Global Game Jam

A few weeks ago I atended the local event of the Global Game Jam. This event proposes a challenge: do a game in 48 hours, based on one topic. The topic of this year was the heart and the sound of it. At the begining of the event, they organize teams to work and each team decides what kind of game they want to do.

Our time was composed by two developers, a designer and another person with knowledge of game design and story telling. Later, another artist and other programmer joined us. None of the programers had experience doing games, so it was a great chance to learn something new.

Before we started, we had to decide what kind of game we want to do, the style of the games and the technologies behind. Our first decission was to do a browser game and later being able to use it on mobiles too, we decide to use a pixelart style, so it works on small screens. When we decide to do a browser game, now we were limited to a few technologies: flash or javascript/html5. Flash is an old technology and a closed platform, this reduced our options to just javascript.

Once we decided to use javascript, we have a new set of choices. There are a lot of libraries and frameworks for doing games. We were complete newbies, so we decided to use Enchant.js following the recomendations of the GGJ organization. Maybe it wasn't the best solution, but helped us a lot to start.

After those decisions we were ready to start. Our artists and game designer started preparing the maps, characters and other arts. Meanwhile the programers learn how to use enchant and building the login. This was a double chalenge for me, because my experience with javascript is really limited.

The other programer started with a set of python scripts to prepare the tile sets and the collissions matrix. As he was doing this, I implemented the javascript part to create the maps. I was suprised to see how easy it was and achieved it in just a few hours. With that done, we started with the movement of the different characters and the game logic.

After a long weekend, a lot of coffee and only sleeping five hours, we didn't finish the full map, but we converted two parts of the map in two little maps that we can use for a demo.

We were really happy with what we achieved. We did a playable game without any previous experience in just 48 hours. After a few weeks, we put a few more hours to finish the full map. Now, you can play it here and if you are interested, you can download the code from github.