Open Jam Aotearoa 2018

On March 9th 2018 I went to Massey University in Wellington to attend Open Jam Aotearoa 2018. Compared to others, this was a relatively small game jam with only around 20 attendees. After having an over ambitious scope for my last game jam, I decided to take a bit more conservative approach this time around, especially considering that I worked by myself this time around.

This jam had a really good atmosphere and was super relaxed. The theme was one of the more interesting ones that I’ve had, Soup.  I spent the first hour brainstorming ideas before settling on making a card game.

Recipe for Success was a relatively simple game involving  two decks of cards, Recipes and Ingredients. Players draw ingredients and attempt to collect enough to complete recipes. Players could also “Stir the Pot” which would allow them to steal cards from each other’s hands.

Once I had completed the rather basic graphic design on the cards, I printed out a deck on card and did some play testing with others at the jam. The rules went through a few iterations and ultimately was pretty fun to play, albeit each round was a bit long.

I also imported all of the cards into Table Top Simulator. I was able to implement most of the basics of the game using the built-in lua api. Overall, this was one of the more successful game jams I have been to. I was able to build a complete game in 48 hours that worked as both a physical and digital card game, so I was quite happy with the results.

Global Game Jam 2018

On January 26, 2018 I took part in yet another Global Game Jam! Working with a team of six that formed at the event we had a bit of a slow start. Once we got things under way, we worked hard to create a game in Unity 3D within 48 hours. The theme for the jam was “transmission”, so naturally we were overconfident and scoped out a networked, multiplayer strategy game. We envisaged a two (or more) player game based on a graph of nodes representing computers in a network. Each player would have a starting node, and the aim would be to take over more of the network than your opponents by the end of the time limit.

Despite none of us having tackled a project like that before, we launched in to it and quickly decided to base our game on the Network Lobby example from the Unity Asset Store. While we started out strong, we quickly realized how little we knew about networking in Unity 3D and made some concessions to our scope in an attempt to get the game across the line.

Our final game ended up having two players over a network clicking on as many nodes as they could to “capture” them before the time limit expired. The game did play quite well over the network, but getting that working took up so much time that we weren’t able to implement as much gameplay as we had wanted. The end result was really only a small subset of what we wanted to achieve, but it did work, and we did learn a lot in the process. Particularly about scoping appropriately. I’m looking forward to see what we can come up with at the next Global Game Jam.

PxlJam 2017

On the weekend of 15th of September, 2017, I trekked up the hill to Victoria University to take part in PxlJam, a game jam that is organized by the university. Most people had already pre-arranged their teams, but I was fortunate enough to find another talented programmer to pair up with for the weekend. Since there were only two of us, and I had more background in art, I took on the role of creating most of the 3D models used in the game, while also doing a bit of coding as well.

For this jam, I was particularly keen on making something using  augmented reality in Unity3D. Prior to the weekend, I had done some experimentation of a few different AR systems and decided upon using Vuforia as it had the most user friendly debugging system. It was extremely convenient to just be able to connect a webcam via USB and use that for testing within the Unity editor.

Over the course of 48 hours, we managed to create a small puzzle-box type game with a couple of levels. It mostly worked, and people seemed to enjoy playing it via an android tablet. It was a fun learning experience and I’m looking forward to trying it again and improving on the skills I’ve learned from this experience.

KiwiJam 2017

On the weekend of 21st July, 2017, I took part in KiwiJam, a 48 hour game jam being held at various locations around New Zealand. I went along to Yoobee School of Design in Wellington as a lone gun-for-hire and quickly found myself part of a group of six. We had quite a good mix of talents, with two programmers (including myself), two artists, a game designer and a sound engineer.

The theme of the weekend was “In to the night”, which my group re-imagined into a game we titled “In Two the Knight”. The game is a co-op two player action game where the goal is to survive as many days as possible while fighting or avoiding an ever increasing number of enemies. The game ended up being rather harder than we intended, due mostly to the fact that there was no player health system or lives system. As a consequence, getting hit, even once, by an enemy meant instant death and game over for both players! However once players became used to the controls and learned to work together, the game was quite fun and had a good amount of replay-ability.

Global Game Jam 2017

On January 20, 2017 I took part in the Global Game Jam and worked in a team of six to create a game in Unity 3D within 48 hours. I was one of two programmers on the team and together we created an endless runner game based on the theme “waves”.

Playing as a bat in search of fireflies to eat, you must use your echo location waves to see obstacles in front of you and avoid them. The game uses an endless randomly generated level with varying obstacles so that every play through is different. The game can be downloaded from the Global Game Jam website here: