The Gray Girl and Global Game Jam 2014
Global Game Jam (GGJ) is an special event in every Indie Developer’s schedule, for some it represents the satisfaction of sharing the enjoyment of developing video games, a moment to make your skills shine and for others it can be the initial push needed to get into the industry.
GGJ 2014 was my second jam in a row and I came to this one with improved skills and gaming knowledge, making the event more enjoyable.
For starters, Global Game Jam is an annual event in which developers around the world meet in order to develop a game in 48 hours, it is a speed run challenge. Every GGJ starts with a presentation given by professionals in the industry; and then a topic is shared to developers so they can start designing a game concept. In Costa Rica, the IGDA (International Game Developers Association) organizes the jams and proposes a way to create random teams, which is good because makes the gaming community grow.
This year, all the 26+ contestants had 25 minutes to think in a game concept and 30 seconds to share it with the others; Mine was an endless runner in which a guy with a Paper Mask had to collect scissors in order to reveal its true identity, only in his true form he was able to gain score points.
Teams were created based on the most popular game concepts in the room; mine stayed there for a second run but at the end it wasn’t elected for development.
At the end I joined a team with a similar endless runner concept.
Markus Villalobos, an audio specialist, proposed The Gray Girl; an infinite runner game in which a girl’s identity has been stolen by an unknown girl and in which the girl without identity (Gray Girl) starts pursuing the other girl in order to get what is hers; during this pursue, the other girl places obstacles so the Gray Girl finds it difficult to reach her.
The final team was conformed by Adrian Fernandez (just stating game development with a couple of week of Unity digging), Diego Paut (graphics designer and 3D modeler), Gabriel Meono (graphics designer), Markus Villalobos (audio specialist) and myself (developer). A review of the concept was needed and every member of the team added its piece of knowledge to define the scope and project plan.
The team began the development of the game. The programmers (myself included) started developing the basic mechanic of having an endless moving world, the designers started designing and modeling the map models and textures; and the audio specialist started composing the gameplay theme; and so on…
The stress came at almost 3 hours from our established delivery time (5pm Costa Rica); We had a lot of pendings, like for example the inclusion of the Unity’s mechanim, the particle systems for the use of powers were not looking so good, there were some basic GUI functionality left to do and we had one man out (Adrian was also developing an Oculust rift game with another team). We had to cut our scope to deliver a playable prototype; there for the particles system was left out of the scope, same as the use of powers, the intro cinematic planned, the game ending, and others. We did finished all GUI basic functionality. We had everything ready for a build 1 hour over the delivery time (many teams were at the same point as us) and we had a build error.
The panic started!
(*SPOILER ALERT, TECHNICAL TERMS AHEAD*) Unity3D was not being able to create the build due to a problem with a sharedasset with a “not save” tag. 15 minutes later I found out that the problem was caused by a font file imported by NGUI, in another 10-15 minutes I had to rebuild the whole GUI system and game objects, because somehow the file was being imported in the scene even though there was no label in use. The web deployable was built and later an Android one.
We uploaded the deployable to the contest site, we showed our game to everyone in the room and the Global Game Jam was over! gg! Waiting for next year’s GGJ
- This time I didn’t slept in the established meeting place, I went to my uncle’s house to get some sleep (4-5 hours per night) and this was a great choice. This was a lesson learned from the GGJ 2013.
- I feel more proud of myself.
- Although a day has passed, my sleep schedule still is a mess thanks to the event.
The project and the game
The game is downloadable for free at Google’s Play Store.
The source code is open and the repository is public at GitHub, if you want to know how we did what we did, then go there an take a look; you can comment this article if you have any questions related with the code :).
This year’s GGJ left us more than 4000 games developed around the world and The Gray Girl is one of them.