Last weekend I participated in the Global Game Jam event for my first time, it was a really fun experience. This year, Google accepted hosting us at the "Google Campus TLV" for the whole 48 hours of the jam.
When Tim and I arrived to Google it was still a bit empty so we took a short walk around the office. It's a really great place with an awesome view to Tel-Aviv, really inspiring. We talked to some people and showed them our indev game. Then we set up our "working environment" near an available power source when Eli arrived. Later on, the "opening ceremony" started. A lot of sponsors rubbish until the awaited part of the ceremony started, the theme revealing.
I was a bit disappointed of the theme, it was an audio of the 'sound of a heartbeat' . We got about 15 minutes to get up with an idea and divide into groups. Eli, Tim and I decided to form a group together which will represent the KSindies I came up with the idea of a making game where the world is a "living" creature with an heart that you have to take care of. Eli and Tim developed the idea: Making some kind of an "environment" simulator where the player has to maintain the balance of the nature so the world will continue to live and won't die. The 15 minutes period has ended and we had to get back to the ceremony area. Each person who got an idea was asked to get on the stage and tell about his idea, which group is he in and which people the group needed (programmers, graphic artist, 3d modelers...). I did a short speech about our idea and said that everyone who is interested by our idea is welcome to join us.
We got back to our working environment to start working. We set up a Git reposity in Github and for the first time I worked on a code together with someone else. I was sure that there will be a lot of merging problems with Git and that it will be hard to work on the same code at the same time but actually it was really smooth and surprisingly simple. Later, we somehow met Assaf Halevi, a game sound designer. He proposed to help us with the sounds and music in our game. We were really excited about the music and sounds that he composed, we really liked it and I think that it added a lot of "meaning" to our game. A nice thing about our game's music is that as the world starts to die the music become sad.
We spent most of the first day prototyping our game, we did a lot of paperwork and calculations and a bit of the player movement programming. For lunch we took some burgers from a restaurant nearby, it was fun eating in Google while seeing all the people working on their games. Eli had to leave early but I still stayed there with Tim. Tim did a lot of great pixelart and I made some basic gameplay programming. After some hours we ran out of energy so we just walked around the place and watched other groups' games. We stayed there until 22:00 and then returned home.
The second day was really intensive, Eli and I arrived back to Google at about 9:30. Unfortunately, Tim was sick that day so he had to stay at home, but he helped us from home We worked non-stop on day two. The pressure was really high and we wanted to implement a lot of features. It was fun getting into the code and adding features one after the other. Our work distribution was nice: I did all the game logic programming and Eli did all the "math" programming. We had to cut out some features from our game and we didn't have enough time to fix some bugs but we are really happy from our final game.
After some hours the deadline arrived and we had to upload our game to the GGJ website and register it to the "closing ceremony". In the "closing ceremony" each group showed their game, there were some really nice games made in this GGJ and it was really exciting watching all the great work that all of the groups did. We've also showed our game and I also gave a short speech about the KSindies.
Now it's time to talk about our game: "A Garden Planet"
The world is alive… a fragile balance must be maintained! Watch as the dynamic world decays and fragments before your eyes — leaving you with the unmistakable conclusion that we cannot simply stand by while the world falls apart around us. Listen to the heart of the planet.
In our game you play as an angel flying around the world. We made some kind of an environment simulator consisted of animals and plants. As the time passes the animals get hungrier, the hungrier the animals get the unhealthier they get. When animals get hungry they eat other animals and plants. When animals or plants are eaten they die. We planned to add more features to the game such as water and new plants that grow from the animals' corpses and let the player to take part in maintaining the balance of the environment. Our goal with this game was to deliver the message that we can't just stand by and watch our environment decay and that we must take actions and try to save it.
The Global Game Jam was a great experience for me and I'm going to save some good memories from it