Ever since doing Ludum Dare 31, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next 48 hour competition or jam. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait that long, as Global Game Jam happened at the end of January. Games submitted for Global Game Jam aren’t rated like those for Ludum Dare, but the rest of the event is structured similarly – you turn up, get given a theme to work into your game, and you have 48 hours to create and submit something. The nice thing is that start and end times are based on time zones rather than a global start time, and the theme isn’t voted on by participants, so you tend to get less terrible themes. You’re encouraged to work in a team, and so I worked with Tom for this one.
Our team photo. The cat represents team spirit. And meowing.
Due to the time constraints, we firstly decided 2D was a must. Then, We decided on a pixel art style, like above. The theme for the event was ‘What do we do now?’, so our original idea for the game was to make a platformer with levels that branch off each other based on the challenges presented to the player, but we didn’t get enough levels completed so that didn’t work out. We managed to have different outcomes to levels though, so our plan did come to life in some respect.
We should totally focus on pixel art more often.
The protagonist, Nathan, starts off the game by getting fired from ACME Plumb Inc., and is thrown out the window of the 5th floor, falling into the first level. From there, he needs to do tasks for people in the city to get to the next level. We focused on the humour elements of this game more than we have in previous ones, such as the second level where someone has lost their cat, and instead of handing it to her, you can throw it in the fire and watch her get angry.
The gameplay mechanics are straightforward – the challenges are generally ‘move x to y’, or ‘pick up x, give it to y’, so nothing too strenuous. We were pretty happy to actually have something done by the end, because at the end of Friday, we really didn’t have that much except some (awesome) pixel art, mainly drawn by Tom.
Since GGJ2015, we’ve done a little bit of work on the game for the Warwick Game Design two-week challenge, with the theme of ‘low resolution’. There were a few collision issues (such as a really cool infinite jump bug and totally unhelpful sticking-on-sides-of-things bug) that have been fixed, plus a bit of level rejigging. Most awesomely, we’ve managed to get it working on Android! It’s pretty much exactly like the GGJ version, minus those bugs, because we haven’t had the time to add any levels. We’re hoping to continue work on it in the future, and port it to other platforms, because we find the simple and humourous gameplay, coupled with the pixel art style, has potential for becoming a fully-fledged game.
You can find the download on the Global Game Jam website.