It’s hard being me. On the one hand, I’m putting all my spare time into IGM and supporting whatever Indie initiatives that I can. On the other, my personal game time has dipped well below one hour a week. Oh the humanity!
But seriously, real life always seems to get in the way of what we love and appreciate the most. We all wish we could make games for a living, or write about them, or just play them for hours on end. Those of us lucky enough to have the talent to create even the simplest of ideas still put in the hard hours at work before returning home to code their most treasured of ideas (sleep need not apply).
So what happens when you get a full weekend to code at your hearts content? The recent Global Game Jam (GGJ) provided just such an opportunity, where teams would build their own ideas within a weekend time frame and based on a chosen theme. Jams are a growing medium, not a week goes by without either a local or worldwide event or, in the case of say Double Fine, an internal Jam to help build new prototypes towards brand new ideas.
Recently I had the opportunity to see the GGJ in person, by visiting my local community group who took part over the last weekend in January. Headed by Let’s Make Games, the community came together at Edith Cowan University and spent the time wisely, coming up with some great concepts based on this years GGJ theme ‘the sound of a heartbeat’.
I must admit, I was well out of my depth when I walked in. Despite the articles I’ve written up here over the past few months, I’m still very much a junior when it comes to game development itself. Having said that, for the brief time that I was there it was a welcome experience. I could tell the folks that I met were really passionate about their work, keen to show their talents to the world by creating some top quality games across many different platforms.
I was impressed not only by the dedication of everyone involved, even those I didn’t meet in person, but also of the high level of both the artists and developers. To create anything in such a short time frame really puts a strain on the old brain cells, yet the results do speak for themselves.
The winning Perth game was Adventricule, a side scrolling platformer that has you controlling a nanobot and jumping from one red blood cell to another in order to progress through each level. Other concepts and prototypes included fellow side-scroller Debug My <3, the above mentioned tower defense style game Queen of Heart, the reverse zombie survival game Eibmoz (i.e. you begin dead and must be the first to revive fully in order to win), and Doctor Squad M.D., a multiplayer cooperative game in which each player is given a particular role in order to save a dying patient. That’s just scratching the surface, you can see the rest of the submissions via the Perth GGJ site.
On a personal note, I do hope to spend more time with my local community this year. That’s what IGM Aus is all about, getting out there and seeing the world of indie development first hand, to share with you the stories that I hear and the games that I see. Unfortunately my time is still split between what I love and what pays the bills, but here’s hoping 2013 provides more opportunities for me, and indeed for all of you, to get out there and be a part of something big.
A big thank you and congrats to the Let’s Make Games team and for everyone involved in Perth’s Global Game Jam event. I hope to see you all among many others across our talented country over the coming months! Game on!