Global Game Jam 2014 in Amsterdam !!!!

by on Feb.05, 2014, under News

Probably many of you know what is a Game Jam.  There are many out there as Ludum Dare, Global Game Jam, ….. I have been trying to attend a Ludum Dare for the last year or so together with my buddy @Stilghar_ . Finally we have decided to attend the 2014 Global Game Jam edition in the Amsterdam location. I can say before going in deep detail that has been an awesome experience, and I am really looking forward to my next Game Jam (Probably the next Ludum Dare in April).

So it all began on Friday after lunch. We left a bit early from work, in order to be just in time for the opening in the Amsterdam location. But first of course we pass by the supermarket to buy some groceries. The basics for this kind of events, potato chips, Monster energy drinks, chocolate cookies…. summarizing, all kinds of healthy food :-). After we got our survivals kits for the week end we drove to Amsterdam, park and start our registration process.

5 PM and we already  we have our badges (red color for programmers :P), so we just hang around trying to find a team where we can fit in. Somehow we manage to be part of a really large group at the end with a really different variety of skills and nationalities. We were 1 finis, 1 British, 4 x Dutch, 1 Lithuanian and 2x Spanish. In other words, 3 designers, 1 audio guy, 2 programmers,  2 game designers and 1 3D designer. It was a really large group and as you will see below, difficult to manage at the end, but I think we can be really proud of what we accomplish at the end.

Friday:  

Brainstorming

That is the best way to define our Friday evening / night. We started brainstorming about what kind of game we wanted to do. Space shooter was a recurrent idea (that is the reason behind the group name). Another recurrent idea was “Jean Claude Van Damme”. That Volvo commercial has had and big impact :-). Finally the idea was to create a platform, with some innovative mechanics using lighting and integrating the game-play with the music.

Saturday:

From being totally lost to finally get a close idea of what we want.

Friday before going to sleep for a few hours, we just had a team meeting. There we realized that our first idea was “lost in translation” . We were developing some gamplay mechanics and the level designers were designing a complete different level (using a totally different game-play). At that time was time to sleep, and better discuss this the next morning. After breakfast and a well deserved shower, we had a team meeting, and decided to go all of us in the same direction. We program team meetings every 2-3h, so we put everything together and continue. Under my point of view, adapting  the engine physics to adapt them to our game-play needs was the most challenging and exasperating task of Saturday (I never, never, never will use physics if the game does not require them).

Sunday:

5 min before the deadline, the audio wasn’t working.

We continue developing our game, really close now with all the other team members. Integrating everything (audio, graphic design, level design,….).  But the summary sentence just above, describes perfectly the stress level we handle the last hours. We skipped lunch and were programming and integrating things till the deadline.

 

Final thoughts: 

It was a really great experience, that show me / us that sometimes is better fast than perfect. The code standards where nonexisting during that Game Jam. I did things that when I saw them afterwards I did not believe that I wrote those lines of code. But at the end of the day, the game was working, we all learned a lot, and of course we had some fun :-). You can find more information about the game here. Last but not least important, a big hug for our team member Kevin, that he had to abandon the competition on Friday night due to family reasons.

 


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