Last weekend was Global Game Jam 2016, and, since I’m officially in the business of making games, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to hone my skills, do some networking, and spend 48 hours stressing about a tiny game. What a weekend it was!
I broke the GGJ rules by teaming up before the event, which is against the spirit of things but I’m not one for sticking to recommendations anyway. I worked with Duncan Bell, who’s contributed some of the art in Among the Innocent, and we got on very well. Our skills are quite similar, which left a large gap in the team for a hardcore programmer. We attempted to draft one at the event (Gareth Wilcock, who voices the narrator in Among the Innocent), but he decided to spend the weekend making pretty shaders instead. I don’t blame him – if I had that sort of expertise I’d do exactly the same thing!
When the theme was announced – Ritual – the room around me collectively moaned as they struggled to figure out what the hell they could do to fit that theme. Duncan and I grinned at each other, confident that this was a great theme despite some initial uncertainty. We brainstormed with another Geoff (they’re everywhere!) over a meal at Nando’s, and then headed back to the venue to share our ideas. Everyone split off, and we were left without a programmer. As two primarily artists with little experience other than a bit of Game Maker and some visual scripting, we were concerned that we’d have nothing but a few blocks moving in 3D space (if we’re lucky!) by the end of the weekend.
As it turns out, visual scripting, thanks to the wonderful Unity asset Playmaker, is the perfect approach for a Jam game. Sure we had our share of frustrations, and spent a not-insignificant portion of the game reading tutorials and manual entries online, but by the Sunday afternoon we were confident in our submission – a short game in which you attempt to ruin a chap’s morning bathroom ritual – elegantly named saBOBtage. ‘Cause the guy’s name is Bob – get it? Oh how we laughed.
saBOBtage is a silly game which you’re welcome to play right now! It’s a Jam game so go easy on it, but I think it works well for what it is.
In other news, I’ve come to the realisation that I need some assistance in the business department, so I’ve started talking to various individuals who can provide exactly that. I’m very happy making games – design, art, programming – I’m taking it all in my stride and making sure I do everything possible to ensure you get a great game when it finally launches. But some of the real world challenges are pushing me to the point where I need a bit of help. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to sell out or anything like that, just that I need to be reasonable about, well, reality. I simply don’t have the time to do everything that needs to be done to make this game the success that it deserves to be.
I’m still incredibly confident (some would say blindly so, but hey, I’m a generally positive guy) that Among the Innocent is going to be an excellent game that you will absolutely love, but it’s also the start of a series of games with a very deep narrative bed. What I mean is: there’s a lot of story here, and the Stricken series needs to happen. In order for that to come true, I need to take some of the business stuff a little more seriously than I currently do. Stay tuned for more details on that front!