Global Game Jam: Jan 2019

At the start of every year is the Global Game Jam (GGJ). A huge, multinational game jam event. I joined the one in 2019 which was hosted on the top floor of Guildford Library. A large even, I decided to use my experience to go solo again and see how far I got, with the aim of possibly finishing a game this time around.

The above image is the first room of the game I made. Turns out that I didn't commit this to github and OneDrive seems to have corrupted some of the files so half the level's missing.

The theme

What home means to you

The plan

I spent the first hour or so after the theme was announced walking around, talking to people to find out what they were doing and seeing if there was anything really interesting I could join. There were some very cool projects, but nothing I wanted to drop my solo plan for and ask to join their team.

The theme definitely felt like it could be quite personal to each of us, so instead of going for the standard shootery-type game jam game, I wanted to do some form of horror-style game.

Called "Day 62", it was about a parent hearing their baby cry at night, going to them, and finding them gone. You'd then follow the clues to follow the story. After 2 years of night-time wakeups, I can't think why my mind went to this...

The result

I massively overspeced this game and ran out of time after pretty much just creating the bare minimum required for the game. The protagonist was a simple cube, and the house was built with primitives, but you could move around, open doors, and follow clues.

Due to time constraints all that I got working was going from the living room to the kitchen to get milk, going to the baby's room to find it missing from the cot, and then going to the main bedroom where something bursts into particles that creepily all disappear under the bed.

It did feature sounds though, and actually worked for my demo, making it my first solo game that did.

The learnings

Timings and practise. The same learnings from a lot of this game jams. I need to get better at descoping ideas and better with the toolset. Had I been better with Blender then building a house would have taken a fraction of the time.

Solo was fun, but there is something nice and chilled on these weekends when you're working with a team. For this game jam, I sat on a table with a number of other solo developers which worked quite well as it helped keep focus (that and Weezer's Teal Album on repeat).