Ludum Dare 36 was last weekend, and I made a game! The theme was "Ancient Technology," so I really wanted to do something with a tech tree.
We were brainstorming what we could do with that when my audio guy, Will, was like "What if it's Jesus... on a dragon?" We all had a laugh, but then decided to run with it. The premise of the game is that humanity has lost all of its technology so Jesus has to recover it. The twist is that it's a young Earth, so it's only been around for 6000 ...(Read more)
So this was a cool thing! Most of the game jams I do are just for fun - make a game to sharpen your skills and meet new people. Cartoon Network Game Jam was the first one I did that offered prize money, and with that also came catered food. Training Jam was my second - a hackathon for educational video games. It was along the same lines as Cartoon Network Game Jam in that it offered prize money and had the goal of producing new game ideas, but this one was specifically aimed at corporate training.
The event was run by ...(Read more)
For the first time since last summer, I made a game I can show! Ludum Dare 35 had the theme "Shapeshift," which was decent. I went to a jam site in Eugene with my audio guy, but we showed up a little late and it looked like a lot of people already had teams. I was thinking of doing an abstract puzzle game to minimize art requirements, but at the last minute we teamed up with a group of 3 who were discussing what they wanted to make.
Their programmer had never made a WASD/mouse shooter before, and since ...(Read more)
What a crazy weekend! Just got back from jamming with a team for the Cartoon Network Game Jam, and let me tell you it was the most intense jamming experience I've ever had. First, we had to apply and be accepted as a team to even be able to show up. Fortunately, we got in!
The contest has cash prizes and high-profile judges from Cartoon Network itself, so we were all ...(Read more)
We hosted a site for Global Game Jam this year! It happened at the end of January. We had two teams of 5 (counting us) and a team of 6! One team made a game in Twine...
another used GameMaker...
and we used Unity (Not pictured, sorry). My team totally over-scoped and couldn't upload in time, but we incorporated FMOD for the first time ever. Exciting for future projects! We jammed in Unity for my second time ever, so part of it was just getting comfortable. It's super rough.
You're trying to conduct rituals to get rid ...(Read more)
Another month, another jam - only this time I was helping to organize the event too! Corvallis Game Developers just had our first jam on the Oregon State University campus, and it was a blast. We had a fairly small group - about 15 people - who split into 3 teams to make games using the theme "Heat." Ours ended up being a semi-turn-based exploration thingy about cold-blooded creatures trying to survive an ice age. Our team was pretty big, with a lot of artists helping here and there. I also got to show Stencyl to some people who had never used it ...(Read more)
Global Game Jam was last weekend, and it was amazing! I got to meet so many interesting people, and even helped organize the event in Eugene. We had just under 30 participants, quite a few of whom were right where I was a year ago - had never been to a game jam and didn’t quite know what to expect. I’m super happy to have given back a little and helped people through the process as best I could.
As for the game my team made - it’s sort of an existential platformer. Check it out here! It was ...(Read more)
Pickup Styx, my team’s submission for LD31, was certainly the least buggy jam game I’ve been able to crank out and had great music and art to go with it - it’s okay for me to brag since I didn’t touch the music or art. I’m happy with the result overall, but I find myself questioning whether I over-explained the game or under-explained it.
Communication with you - the player - has always been a challenge for me. This time around, we decided to have a manager feeding you the goal and the rules of the game ...(Read more)
A week ago I was just finishing up the most ambitious game jam project I’ve done to date. Compared to projects I’ve worked on in the past, Voyage of the Magpie is less immediately rewarding - there’s no jumping, no shooting, and no skill points to spend. There are, on the other hand, coins to pick up, mazes to run, tickets to manage, and click-heavy mini-games. The goal of the project was to create a set of three smaller games that were somehow connected to meet the theme requirement for “connected worlds.” As a secondary (but more obvious ...(Read more)
Just finished a week-long solo jam on GameJolt. The game had to have the same resolution and color limitations as the original Game Boy. This was my first time doing pixel art, and I learned a lot about color depth despite only having access to 4 of them. I spent a huge amount of time on procedural level generation, but as the deadline approached I decided to rough out one big level that demonstrated most of what I could do with the current game elements. Those ended up being pretty limited - 1 enemy type, and a bunch of items to ...(Read more)
This month I decided to take part in Lowrez Jam, a challenge to make a game using only 32x32 pixels. Extreme art constraints can be exciting, and this one immediately got me thinking about how to set up a grid of sprites. I originally planned to make a 6x6 grid with 6x6 px sprites, but then realized that I can't do math. I had been wanting to try making a turn-based strategy game on a really small grid, but procrastination got the better of me. What I ended up with instead is a crappy version of Triple Town.
I ...(Read more)
I was excited and nervous heading into this Ludum Dare, as usual. I was excited to see my jam group again, and to work with Britt as my graphic artist since he's been cranking out game projects like crazy for the last 4 months. He did an amazing job on our Mini LD submission Terrarium, too. I always go into jams feeling nervous, too - nervous that as a programmer I won't be able to deliver on the designs we come up with. Time pressure forces tough decisions, and some of my toughest calls during jams so far came ...(Read more)
Another month, another jam! Crashdown was a Titanfall de-make intended for Mini Ludum Dare #50 (theme: de-make), but was delayed due to plague. I got sick just before the jam was scheduled to officially start, so I couldn't finish the thing. It sucked watching the art and sound assets just sit in a Dropbox folder while the deadline passed. Oh, well.
The project was surprisingly challenging despite being a simple one-stage run and gun. The toughest parts were figuring out how to make the various types of wall jumping work reliably and figuring out what to do when the ...(Read more)
As fun as it was to play with alpha layers on Terrarium, constantly changing the alpha values of those layers was killing performance. I've updated the game by removing those layers, and added more environmental clues. Most of the people who played the game reported only being able to find 2 or 3 of the 4 secrets. I'm not sure how to use that information. Some of it was because of poor conveyance of cause and effect, I'm sure, but letting people take the time to discover how things work is part of the magic of this ...(Read more)
Though I had no plans going into the weekend, one of the guys I met at Fertilab was looking for someone to help him program a concept he had for a game jam. The jam was a Mini Ludum Dare - a more relaxed version that allowed for rehashing of existing content, and one that didn't have peer rating systems. I would have liked peer rating again, just to know how I was doing.
This was the first game I've collaborated on remotely, and since it was a team of two we were able to manage communicating pretty easily ...(Read more)
Global Game Jam just ended tonight, and my team at Eugene's Fertilab Thinkubator was able to submit a game before the deadline. The game we made is called Ensphere and can be found here. We had a dozen people on our team, which is the largest group I've worked with yet. There were pros and cons to having a team of that size.
If you look at the credits for this project, you'll notice a lot of people on the design team. In the early stages of the project this meant that ...(Read more)
I thought it would be good to give this post-jam wrap-up a permanent home here. You know, for posterity.
It's not surprising that the first jam game I was able ...(Read more)