The IGMC continues to march forward, and we hope you are making fantastic progress on your entries!
One thing I have noticed with the IGMC, is that making games quickly is very very different from making games at your own pace. A fast deadline, like, a month, such as some contest that is really super cool where the prize pool just went over 20k recently, means you have to approach a game very differently.
On your own time, you can work on whichever parts strike your fancy, when on a deadline you need laser focus.
So what do you need to focus on? Should it be writing, should it be graphics, should it be music…
The way I see it, your first goal is two things: Nail down your gameplay, and then quick prototype that gameplay to make sure you can make it happen.
Every other thing is for naught if you can’t make something happen that you need to happen. Work on proof of concept of any event systems. Make sure the plugins you are using create the effect you want when combined (and that they are compatible at all!).
Use placeholders. Keep the writing to a minimum. Writing is always something you can add. Graphics are always something you can add. If you have planned your game around a mechanic that you can’t make happen, that is a LOT to go back and redo.
This isn’t to say that mechanics are the most important thing. In my opinion, the best games meld together their mechanics and storytelling. One informs the other which informs the other in and endless cycle. So, if you try to tell a story that you can’t back up with mechanics, your game will fail.
Prove you can build the mechanics you need to support the story you are making. If you can’t, adjust the story to the mechanics you can make.
Just be sure to learn what it is you can make, as soon as you can make it.