Some of you will be familiar with the Global Game Jam, an annual 48-hour event which packs groups of willing and able game developers into tiny little boxes and ships them off to special venues around the world to make games around a super-special theme.
QCF Design takes part in this competition every year, our closest Jam venue being the University of Cape Town. Last weekend, we rocked out in their computer science lab, consuming clinically unsafe amounts of pizza, sugar and caffeine while succumbing to the occasional exhaustion-induced reality detachment.
You know, fun.
The background music here is a confused mix of FTL and power metal.
Most of the jam is pretty unstructured — lock yourself in a room, make games, occasionally perform facefood cramming — but the beginning involves keynote speeches, venue rules and sponsor blurbs. After that, devs are encouraged to form groups, pitch ideas and decide what they’re building.
QCF almost never follows an idea pitched in the first twenty minutes, and we tend to take our brainstorming to something of an extreme. This year was no exception. A good third of our weekend was spent on thoughts and messy concept scribbling before actually settling down to write code or make art: perhaps at too great a cost to productivity this year, though the technique has worked before.
The theme was a sound recording of a heartbeat, which immediately compelled us to write a game about pretty much anything except hearts.
You don’t want the same idea as everyone else, after all. (Venue list from globalgamejam.org )
Our venue had several dozen participants and eventually produced ten games. The full list can be found on this page. Two of them were made by members of our team and we present them here in all their rough-draft glory:
This one is about trains. Don’t ask why. It needs more work and user-friendliness and balancing and whatnot, but our experiments with a “reverse tower defense” using mobile turrets and relative firing arcs produced some really cool dynamics that have flesh-out potential. Also, salmon-tinted backgrounds.
This idea actually was pitched in the jam’s first twenty minutes or so, but only got off the ground about halfway through day two. It presents a drum circle around a night fire, and entails setting rhythms and drummers in order to match feedback from the night sky. The game ended up having a pretty cool sound and art vibe going, snapping up some prizes in the local judging process.