This weekend was Global Game Jam 2020, and although I had planned to tackle my fifth consecutive attempt at the event over in Brighton (back where I first started), I ended up going for a third year at the University of Southampton. The weekend was bookended by work on Friday and a competition deadline on Monday so all in all it was easier to avoid any long journeys. I took a fairly relaxed approach to the challenge (not sleeping under a computer desk like last year) and, with the help of Paul Robins, put together a project I’m really quite happy with. The theme this year was “repair.”
Mash Mash Restoration is the first Game Jam project I’ve taken the lead in that wasn’t made in Twine. I put it together in GDevelop 5 (much like Flappy Bard, Cookie Cracker and Bananarchy). As the title mich suggest, it’s (almost) a rhythm game in which you use three different sorts of repair tools spread across three conveyor belts in order to fix an endless stream of broken(?) robots. Continue reading
I said a while ago that I was planning to take part in the Global Game Jam in Southampton this year, and I invited anybody interested to join me and possibly form a team before getting to the event. My approach last year was pretty much just to turn up and improvise, so I was really glad this time around to be able to tackle a project with people I already knew.
This was a first for me for two reasons. One was that I had a fairly solid idea what kind of skills people on the team would have going in, and the other was that I ended up not really writing very much at all in the end. All four of us are writers, so when it came to producing a story – even an interactive one – we were all set. My job was more or less just to come up with the Twine gubbins to keep track of everything that’s happening in that story. Continue reading
From the 26th to the 28th of January, you’ll find me at the University of Southampton for the Southampton Global Game Jam, working on something that should at least vaguely resemble a videogame.
2018 will be my third year joining in with the Global Game Jam, but unlike the last two I won’t be making a trip to Brighton for the occasion. There are a handful of reasons for this:
- Brighton is kind of a hike for me and between promoting Ten Little Astronauts and exhibiting Girth Loinhammer’s Exponential Adventure I’ve already travelled around a TON over the past few months.
- I feel like I know a good chunk of the Brighton crowd by this point (and it’s pretty likely I’ll see some of them at other events later in the year).
- I actually don’t know all that many game developers based near me, and this seems like a good opportunity to sort that out.
Because of all of that, I’ll be staying in Southampton this time around! One other upside is that I figure it’ll be easier for anyone I know who maybe doesn’t already make games but would like to have a go. My usual approach to these things is to turn up (possibly late, if the journey involves trains), wander about chatting to people, then join whatever group will have me and/or seems to be thinking through the neatest idea. However, on this occasion I figure I might actually be in a position to take a team with me! Continue reading
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!