Philly Game Jam 2013
Over the first weekend of November I took part in my second Philly Game Jam with Team Necrodestroyer ( Aaron Segal, Alison DeMartino, Issa Revell, Jack Byerly, and myself ). The theme was “Ghost of Video Games Past” and somehow we created “Old Tjikko”.
It is an environmental simulation / game where you have to tweak and exploit the alien environment to refuel each of the three fuel ports of your crashed interdemensional ship to escape back to your own world. See if you can beat it before blue dies out or your computer runs out of memory.
We won the WTF? Award for Old Tjikko (pretty clearly), which is our second WTF? Award as we won last year for Devil Valley Masters too.
UNHOLY CONGLOMERATE and Leaving Space for Play
This week last I made a little game for the 2013 7DRL Challenge. Using the rot.js rogue-like library I created a game in which the entire dungeon is cursed in the traditional rogue-like sense, no items you wear can be removed. The one thing you can pick up are the limbs of your slain enemies. As you travel through the dungeon you dismember your enemies as they attempt to dismember you, you must discard your human limbs for superior ones found along your slain foes.
The thing that probably took me the longest with this game was figuring out what I wanted to do for the challenge. I originally got into rogue-likes after reading accounts of other people’s experiences attempting to beat Nethack. The intricate stories and emotions evoked by the game seemed much stronger than those you might feel from a pre-determined fully explicated game. Modern RPGs are scripted and can tell great stories, but don’t quite allow the same freedom of imagination and exploration that a game like Nethack does. Keeping the graphics simple make the development of new mechanics and objects much simpler, and also gives the player more space to imagine and innovate in their play.
I get a similar enjoyment from reading the combat logs in Dwarf Fortress which tell convincing stories of gruesome desperate battle and of a combat system so full bodied to convince me to relish in the shattering of my dwarves skulls. While I can watch my character slash down bandits in Skyrim with incredible detail, I am not drawn in by the visuals. Dwarf Fortress doesn’t even let me take control of the combat (at least in fortress mode) I am purely a spectator watching to see if I was successful in guiding my dwarves. I feel much more like I’m writing a story than inhabiting someone else’s.
While I wouldn’t say UNHOLY CONGLOMERATE achieves these things, it is very simple with no mechanics fully fleshed out, I would say that it has been a good experiment in finding where some of that story telling play comes in. It was legitimately fun to play and create an abomination with three axe wielding orc arms and a single wolf leg running around cutting apart trolls. I think as a proof of concept it is definitely successful and I will probably keep experimenting with it for a bit, but I also have to keep moving on and trying new things. I’ve still only made a few games and I can only hope to be as successful experimenting as I was this week regularly.
JV Nomicball – Devlog 1
I’m getting started creating a local multiplayer game called JV Nomicball. JV Nomicball is a simple sports game where the rules are constantly changing. Each player is trying to reach a score goal before any other player but the methods of scoring and allowed actions change each time a player scores a point, leading to constantly mutating gameplay.
I’m working on getting the basics of the game mechanics down, such as running jumping, throwing, catching, and tackling. Once these simple actions feel right I will get down to the real challenge of building a system through which rules can be created and altered during gameplay while preserving fun. My current idea is that every player has a set of rules they must follow, these rules are based off of many factors such as:
- If the player is holding the ball
- If the player is in a “zone” on the field
- All other players
- and possibly other factors
This would allow for rules to be defined such as:
- Only players in a particular zone can throw the ball
- If a player is holding the ball in a zone they score
- Tackling allowed everywhere except for in a specific goal
- Players holding the ball aren’t allowed to run
Combining rules and zones can create a coherent or incoherent game.
Ludum Dare 25 – Ghosting
Check out this little exploration game I made for Ludum Dare 25 this weekend. I had a bunch of trouble with the theme (You are the villain) but had a lot of fun just playing with making funny models and animations.
Panspermia my game about the proliferation of life throughout the universe via meteors has been release for iOS and Android! Wooowee!
Philly Game Jam
This past weekend I went to the 2012 Philly Game Jam and had a ton of fun.
My team was Team MegaSweet and we created Devil Valley Masters. It was a really great experience, no one in our team had ever attended a game jam but everyone did great and made a ton of awesome stuff for the game. I did all of the coding, level design, and general tinkering with the game, My brother Aaron made all of the art, My girlfriend’s sister Alison DeMartino made all of the music and sound effects (from scratch!), and my brother’s coworker Melissa Hand brainstormed and wrote the story.
I’m pretty proud of the product that came out of the jam, we won the WTF prize because of the crazy gameplay and wild art, but beyond that I think the game was also really fun to play and genuinely innovative. I was surprised with how much work we were able to get done in the short, but focused allotment of time we were given, and I’ll definitely do more game jams in the future.
My brother and I have always talked and worked at making games together but this is the furthest we’ve taken a game, most of the time it doesn’t get much past the concept and simple gameplay implementation. I think being forced to have a playable game so quickly made us really just get started and polish as we go along, rather than focusing on having the perfect idea. In fact in the first four hours we had the basic game mechanic working! We came out of the jam scheming about doing mini game jams frequently as a way to start a game and evaluate ideas.