Monday, February 1, 2016

Post Game Jam Update

Progress update on Global Game Jam Oslo

GGJ went off to great start for us at Oslo, we all gathered in the auditorium, where two talks were presented by Sam Partridge of Failbetter Games and Tom Kail of Inkle Studios. Of course the keynote was also shown.

New this year: we were all split into random practice teams in order to encourage people to form teams with strangers. The teams had a few minutes to come up with a game idea on the spot and then present it. I ended up on team 5. Thanks to this, something funny happened:

During the "find your teams" chaos, we all held up our hands with 5 fingers, resulting in us greeting each other with high fives. This then spawned the idea that we could make a a high five game. It then evolved into a body language and symbol game. We were a bit unclear on the rules, but it goes something like this:

A gesture based game

2 people stand back to back. One person is Leader, and the other is Follower. The leader makes a gesture with their arms. A third person, the interpreter, looks at the gesture and tries to communicate it in 2 words. The Follower then has to mimic the gesture based on those 2 words. If the Follower manages, they win a point and become leader. The next person in the queue then takes a spot as the new Leader. If the Follower doesn't manage, the follower goes to the back of the queue and the next person tries to be Follower.

Forming the new teams

After the team excercise, we were free to form teams any way we liked. I and Tzer0 had agreed to work together, but we had no concrete plans and ended up teaming up with the two speakers who stayed back in the auditorium. As time progressed throughout the event, more and more people migrated to our team, to a total of 7 members! That is the biggest team I have been on in a game jam.

Team composition:
Programming: Samuel Partridge (@SamuelPartridge), Tom Kail (@tomkail), Jan Anders Bremer (, Eivind Hyldmo
Art: Christina Lewis (@SkyfishArt), Martin Joakim Ulstein (@Howlstone), Jonas Nordby,

The new game

Theme: Ritual
The game idea we attempted also came from the practice team session. It is based around a time loop where some cultists are trying to perform a ritual, and other characters are trying to stop it. Since there is a time loop, the player controls all of the character, one turn at the time. (or you can play multi player) The first round there is only one character on screen, the next round there will be two, but you only control the recent arrival. Different goals will be displayed on the screen, so if you play as the knight, you might want to kill a cultist. Or if you are the sheep, you may want to run away.
I don't know much about the coding but it sure looked like the programmers were busy, and we didn't quite finish it. It was playable before the deadline however, so I consider it a success.
Additionally, Tzer0 (Jan) made a fully functional audio system involving fading in and out of synchronized tracks, that would turn in and out from the menu, making  sure the audio was never interrupted. 
That means my goal of having "a game that does not sound annoying to someone not playing it" was halfway met. (the sound effects were still haphazard and the baby literally explodes)

Personally, I contributed to the art. I wanted the game to be set in space but I was overruled, so a lot of my work was made redundant. I wish I had understood sooner. Still, the tiling floor, altar slab, and background were made by me, as well as the blue cuthulu alien character. I had issues taking screencaps near the deadline so they are brutally blurry. I used "Sword & Sworcery" (game) as a style guide for the other artists to make the characters with.

Things I learned:

  • Use images with pixel ratio dividable by 4 because something something programming something unity.
  • How to pull, commit, and push art into game with git, using sourcetree. Will git again.
  • How to open project in Unity. There is a first for everything.
  • When something is bothering you, just say it. There is no time to be annoyed and the consequences are probably tinier than you think.
  • Don't assume you understand what anyone meant. You never understand what anyone meant.