Outage and The Global Game Jam 2015

Yesterday, January 25th of 2015, concluded the Global Game Jam 2015; an annual and global event that takes place during the first month of the year and in which developers around the world meet to create games in 48hrs.

As a passionate developer, I participated of this event in Costa Rica, making it my 3rd in a row. In comparison to last year’s event, the amount of developers increased to 50, roughly about 45% of newcomers, the whole group consisted of professional developers, passionate developers and starters; the way the development teams were formed changed to the one used in the Global Game Jam 2013, in which the person in charge of organizing the event pre-selected the groups based on the participants skills and experience; people could also opt to arrive to the event with a formed team.

Global Game Jam 2015 Costa Rica. During Keynote.

My team was formed by: Fabian Cardenas (3D artist), Daniel Vuurman (junion game programmer), Dario Rios (junior game programmer) and myself.  After the event’s keynote was projected we started the development with the event’s theme “What do we do now?” in mind.

We had a meeting of 15 to 30 minutes in which the team discussed about what to do and what we had in mind. The approach we took with the theme was more about “What people does now?”; how we as human beings have become dependent of technology and how sometimes we forget that we have other simple things that can make us happy too. We thought of a garage or room where the gamer could choose to play different minigames not involving technology (i.e. skating, playing with a ball and so on).

Working spot during Global Game Jam Costa Rica 2015.

Outage was born based on the discussed ideas. The final game concept was to create a room in which the character is presented and where an outage occurs; then the gamer moves the character in quest of finding what to do until the energy comes back.

We created a small working plan and established our roles before starting. Because we decided to create a game with multiple minigames, we knew that we had to limit the game mechanics of these to achieve the deadline of 48hrs. We defined our minigames to be played with two simple mechanics, key pressing and key coordination, also the difficulty was going to increment with time, so gamers will not have it easy.

Outage game in Unity3D game engine. Global Game Jam Costa Rica 2015.

In comparison to last year, this year, the development went smooth during the whole event because we had simple mechanics and a small scope, the team had a clear picture of what was needed to be done.

We had some missed steps (like file conflicts with GitHub, pivot changes when exporting models in blender and then polishing them in Maya, and others) but nothing major that couldn’t be solved within minutes. We did had a little stress reaching the last hour of development because we were polishing the last touches (the intro, game ending, sfx and more) and preparing the build for the delivery (and that always happens in Global Game Jam).

We wanted to add more sfx and particles, small details, but we are happy because our game was completed and delivered how we picture it.

Things learned

  • How important is to define small scopes and simple mechanics if you want to deliver a complete product in events like this.
  • Had two junior developers in my team, is very satisfying knowing that they had the chance to learn a ton during the event.

Cons

  • I was without a car, sleeping in the event was very uncomfortable.

The project and the game

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 5000 games developed around the world and Outage is one of them.

Feel free to try and play our game by clicking on its profile below:

Outage

Outage

Game developed for the Global Game Jam 2015. In outage, gamers explore what could "John Smith" do in his room while he is waiting for energy to come [...]

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  • Hertzel Armengol

    pretty cool concept, I would love to participate next year!

    • Awesome! You should!

      Is the best way to start to get involved with the industry. See you next year!