This Global Game Jam 2014 was different to me than previous – I had a team from the start (1.21 Gigabytes), venue has been changed and we planned to make local-coop game from the start. Unfortunately, not everything went well from the beginning: we could not find a place to work and my plans to find a designer have failed. But finally we found a quite place to settle in and I decided to do graphics for a game myself. And so it started.
The idea of the game jam was something we not quite have expected: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”. We started to thing how it is even possible to turn this into gameplay. I was first to suggest that it might be cool if each player would control himself and there would be number of NPC following him. So, “we see them (NPCs) as we (players) are”. Goal of final game is to identify yourself and an enemy player, and them shoot him.
You need good memory and vigilance to do so. At every moment each player control himself and half of the dots on the screen. Every few seconds dots player is controlling are shuffled. But there always be at least one dot he is controlling – player himself. So using elimination rule player can find out who he is on the screen.
Main challenge there is to do it faster than your enemy. If you shoot from the start of the game, than you know who you are, but you are also exposed to the enemy player. Because there is long (3 seconds) cool down between shots, enemy player could use it to his advantage to shoot you.
As I have done game jams before, I learned one good rule – make simple prototype as fast a possible, do not over-engineer and (most important) have fun. These rules paid well. We chose C# XNA as programming platform and had playable prototype in about 20 hours (out of 48 total) and game was pretty much finished 10 hours before deadline. We even had enough time to do 4 different game modes.
Finally, we were surprised to take awards for best presentation and best game out of 15 another games. Because we are one of the 3 best teams, we also will be travelling to Cambridge game jam in July, which promises to be very interesting as well.
After the Global Game Jam we though a lot what we would do with this game. Unfortunately, as we were busy with university and market for this type of games is not big, we decided we would distribute our game for free on the website we have done for our team. In addition we have ported it to MonoGame, added two game modes, single-player AI and controller customization.