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Global Game Jam 2015

Another year, another Global Game Jam! This year the theme was ‘What do we do now?’ Not really as good as last year in my opinion, but a theme is a theme!

So this year my game jam experience was a bit different. Last year it was amongst 150 people or so, crammed into SAE Institute in London, passing out under the tables for a few hours a little bit of kip on Saturday night, and ending up with a very INcomplete game.

This year, since I was doing the game jam with my PhD programme, there were only 11 of us. Additionally, we were booked into a 4-star hotel (which happens to be part-owned by the Uni of Essex. Convenient!) and had a butt-load of pizza, sandwiches, red bull and coffee provided. This was as close to ‘Game Jam Royalty’ as someone can get I reckon!

Not only that, but together with a super-team comprised of Mihail, Andrei and Christian, we actually managed to finish our game (more or less!). You can play it here.

Crazy Cabbies is inspired by Crazy Taxi by SEGA, but in our game each wheel is controlled separately. This means that you have to work with your other team mates in order to guide your taxi to your fare, pick them up and deliver them safely whilst not running over people or crashing into cars.

Recommended for minimum 2 players, ideal with 4, for ‘testing purposes’ you can of course play it with one person with 4 fingers!

It is strongly recommended you spend a few seconds in the tutorial first!

Made in Unity 4.6.

I was responsible for the idea and the world design, level building and procurement of art and sound assets.

Enjoy!

New demo – Unity BombJack clone

So I recently made a clone of Bomb Jack in Unity.

I’m not sure how many people will remember this game first time round, but for me it’s a forgotten classic. The gameplay was tight and good fun and the mechanics were easy to grasp but different enough to be interesting and distinguishable from other platformer games.

If you’re not familiar with Bomb Jack, then you can view the Wikipedia page here, and see some gameplay footage here. It’s a single-screen platformer from 1984 made by Tekhan (now Tecmo).

Here’s a video of my demo in action:

 

You can play the actual demo here.

 

I was a London Global Gamecraft prize winner!

So Saturday just gone was the London Global Gamecraft game jam at Skills Matter (near Barbican/Old Street). My first game jam, and if they are all as well-run and have as nice an atmosphere as this one then I’ll be doing many more!

Being my first game jam, I didn’t really know what to expect and just went down with my laptop (and naively, a second monitor, as if I was going to have space for that!) to check it out and see where I could fit in. But it was all good – I soon found myself in a group with the wonderful and talented Robin, Yuji  and Luke.

Global Gamecraft is slightly different to other jams in that they are one day jams where you have 11/12 hours to make a game (cf. the more common 48 hours-ish/weekend format). So, after the theme was announced at 9am, we had till 8pm only to get everything sorted! Pretty damn tight restraints, but great to get you focused!

The theme was ‘The Impact of Prism’ – an interesting topical theme and well chosen in my opinion.

Our team decided to go with a variation on the classic ‘memory game’, where you match cards based on similar symbols or names etc. In our variation (called ‘Totally Guilty!’), you play the part of an NSA operative who is investigating the files you have on random people from around the US. As all are presumed guilty until proven otherwise, any matching criteria (such as interests, background etc.) is seen to link potential threats together and make them more suspicious. It is your job to connect these people together and flag them as threats and candidates for surveillance and/or arrest.

Whilst mechanically simple, our game used randomly generated faces and biographies to add extra interest. These faces and biographies were assembled using random combinations of pre-made facial features/characteristics and facts.

What we ended up with were some truly nightmarish faces and interesting/comical/disturbing/all-the-above personal backgrounds!

After pizza had been consumed, beer had been relished and judging was complete, we were chosen as the ‘Best Team Game’ which apparently meant it was the game that judges would most like to see be developed into a fully-fledged release! Cheers judges!

When I get hold of the code I’ll take some screen shots to show the full results, but for now I leave you with some photos of the ‘attract’ screen with our certificate proudly displayed by it!

Final Credits:

  • Design – Myself, Yuji  , Robin, Luke (with Pepe and Cristina tagging along and helping!)
  • Coding – Yuji  and Robin
  • Art and soundtrack – Luke
  • Writing – Me.