Powered by LootLocker: Helping solo developers build games for community events

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Alexander Bergendahl4 min read
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Ryan is a 20 year old, self-taught developer from the UK. He created the game ‘Catch Up!’ as part of an itch.io game jam. These events are full of talented solo developers, making wildly creative games. So a tool as easy to use (and affordable) as LootLocker comes in extremely handy.

Developing a festive spirit

The Game Jam that Ryan entered was called Secret Santa 2021. Not familiar with Game Jams? They’re group events where lots of developers are challenged to each make a game from scratch within a short space of time often based on a secret theme revealed at the start of the jam.

The Secret Santa 2021 jam, in Ryan’s words, worked like this: “Another anonymous game developer gives you an idea for a game, and you need to make it within the one-month time period – as a Christmas present.”

We love events like this. The creativity, the resourcefulness, the sense of community – there’s really no better way for young developers to hone their craft.

Getting into a rhythm

After Ryan sent off his own Secret Santa ‘letter’ he got one back – setting his challenge for the jam.

“My giftee asked for a simple, hard rhythm game,” said Ryan. “As I wanted to work more with 3D Unity, I thought of the idea of having a 2D Rhythm game, within a 3D space – where you travel through a 3D map as you play the game.”

This idea went on to become Catch Up!, which was one of over a hundred entries into the event. Ryan used LootLocker to create leaderboards for the game.

“I was just proud to finish the game. Especially as I’d never played rhythm games before and never worked on a project alone. Although it had some bugs, the game was fairly polished, and…it worked – which is enough to make me proud of myself.”

Helping the next generation of game developers to teach themselves (and one another)

It’s easy to assume the great game devs of the future are, right now, studying at elite colleges or getting mentored by the best in the business. But they’re not – they’re on places like itch.io, teaching themselves the art of game development from scratch.

Ryan is a pretty typical example of this. He’s been making games for only a year, but is already doing the single most important thing for aspiring developers – releasing finished games. That’s not easy, especially when you have only your passion and determination to motivate you.

“I find the hardest part about Game Development is just staying motivated towards your game,” Ryan says. “Developing a game takes a lot of time, and during this time it’s very easy to get bored of the game concept – especially because you’re seeing the same sprites, same art, same scenes day and night.”

“But I love the little realizations that give you progress. When you’re having a problem or getting stuck on an annoying bug, and then a light switch flips in your head and you have the solution.”

Making game development quicker and easier

The promising young developers in these game jams are usually short of two things: time and money. So having affordable, easy to use tools is essential. That’s why Ryan chose LootLocker to create his game’s leaderboard system.

“I found out about LootLocker on YouTube,” says Ryan. “From a video that listed the best leaderboard tools.”

“I’m not a very experienced developer, but LootLocker was very easy to learn, easy to setup and worked well for what I needed. Took me around 30 minutes to get LootLocker into my project and set up my leaderboard.”

“I only needed the leaderboard feature for this project. But I looked through the other features for future projects, and found adding them is just as simple as adding results to the leaderboards.

Want to take part in game jams? LootLocker’s here to help

We specialize in the more functional, less fun, parts of making a game. Leaderboards, asset management, notifications, leveling systems – we make all these things quick and easy, so you can focus on the more creative parts of your game. LootLocker works straight out of the box, no matter your game's size, genre, engine, or platform.

If you have any questions, we’d love for you to get in touch with us.

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