Global Game Jam 2015 was a BLAST!
PRENOTE: Yikes! Just went to update the Terra Neo rules link and saw this draft post that’s been sitting here for 8 MONTHS. Well, here it is 🙂
Global Game Jam is an awesome annual event I’ve done for 3 years now.
In 2013, I attended one in Manhattan. The prompt was to design a game based on one of Peter Molydeaux’s tweets (a fake twitter profile set-up parodying Peter Molyneaux’s game design style). I wasn’t particularly familiar with coding or video games, so I ended up on a team where we made a card game. It was fine, but I was sad I didn’t learn anything about video games.
In 2014, I attended the one at the NYU Game Center. The prompt was: ‘We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.’ I had been using Unity for a couple months and had even made my first Oculus Rift build, so I was hoping to make a VR game. My friend Dan talked me out of it. Instead, with Dan, Morgan, Danton, and some people we’d never met before, we made a sidescroller called Walkabout where you play as a kangaroo and can either kick things or jump. Kicking things makes your kicks more powerful and the game procedurally generates more things to kick. Jumping makes your jumping more powerful and the game makes the terrain taller and thus harder to jump over. It was fun! After it was over, I kept working on the game to improve my Unity skills. In particular, I enjoyed adding Apocalypse Mode. Check out the latest build here.
This year, 2015, Dan, Morgan, myself, and Max Dumas (who worked with us in the 2014 game jam) were finally willing to work on a VR game, boosted by my confidence that I’d been making VR stuff for a year and felt very comfortable with it. The notion of a VR game attracted a lot of people, and at one point our team size grew to an unruly 12. The prompt was simply ‘What do we do now?‘ After batting around a few ideas including playing as a ‘fixer’ and playing as a Bowser henchman after Bowser dies, we settled on being a space pilot about to ride into battle who finds that their ship breaks down right when they were about to ride into battle. We liked the idea of hyping a player up into thinking they’re about to take part in an epic space war, then taking that away and leaving them alone in the dark without any instructions. Once we settled on the process of ship-fixing being similar to Mastermind, it seemed totally doable within 48 hours.
Frankly, I had a blast. I was staying with Dan and commuting to Washington Heights, but I continued to work on the game on the train. It felt great to have enough coding knowledge that I could actively work on a lot of different parts of the game. I put together the VR components, the skybox, the cameras, helped with 3D modeling buttons, ship design, and we all voice acted (which was a ton of fun). In the end, I managed to make builds for both the magnetometer android VR and the clicky-cardboard VR, and both ended up with button issues, making it difficult to complete the game.
And yet, when it came for awards, our game was nominated for both Best Game Visuals and Best Game Audio and WON for Best Game Audio. Weee!! That meant that Thursday we were invited to showoff our game for playtesting. And that was awesome.
To play the game, tap the screen. Then during the opening ‘cut scene’, avoid being hit by asteroids by using the fire/move buttons above your console. Click the buttons by looking at them and tapping the screen.
When the cutscene ends, activate buttons by looking at them and tapping the screen. Deactivate them by doing the same. Check your progress with the big red button.
Here’s the different builds of the TIGER9:
Google Play: Android Non-VR (requires android phone)
Google Play: Android VR APK (requires android phone and vr goggles)
Oculus Rift DK2 (requires Oculus Rift DK2)
Web-player Non-VR version (requires… um, a web browser)
Hear me talk more about all this in Episode 03 of WACTS (Watch Alex Coulombe Talk Stuff):
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