Critical Hit 2015: Fruit Fever (Week 1)

I’m currently taking part in Critical Hit 2015 in Montreal, an incubator for experimental wearable games. This week, we started our first prototype! The God of Randomness teamed me up with Owen Bell, Milin Li and Mónica Rikic – so 3 of our 4 members are programmers, but luckily my team members are also great at wiring, sewing and making. The theme for the first game was “mini & forbidden”.

The Concept

Our first thematic impulses were to make something with either witchcraft/voodoo or bacteria. This quickly lead to the idea that somebody is ill and must be cured by one or multiple people, possibly using magic. From there we got to our current idea: Two people are ill – their heart rate, body temperature and digestion are either two high or too low – and both try to get healthy before the other one does. To do that, they eat fruits. Each fruit raises or lowers one or two of the aforementioned properties. (To keep it replayable, those effects are randomly decided at the start of each round.) It’s a logic puzzle: The players have to find out what each fruit does by eating them, then look at their current status and figure out which fruits to eat to get healthy. In the end version of the game, there should be neither screen nor keyboard: The players actually eat real fruit with specially made forks that can sense fruit types and wear aprons with LEDs showing their status.

Accept some supernatural help in: Gentleman & Ghost

For the September Mini Game Jam, I worked together with Martin Topolski (check out his art, he rocks!). His idea was to make a co-op game with asymmetric roles and energy transfer as a core concept:

  • One player controls a fighter, walking around and beating up enemies
  • The other player controls a ghost, floating around, catching the souls of dead enemies and supporting the fighter with various buffs (using up the soul energy)

That being said, I present:

Gentleman & Ghost

He imagined it as a jump ‘n’ run – which probably needs an editor to be made smoothly. Using a text-based level format might have been the smarter choice, but I decided that I might as well try to figure out Stencyl after seeing a fellow jammer coming up with remarkable results. The next 4 1/2 hours I spent in varying degrees of pain, until I finally decided to drop Stencyl and never ever use it again. (I’m not saying that Stencyl is bad; it’s not. It just has a few problems and is obviously not for me.)

3 1/2 hours left were obviously not enough, even after reducing it to a single screen platformer. I pretty much only finished what you see in the screenshot above, which is a damn shame because the concept is so promising. For obvious reasons I won’t post the prototype, I’d just waste everyone’s time. Instead I’ll give you some cool sprite sheets done by Martin:

So – is this going anywhere? Possibly! Martin and I, we deviated on the focus of the game: He still wants to do a jump ‘n’ run, and I felt the game would be cooler as an arcade single-screen platformer. Martin is now doing his version with a friend, and I’ll link here once they have something to show.

As for me, I might make my arcade version someday.

Protect the Mad Mage: An overly ambitious unfinished prototype

And the next one in our history series! This protoype sadly never quite left the concept phase – which is sad, because the concept sounded a like it’s lot of fun. One of our Berlin Mini Game Jams more than one year ago had the themes “anti coop” and “Together until the end”, and here’s what Iwan and me dreamed up:

Protect the Mad Mage

You are an evil mage, and on the verge of completing
the ancient spell that will make you immortal.

There’s only one step left: You have to die – at the
hands of one of the creatures you summoned.

You draw the magic circle and begin the incantations.

You summon the creature. It prepares to strike you.

You prepare to die and to rise again to unhol–

The door is reduced to splinters by the paladin bursting through it.
Killing the monster in one swift blow. Healing you.


And the spell won’t last forever…

Now one of the players, the Mad Mage, has to kill himself, while the Powerful Paladin has to keep him (and himself) alive until the spell times out.

Sadly in my folly I tried to make it an online multiplayer game, which proved to be a task too daunting for 8 hours, so it was never finished. I’ve learned my lesson!*

You can see the assets on OpenGameArt. Free for use too!

*) It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever learn my lesson regarding jams and ambitious ideas.

Hope this doesn’t get rejected (yet another EGP prototype): “The Job”

And here we go for another (last minute) entry for the Experimental Gameplay Project! This month: Rejection.

Well, it is more a prototype than a game, but I will call it “game” anyway, simply because it sounds better this way. :)

Anyway, in the game you will be tested if you are good enough for The Job. It is sort of an art game, and it isn’t really good. To say anything more would be a spoiler, only so much: Yes, this game has an end.

Fun facts about the game:

  • Due to time constraints, I changed the concept at least 3 times. (Which might be the reason why it’s hard to solve. Or why it isn’t any fun. Like, at all.)
  • Since this is my first plattformer, I learnt much stuff about how they are developed. Or rather, how they aren’t. And when I think about it, it doesn’t really have any platforms, although the engine would allow it. Hu.
  • None of my recruted-in-a-hurry beta testers could beat the game without help.
  • Don’t try to insert artsy messages at last minute. It simply doesn’t work.

Oh, and some useful facts:

Here’s a screenshot:

Edit: Since this prototype wasn’t any fun at all, I decided to stop wasting everyones time and took the download down. I suggest you head over to the fine other games I have here at the blog!

Global Game Jam 2010, or: We don’t make games, we make AWESOME games (in 48 hours)

I’m back! Back from one of the greatest events I ever attended: The Global Game Jam 2010!

In a nutshell: The Global Game Jam is a world wide event where participants meet up in their local locations from 5pm (local time) Friday to 5pm Sunday to make games together. You meet up, brainstorm, present ideas and then teams are formed – mostly out of total strangers. It is interesting and intriguing: You have never seen the people you work with before, and now you are working with them under extreme time pressure, to rapidly prototype a new game. Skills are tested to their limit, friendships are formed, creativity is skyrocketing and sleep is a valid but completly ignorable option.

Our location was at the A MAZE. Interact Festival. The fee was only 20€, and alone all the food and beverages we got were well worth it! A big thanks to Marek Plichta, Jaro Gabski and A MAZE for organizing it! You did a terrific job!

Warming up…

So, I will give you a report how it was for me! When I first entered the room it was taking place, I knew absolutly nobody there. Most of the people were talking german, only a few english. First item on the timetable: We should give really short presentations about ourselves. And wow, there were some great things people were doing! At least five people were from the Games Academy (where I would love to be enlisted too, but I don’t have enough money). And there I was, only having done two presentable projects in total, and without that much experience… Well, I did my presentation and it went fairly well.

After watching the Keynote for this game jam…

The Global Game Jam 2010 Keynote

…we finally got the Theme Of This Year: Deception. Our local constraints were to add one of these elements as well: A key, a monkey or a donkey. Then we sat down in groups of two, developing a basic game idea we can present to the others and convince them to take part in our team – or tell others that you like their idea and you want to make it with them! I didn’t get anything complete done, though I had some vague concepts that I liked, but that wasn’t so bad because the others ideas were so interesting that I would’ve ditched my idea anyway, I guess! :D