Already a while ago (the end of January this year), I participated once again in the Global Game Jam.
It’s very interesting to see how every year the Global Game Jam becomes bigger and bigger, with more participants all around the world.
The previous Game Jams were awesome, but this one was incredible. What made it especially memorable was the great team I joined, consisting entirely of HKU students (always my first choice).
The theme of this year was Infinity (a snake biting it’s own tail). After some very short brainstorming in the canteen with the group I just met, we decided we had good enough ideas to stick together and create something cool. With this group of people, dubbed ‘Infinity+1′, it promised to be good times. We were destined to make some impressive stuff in that short time-period.
After experimenting for a few hours with Gamemaker we ‘accidentally’ stumbled upon a prototype that was essentially two players shooting at each other. Whenever two bullets hit each other a wall would appear at that position. This wall would then block other bullets, but was also destructible. This made for fun gameplay, so we wanted to build on that concept. It still needed infinity though, so after some thought we added a zoom function. Whenever a wall would appear, the game would zoom out (the game space would increase) just a little bit. Cluster Fobia was born. Because the game was about increasing space I think we choose a space theme to go along with it.
A few hours and many concepts later we decided to go for this concept and focus on building it. It was around 2 o’clock that we settled for this and started the actual production, building from the prototype.
The two days that followed were filled with many hours of programming and adding features. Two members were constantly working on the design as I and another coder/designer focused on the development. The fifth and sixth members were working on the sound and graphics to make the concept come together nicely. Experience learned that Gamemaker is the weapon of choice in these situations and I am so happy we choose to develop it in that engine.
This time I had another learning experience though: no matter how far you think you are in development, you will always space out the production as far as you think you still have time left. What happened was that we made great progress the first day and worked until late that night. Because we were implementing stuff so quickly, we could design more stuff and we canned only a few things. This made the game as awesome as we could possibly make it, but I still had the feeling I failed in finishing it on time.
Still, the product we produced was impressive enough and I feel that I have pushed myself as far as I could possibly go. Wat was also really cool was that I had the opportunity to code together with another programmer/designer for the duration of the Jam. This forced me to communicate about the architecture and have debates on what was the best thing to do. From a messy beginning, I feel like we had optimized a lot of code better than most people could have done in that short time. Good times.