Guildford Game Jam: May 2018

Another one at Media Molecule's offices, this one I felt more prepared for due to the success of the last game jam and was looking forward to going into another.

As much as I enjoyed being part of a team before, I decided I'd go solo again so that I could stretch myself and see what I'd learned so far, and no point dragging anyone else down if it all went wrong (which it did).

This one's a bit of an odd round up as I've been looking through all my current computers and I'm missing the Unity codebase. This would normally mean there'd be nothing to show, but this project was a little bit special.

The theme


The plan

Back in the Rocketdesk gamejam in 2016, I'd seen a team use an online poll to choose the next room that a player would move into. As this crosses more into my day job I thought it'd be fun to incorporate some of this into my game so I decided to use websockets and a quick JavaScript interface to allow potentially hundreds of people to control characters. The code behind this is actually relatively simple and got turned into 3 blogs: Communication, Client, and Server (yep there's a theme here with my game jams).

With this as an idea I thought about a simple game where you have to move your character to a particular part of the map. Lightning strikes a sword in the middle of the map and moves in a random direction. Anyone too close to someone else will act as a bridge (meaning it's possible everyone will die and no one will win). The winner can claim the sword and be king. Think a more-lightningy version of the lady of the lake.

The learnings

I'd learned more from game jamming and investigations spurred on by previous failures so had a much more successful outing than the first time solo.

I'd still got tripped up trying something overly ambitious with too many new ideas and techniques I didn't know how to do (and some of them I still don't). For future reference, I think the best aim for a game jam is to learn something small new and hone the rest of your existing skills. This obviously becomes easier as you get more experienced, but scale was still tripping me up.