31 January, 2011

Global Game Jam

It's been a while since I've updated (Little City updates and a Fallout: New Vegas design review are in the pipes!) but I do want to post about participating in Global Game Jam!

This was my first year attending and, as luck would have it, the first year that a game jam was hosted in San Francisco. Beyond some advice given to me by previous game jam participants, I went there not knowing what to expect. In the end, I found a good team and we all worked our butts off!

The game is called Good Vibes and can be viewed and downloaded from the Global Game Jam website here. This game is based on tower defense, with an interesting twist. The premise:
"The year is 2011. Times are sad. The Great Recession destroys good vibes everywhere. Job loss. Poverty. Heartbreak. Death.

Emotions are contagious. Depression is epidemic. Every suicide leads to more. Without good vibes, people will become extinct.

The people of Lyubomir have another way: living by cooperation, celebration, human connection, sharing and talking care of others. They are joyous, productive and recruiting. The Happiness Co has deployed Super Well-Being Assault Tower (SWAT) teams to rescue people.

Your SWAT Team has arrived at Dunder Mifflin, where morale is at an all-time low. Place your towers to spread good vibes and eradicate the Blues before they eradicate us."

The project was a fantastic introduction to Unity. I needed to do some file I/O, but found JavaScript lacking. Our Lead Programmer said, "Just use filestream." 10 minutes later, my .js script was humming away with C# code stuck in the middle. Mind = blown.

In addition to programming, I helped with concept and game design: namely reconciling gameplay with thematic elements, documenting designs, and establishing preliminary tower types and stats (rate of fire, damage, range, etc.) I also processed drawn 2D artwork into sprite sheets to plug into the game and located all necessary sound effects (huge thanks to the freesound project.

So yeah, Good Vibes. Check it out!