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  • Writer's pictureBretton Hamilton

GGJ 2017 - Across the Pond

Global Game Jam 2017

Last week I participated in this years Global Game Jam! I had just landed after a 22hr trip from Australia and had the beginnings of a sinus infection, but I was coherent enough to network and make a game! My partner and graphic designer, Jolanda, joined me for a trip up to Amsterdam to compete. Once we arrived we met a few programmers to work with and ultimately teamed up with a local designer/programmer.

The theme was announced as "Waves". Ultimately, our team developed Across the Pond.

Game Overview: Across the Pond is a chill, turn-based strategy game. The goal of the game is to use a variety of aquatic animals to capture more than half the territory in the pond.

For this project I took on the role of designer/programmer.

On the first day I worked with our other designer to paper prototype different unit functions and general level layouts.

On the second day I transitioned to a heavier programming role. While our other designer focused on implementing core mechanics, I focused on level layout, UI implementation, and asset integration. As it was one of the first times our artist had made art for games, I also spent some time to explain the 2D art asset pipeline to ease implementation and reduce stress.

By the third day I focused on UX improvements, animation implementation, and bug resolution.

Final Thoughts: The game had come together in the final hour and judges responded positively to our work. When I showcased the game, other jam participants seemed quite impressed with how much we were able to accomplish with such a small team. Unfortunately, we focused on creating such a robust game we didn't have time to properly prepare an on-boarding/tutorial experience to teach mechanics to players. Thus the resounding feedback was that without verbal explanation, the game is difficult to play.

This jam was really empowering for me. I was able to exercise a lot of the programming I have learned over the last several years in a fast-paced environment. I may have returned home without a voice but I also gained some new contacts and more confidence in my programming ability!


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