Game Jam Round-Up (#7DGGC and #ScareJam)

I’ve been a little busy recently so I didn’t get chance to write a round-up for either the Gentlemanly Game Challenge OR the Scare Jam. Yes, I know it’s been a while since both of them… quite a while – but I don’t care! It’s time to round them up and discuss how they went! Grab a glass of wine substitute (grape juice) and enjoy my game jam round up! Cheers!

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So I’ll start with the Seven Day Gentlemanly Game Challenge. It was interesting to see what people took from the idea of ‘Gentlemanly’ as a theme. There was a whole lot of steampunk stuff – which I approve of, however I’m still not sure if steampunk always equates to gentlemanly or the vice versa.

We had a nice array of games. Team Noname (Now known as Volatile Element) made a cool RTS game in Unity. Kieran Hicks (who is now working with me on Hastag Dungeon) made a game in which you play a hobo who must rise through the ranks in order to get into the country club. There were some really juicy ideas in the game entitled ‘Monoculus Rift’ which placed the player in a retro environment as seen through a fancy monocle.

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The Scare Jam was awesome. I can’t believe how many people turned up to make games. I was so impressed by the turnout from every year of the computing courses at Lincoln. All the games were pretty well done too and there was a great deal of variety among them. I’m not entirely sure why I chose to do a game jam based on scary games since i’m a very jumpy person myself. This was particularly evident when I jumped halfway across the room when playing one of the games.

Halloween

Alex Saye won the prize for the overall best use of mechanics for his game “14565” where you play a blindfolded person attempting to escape from a terrifying monster. Its lack of visuals and reliance on sound really made for a great experience as your imagination fills in all the blanks and makes it far more terrifying. You can download it here. Wear headphones.

Kieran Hicks received the award for scariest game. His 3D Gamemaker maze game pushed the boundaries of what most of the judges thought could be done in the software. Plenty of jump scares all around.

Team Volatile Element gained the final award for most interesting use of the theme for their game “Child’s Whisper” for the Oculus Rift. It was a surreal and spooky experience that had the player controlling their right and left eyes with a controller.

Duncan Rowland gave out a special award for a game developed using the Mindwave. This game tried to gauge the players stress levels in order to change the environment around them. It was a very interesting insight into getting the Mindwave hardware integrated with Unity.

As with all the game jams I’ve ran at Lincoln i’m always impressed at the creativity and skill the students have. It’s great to see people who are passionate making games and I love to give them opportunities to just make games for the hell of it. It’s my hope that at least one or two of the games will be developed further after the jams are done – there’s definitely a few gems that deserve the attention of the gaming public!

 

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My First Ludum Dare Is Over!

So I just submitted my finalised build of the game to the Ludum Dare website. It’s probably got more bugs than I can shake a stick at, but I’ve fixed as many as I could find in the last few hours and added as much visual polish as I could. It’s now time to pack for tomorrow’s trip to Wolverhampton for teaching stuff and then put my feet up and have a cup of tea. I am knackered!

I proudly present “THE EVIL REVEAL” a game in which you play an evil CEO who has plans for world domination. You are about to present your evil plans to the company’s board of investors… hoping that they’ll all fall into line and become your evil minions. Unfortunately for you: All of your employees have consciences, and will eventually become scared of your insanely evil ramblings. When they get too scared, they’ll attempt to flee the room and alert the authorities! Luckily, you have an array of dastardly traps set up in order to kill and maim your enemies!

Evil Plan Reveal

So here’s a little post mortem from my first attempt at a Ludum Dare:

What Went Well:

  • Programming/Designing Speed: The time-period I had to make the game was quite tight, not only due to the 48 hour limit but also I had some other things on at the time… I’ll talk about them in the second section.
  • Idea Generation: I came up with quite a few ideas in the morning for the game I was going to make, but I’d like to thank Alex Saye for providing me with the inspiration for the final version of my game by showing me this Mitchell and Webb comedy sketch.
  • Graphics: I really like the style I achieved in this game, I was going for a style similar to that of Lone Survivor. I think it works quite well and its definitely different from what I normally do when it comes to art in games… not to say that my traditional style menu screen didn’t pop-up like usual.

What Didn’t Go Well:

  • Lack of OOP methodology: I’m afraid I slipped quickly into a non-object oriented approach quite quickly when I started this project, unfortunately meaning I ended up with LOADS of arrays for storing different Board Member variables (like whether they were on fire or if they were dead.) One day I’ll learn to pre-plan my classes… but right now my clsSprite.cs file has never really done me wrong!
  • Going Out Drinking: I kinda might have gone out drinking with friends on Saturday night. This probably cut out a massive amount of time I could have used to make the game better. But I feel that I made up for it by coding til about 6AM afterwards though.
  • Sleeping In: Pretty self explanatory – I’m in serious need of a fixed sleep pattern as I keep waking up at midday. Like with the point above this cut deeply into my possible coding and asset creation time.
  • Balancing Issues: The final game is a little broken if you play it right. The flame-thrower is really OP right now and it spreads like wildfire between the Board Members and always guarantees a kill. It kinda makes the Tesla Coil useless… but it’s still a lot of fun to hear a loud zap noise as the people get killed by it.
  • Lack of AI: I considered having some form of AI to allow the board members to avoid getting hit by certain traps. It would have been really cool to see them avoid traps that they’ve seen other board members get nabbed by – unfortunately due to time constraints and my lack of path-finding knowledge this was to remain a dream!

Just to finish things off, here is a trailer for the game that I whipped up in about ten minutes: