Global Game Jam 2011 Retrospective

31 01 2011

This past weekend I participated in my second Global Game Jam. This year the theme was “Extinction”. Zach, the pogrammer I worked with, and myself, both managed to come up with a similar idea that was essentially instead of extinction of a species, or a planet, we came up with the extinction of the entire universe. Thus, we made “Big Crunch”

Made using Flixel, Big Crunch is a platforming game with a very simple premise. The universe is collapsing around you. You must run through the collapsing universe, dodging pits and falling blocks smashing into platforms in order to reach a warp in space-time known as the nexus of the universe. This will allow you to escape the dying universe and enter another one. Unfortunately that universe is also collapsing, so you must run again. It’s kind of like “Sliders” only everyone dies at the end.

Gameplay is very simple, only involving running and jumping (and occassionally double jumping) but that’s mostly due to how hectic the game is.

In the background, tiles are coming off revealing static beneath. In front of that are more objects and particles flying through space, and in the foreground tiles are smashing into platforms, creating holes and debris. So really you have enough to worry about with just running and jumping.

The game randomizes between 5-7 different tilesets to keep things visually interesting, and also randomly determines if you’re going to run left or right to get through the level (indicated helpfully by a pointing hand at the start of the level). We also had planned to have the player possibly have to ascend or descend through a level to escape, but descending would be too easy and ascending would be too hard we felt, so we left it out.

We also weren’t able to add more background elements to make things more interesting, which is really the only thing I can think of that we could have put in had we more time. Well that and maybe me making a walk cycle for the player character that doesn’t look really silly, and a screen explaining the controls.

If you’d like to play the game you can download it from either the Global Game Jam page for Big Crunch here, or just download the standalone executable from my dropbox here. Since we omitted info about the controls, I’ll repost them here to help people.

Run: Left and Right Arrow Keys
Jump: Up Arrow Key
Double Jump (half power of regular jump): Up Arrow Key while in the air.

I hope you enjoy the game as much as Zach and I enjoyed making it. Personally I can’t wait until the next Boston-area Game Jam, whenever that may be, and I’m definetely looking forward to Game Jam 2012. I just hope the theme isn’t “The Apocalypse” for that one.

Ablative Starfighter: 2010 WPI D-Term Game Jam Game

18 04 2010

In roughly 48 hours, Graham Pentheny and I created a working version of Ablative Starfighter, the space shooter game I’ve been trying to prototype for a while now. Graham did all of the coding while I did the art and sound, as well as coming up with the core concept.

The theme for this Game Jam was the Seven Deadly Sins, and I felt that my ideas for Ablative Starfighter could suit both Greed and Gluttony quite well.

Made in Flixel, this version of Ablative Starfighter is a bit different from the envisioned format of a veritcal shooter, instead being in the style of geometry wars. But the principle I feel applies to any sort of shooter. Basically your ship can upgrade itself to fight enemies, but with every upgrade it acquires, the ship becomes slower both in speed and maneuvering. Essentially this is where the greed and the gluttony come in, since you can weigh yourself down with upgrades and damage tank, but you’ll be more susceptible to actually getting hit. However, it’s a two-way street. You can purge upgrades as your bomb-type weapon, freeing yourself up at the cost of armor or weaponry. For this version we stuck with 6 upgrades, alternating a weapon and armor upgrade for each tier, and limited the number of enemies you face before taking on our boss, Munch of 38 Studios (they were one of the sponsors of the Game Jam). You can play the game at Graham’s WPI-hosted webspace here. It’s more in a demonstration phase since you only fight a small number of enemies before the boss and then the game ends (the boss also having an insane number of hitpoints). At some point Graham and I will probably turn it into a more full-fledged experience with more enemy types and so forth.