Sunday, January 27, 2013

Global Game Jam Bangalore 2013 Recap

The Global Game Jam 2013 at Bangalore concluded on Sunday 27th Jan. A 48 hrs of thrilling experience to develop a complete game was the best event happened to me since 2013 started. First of all I had no idea how could I complete a game in just 48 hrs. Second of all, of all the people came there, i knew no one. And from what I read on the jam site, I have to develop a game in a team formed randomly. "Hmm, Lets see" is said to myself and joined the formal presentations that followed.

Three formal presentations took place where the Art Director Nick talked about Art in games, organizer Joel talked about Rapid Prototyping and Agile methods, which I already knew, and Shivam Gupta, another organizer, who is a school student by the way, gave presentation about GGJ survival. I was comfortable already. The theme was shared with all and we were forbidden to share it with the outside world unless all GGJ events got the theme. A formal code of conduct. The theme was "HEART BEAT" . We have to create game based on this theme. It will be fun and challenging, I thought.

Next thing was to get in to a random team. The people I met to join in a team was the first and the last and as it turned out, the best. Kapil Ratnani, Pankaj Bhambani and Soumik Pal and myself started working as team "Wee", as in, Nintendo "Wii" :).

My idea was to keep the game simple yet funny, I knew my skills and my tools and also made sure that the team was comfortable with it. After few ideas and brainstorming session, we decided to create the game based on a theme where love, heart beat and something related to searching will come. The result was "Finding Fluffy" where a cute boy must find his lost puppy in a dark deadly jungle.

Our game's objective was that, the player will have to search his lost pet in a dark jungle, listening to his pet's heart beat. While searching he will have to be aware of the wild animals and other dangerous environment conditions. He will have two options, one, listen to the environmental sounds and make out the danger or the heart beat of his puppy and complete the level. Two, keep an eye on the visible circular area (as a result of candle/lantern he is holding), do not get near the hazards, and find the puppy. Everything with respect to development of the game went very well. 

Kapil and I knew Android. And Kapil also had an Android Phone. Perfect for me. So I convinced the team to go with Android and AndEngine, because we had the right tools. Pankaj being a XDA programmer helped in game art and Soumik did the reasearch for game assests, which he did very well. Pankaj's implementation ideas for the "overlay" functionality and game art was commendable. Kapil did the crucial audio functionality of the game very well along with some collision detection logic. I handled the complete game design, level design and programming of the gameplay, AI etc.  And so after the 30+ hrs of hard work we had our playable game ready with complete game life cycle. We called it "Finding Fluffy" :

 On Sunday evening after 3pm, we all joined in the Dhruva cafeteria were final presentations began. 

Then finally, I started with my presentation:

I dint realize that the moment I was presenting my game, Rajesh Rao, the CEO of Dhruva was present there. Also with him was Anand,. This is the person who gave a talk on content creation titled "Beating the Mythology" in Game developer conference  in 2010. Now he works at Zynga, Bangalore.

After the presentations were over. The calculation of the voted points took place. I swear to god, I did not believe that "Finding Fluffy" would score the fourth position with a cumulative score of 7.83. Though the scores were informal and have no value in the event. But at that moment it felt good.

My teammate Kapil did a very good thing. He asked Aanand and Rajesh to play the game. They both liked the concept very much and the overall design of the game. They also criticized the game which is the most constructive feedback I will consider. They said that the game is difficult to play for a normal mobile game player. They said that we should polish the game with more constructive feedback to the players and make it more easy to play.

I then personally met Rajesh and talked to him about current developments at Dhruva and more specifically Android Game development. I got a positive response. He was very humble. So I asked him for a pic :)

 And finally here is my team. An excellent team effort by Team "Wee" :


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