and tried Aseprite for the first time and liked it a lot. Drawing simple sprites and animating them was so much fun. Here's a bunch of things that I ended up with.

I'm not as happy with the floor tiles though, that needs practicing.

Overall, I liked the process, and the fact it took me not too much time to produce results that I'm more or less satisfied with. Will definitely do it again.


For SFX, as before, I used rFXGen. Really easy to use, really versatile. Turn the knobs here and there, and then add them to the audio player in godot, Boom, you've got sfx. As for music, I decided to ditch it entirely. Partly because I'm lazy (and I haven't really got a process of creating soundtrack quickly from scratch yet), partly because it felt alright without it (same way as in Mr. Platformer)


At the start of the jam I tried to use Claude, to brainstorm some puzzle ideas, but it was pretty useless (although I've used it for some flavour text in the end). After rejecting a dozen of stupid puzzle designs I landed on the one we have. However...

However, I now realise, what I should have done differently for the "stinky cheese": it should not stop mice, it should repel instead. That would allow for a much more complex potential puzzles to be made. And it would feel more intuitive for players (I've seen some people getting really confused with it).

Although, as I mentioned I haven't set out enough time to for puzzle design anyway. I'll record the comments and responses during judging of the jam anyway. Should be useful.


Main takeaways are:

  • Understand Godot tilemaps better
  • Practice drawing ground/tile-like stuff
  • Repel, don't stop; that makes more sense
  • Level/puzzle design takes more time (duh)

Now I'll get to playing and voting on other games. I suppose judging will bring some more insights.

This one actually felt fun enough, complete enough in the end, and expandable enough, to try making a fully fledged game out of it to try selling on itch (or steam? google play? clearly I haven't done my research in these regards). Or better still fix the mechanics, do the proper demo and apply for some thinky games funding (like I've already nudged Astra Games on Twitter, half-jokingly, but who knows) .

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Jamie Larson