sexta-feira, 1 de fevereiro de 2013

Global Game Jam 2013: A little bit about the experience

Some time after (a few hours to be more precise) my last post, I embarked on a three hour journey to the countryside of Minas Gerais to participate on an experience I can only describe as incredible.

To the ones uninformed and the ones who are not familiar with the game development field, last weekend took place the 5th Global Game Jam, an international game development event. In 270 localizations in 58 different countries, programmers, artists, designers, musicians and writers got together with a single objective: to create a game in 48 hours.

With my notebook on my back and sleeping bag on my hand, me and three friends drove down to Rio Pomba, one of the host towns of the event. We were extremely well received and the structure, although it wasn't perfect, proved itself to be more than enough for a stable Jam (which was a relief considering my last experience with such event). There were two days of a lot of work, dialogue, a few disappointments and a lot of new friendships - most of them extremely talented developers.

As usual the theme was announced by the beginning of the Jam and as usual the theme was surprising:

By then we had 48 hours to create a game based on the sound of a heart beating.

With the purpose of keeping our energy drinks cold and avoid the collapse of our team halfway through the creation process, we left the headquarters and went on to buy some ice for our cooler, and when we returned we already had an idea formed.

Taking as inspiration the rhythmic gameplay of Bit.Trip Runner and the dark mood of Limbo, we decided to develop a game where the player had to run to survive a cardiac attack while keeping the rhythm of his heart stable. And although "run to survive a cardiac attack" sounds contradictory, the concept fit well the context, since the game happens inside a person's mind dying of a heart attack.

Based on an idea by the extremely sissy talented Hamilton, the game follows a simple logic: the character runs through a dark level procedurally generated while dodging obstacles (jumping or sliding) and keeps the rhythm of his heart by pressing space everytime the white bar goes through the HUD icon. If he falls or misses too much the character's heart stops and he dies. Also procedurally generated, there are itens that help or harm the player:

Adrenaline: improves the heart beat.

Poison: worsens the heart beat.

 Defibrilator: gives the player an extra life.
Cross: makes the player imortal for a short period of time.

The game was made with Unity Pro, 3ds Max, Blender, Photoshop and Audacity and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. There are plans for a web version.

Some images of the final game:

In two days we went through pressure, caffeine, discussions, changes and a lot of caffeine.
The way I see it, a Jam is an event every developer / aspiring developer should participate. It is an experience that besides fun, stimulates fast learning and the growth of the team.

By the end of the development odyssey and the presentations, our game was chosen and prized as the best amongst the participants in Rio Pomba. :D

But the real prize is to see a good piece of work being recognized and admired. Besides that, the contacts we made were absolutely worth it, especially they being extremely talented and thisty for knowledge upon the immense universe that is game development.

To everyone who were in Rio Pomba for the Global Game Jam 2013, thank you.

The the ones who weren't, here's the game page in the official GGJ 13 website.

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