Yesterday I participated in my first ever game Jam in a team of 3 with Natasha Op't Land and Caleb Op't Land. The game jam was hosted by the University of Wollongong. For this game jam we had 12 hours to create A game fitting the theme that was announced on the day. The theme was: "Less is more, More is better".
We spent the first hour brainstorming and sketching out ideas for our game that could fit this theme. We came up with an idea to create a puzzle/maze like game from a top down perspective. But the unique aspect of our game was the decision to have 2 different realms co-exist on top of each other. The two realms would be the 'Overworld' and 'Underworld'.
Our plan was to create the Overworld in such a way that it appeared very minimal and simplistic, while the underworld would be busy and chaotic. So one realm would be less while the other is more. We decided that all of the hazards and traps in the maze would only be visible from the Underworld while the Overworld would appear as a simple, safe, peaceful place. The image below shows a comparison of the same level as viewed from the Overworld and Underworld. The player is able to switch between realms but can only stay in the Underworld for A limited amount of time.
Once we had decided on the game we were going to make and a few of the core mechanics we we were about an hour into the game jam. So with 11 hours left we were able to start building the game. Natasha began to design the look and feel of the game and would later create most of the graphics and spritesheets. Caleb began to create some level designs on paper that he would later make into real levels in the game. While I began to create a basic tile-map system that allowed us to have both realms co-exist with only one visible at any given time.
Once we had the tile-map system working Caleb was able to quickly recreate his sketches into real levels. And we could begin adding elements to the levels. By the end we had 4 different obstacles for the player to face as they progressed through the 8 levels Caleb managed to create. We had boxes to block the players movement, Lava that would kill the player, Portals that would send the player back to the beginning of the level and finally spike balls that would roll around the level and kill the player.
Towards the end of the jam to all of our surprise we actually had a little time left to go back and fix a few smaller issues that we had ignored in order to get the game to a state where it is complete. All in all I am very surprised in what we were able to achieve in only 12 hours and had a great time at the game jam. Thank to everyone at the University of Wollongong that made the jam happen!
You can play the game in your browser here: http://nathankewley.info/games/2016-UOW-Winter-Game-Jam/
You can download the source for the game here: https://github.com/NathanKewley/2016_UOW_Winter_Game_Jam