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6:13 AM
February minijam result
This is a tiny postmortem about our game at this month's minijam which took place yesterday, it's written from my perspective.
It was a full house this time, so it didn't prove very difficult to lure unsuspecting people into creating a game together with me. I got talking to Andrew and Henrihs and presented them with the basic design concept I made earlier, and it went from there.
Sure, there were themes: Minimalistic, Cube & Local multiplayer. But we ignored them mostly.
For this game Andrew did almost all of the artwork and Henrihs programmed the entire thing in java. I drew the sprites and did basic design.



How did it go from design to game?

So the basic idea was to make a sneaking/chasing game where you'd be an elderly person in a nursing home, trying to escape. When you manage to get away though, you're confronted with billboards for gravestones and funeral services and in general with the harsh way the world deals with your situation, and that would be the end (it's based on a real life place, see the early concept for more info).
So the most obvious thing about the design was that there wasn't a clear win or lose condition (besides from escape), which is pretty standard for games. We had some extended ideas in mind but it would always come down to a situation similar to those classic endless arcade games like Burger time and Donkey Kong and such. You were always going to lose eventually. Your death would always be inevitable. But hey, that doesn't stop us from living in the meantime right?
So we mused on that a little and got to a pretty clear point of what tasks needed to be done. Andrew started working on a couple of photographs I had taken so that we would have scenery for the game to which we could match the action. Henrihs started creating functionality for scrolling image layers, movement paths, animation and scaling. And I doodled some sprites.
Of course there were a ton of ideas left that we didn't get to implementing, like the street chase scene on ice or the nurses sending you back to your room. But almost all the assets that were created made it in and from the result it's pretty easy to imagine how the game would be expanded.



Lessons learned?

- One of the things that always happens when you talk through ideas with people is getting loads more ideas from everybody. Which is great! Chaotic inspiration is one of the best things ever in my opinion, like perpetual energy. This of course goes hand in hand with trying to focus on the basic elements first and keeping a core intact that can still be created within 8 hours. Knowing when to cut and what to focus on is very important.
- Modular design is nice too. It allowed us to build everything up from the ground and make sure and steady progress. In this case we focused on visualization and movement first. As a result most gameplay logic didn't make it in before the deadline, but because mostly everything is visualized it's very easy to understand and communicate how and where the interaction would take place. So things like adding animations for chase behaviors or having nurses order you back to your room would all be small additional tasks that would make use of the pieces we built so far and could be accomplished in a short time.
- When walking on ice, shift your center of gravity forward and walk like a penguin. You won't fall over that way. Penguins are smart.
(Or buy a walker/rollator instead of a gravestone)



Free stuff!

You can get the game right here, it contains a java jar file, so you'll need to have java installed. It should run on pretty much any machine. You can control the grandma by using the arrow keys.
The game is also open source, you can download the full java project right here. It contains everything, including the art.
The character sprites I made are public domain, so feel free to use them however you want. The background art however is probably a bit sensitive since it has real names and real locations so it's better to not re-use them.
The sprites can also be downloaded separately from open game art.


Category: Experiments | Views: 331 | Added by: Garfunkel
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