This weekend was Global Game Jam 2017, which means that much like last year I ended up spending the whole shebang knocking together a complete game in just 48 hours. Not on my own, though: that would be crazy! These things are best tackled as part of a team effort. Last year’s game was Brituals, a social-awkwardness simulator set in a hellish parallel Britain (playable here). This year’s was Undercurrent, a nautical interactive fiction piece featuring rhythmical Mexican-wave action. The theme for this year was “waves,” by the way, which will probably be apparent in the range of games produced for the event.
This video should give some idea of what the finished game might look like: impressive, no? Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get the whole thing put together in time for the presentations at the end, but basically all the elements were there. If you download the source code .zip file on the GGJ page, you’ll find what we’ve got so far. However, if you don’t feel like poking around with that, have no fear! I spent a frantic three or four hours at the end of the event implementing the entire game in Twine, complete with an approximation of our central Mexican wave mechanic. It doesn’t have any of the audio or eye-candy hinted at by the video above (in fact, anybody who spent a particularly long time trying to uncover the arcane meta-mystery of Project Proteus is likely to find the overall appearance of this game very familiar indeed), but it is playable beginning to end and should give some idea how the finished thing would actually behave.
I feel as though I managed to weasel my way into a really strong team this year. Laurence had a hand in the audio for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and Mark is the guy behind the Posetastic drawing reference app. Fiona wrote the bulk of the actual story in the game (my main contribution was the nonsense island encounters), and Morrison tackled getting the interactive text into Unity. I’ll definitely be checking out how to do that myself because if I could manage even half of what he did, my interactive fiction would be at least 800% more stylish and flashy. Continue reading
It’s been a long weekend. I wanted to get this post all wrapped up yesterday, right after I got back from the event, but those plans got scuppered for two reasons. One is that the trains were “disrupted” yesterday. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I do know it made the journey twice as long, required twice as many changes, and ultimately ended up with me getting back home on a train travelling to Brighton.
The other reason is that the Brighton Game Jam resulted in a ton of awesome stuff and I wanted to do it justice. But more on that later.
Friday at the Jam was really quite relaxed. Everybody met up down the pub, and for a couple of hours there wasn’t even the option of working on anything in particular because this year’s theme hadn’t been announced yet. Everybody works towards one particular theme at these things: I imagine that’s partly to prevent people bringing too much stuff they’ve set up ahead of time, partly just for funsies. Because it’s a Global Game Jam, the theme is announced at 7pm in every time zone. Half the world already knew the theme by the time we got it in the UK, and we had to keep it secret from the other half (until Hawaii finally heard about it at 3am our time). Since the Jam is now finished worldwide, I’m definitely safe to say that this year’s theme was Ritual, and that it resulted in some pretty neat things. Continue reading
It’s likely that this month’s newsletter and this week’s game article will both be delayed as I’ll be spending the last couple of days of January at the Brighton Global Game Jam. Heading off to this thing was kind of a last-minute decision, and it’s come at a time when I’m already juggling a lot of other stuff. Still, it’s too good an opportunity to miss.
This week’s (late) game article will most likely be a write-up of the event, but over the weekend itself I’m hoping to keep people updated via Twitter (most likely using the hashtag #BrightonGGJ16). I would have liked to do something like this at the Winchester Writers’ Festival this year, so I’ve since used my staff discount to get hold of a phone with a camera and a steady internet connection. I’ve done a few “make a thing in a really short time!” events in the past, but not typically with games and never as part of a team, so this should be something interesting to try. I’ve got no idea how the weekend will play out–and it sounds as though it could be very, very busy–but I’ll do my best to keep people posted if I can.
If you’re not fussed about following along on Twitter, there’ll still be some neat stuff coming up once the event is over. Besides whatever I end up writing about it, there’ll also be the game itself: event rules require all the entries to be made available for anyone anywhere to play and see, so hopefully I’ll be linking to some good stuff on Sunday!