Global Game Jam. Now you are educated.
This was my first entry, god knows why. After hearing the keynote to the event, I decided to take the “games are art”-standpoint. I also decided to put some thought behind the design and not just do the anything obvious.
The theme was Extinction. Dinosaurs and meteors striking the Earth. Frying squirrels and saving dolphins. Obvious.
We kept designing and brainstorming for 5 hours, including a peer review session of our ideas. And in the end, there was two candidates. My phone-roleplaying-idea was the other, and another team member’s evolving growth simulation was another. Since there were three programmers, we evaluated that we could do both. I was sceptic, but foolishly agreed. Remember: No project is too small.
The Last was an idea that mixed a Windows Phone 7 and tabletop roleplaying. The phone would give out characters, describe events and do the bookkeeping on the character’s stats. The game would be heavily atmospheric, as the idea was that the players would be the last remaining humans, experiencing the extinction of their culture, their world and themselves.
That was the idea. But since our programming resources were allocated to Genos Logos, I had to port the game concept from semi-analog to fully analog. The game lost extremely much in the translation, although I managed to upload it. We’ll see how well it will be received. At least the writing received positive feedback; Everyone commented how dark and moody it was. At least that was positive.
The more promising game is Genos Logos, a life simulator. The game generates a unique digital lifeform in a black screen and lets them roam around. They have several modifiable properties. Whenever two of them (when
fertile) collide, a third one is generated, and it receives about half of its “dna” from either parent. The dna can mutate randomly. The player can poke the screen, to either draw nearby lifeforms towards the spot or scare them away. There are trees that generate food pellets which the creatures need to survive, and poisonous pellets which kill them immidiately.
The point is that this species is completely unique. As the people can interact with the creatures, they will form a bond with them at some level, and when the game is turned off, they die, never to return. Extinction. If I had to summarise the theme of the game with one sentence, it would be “Life needs to exist before it becomes extinct”. The creatures are somewhat cute, generating little random bleeps and bloops and running around the screen. It looks quite nice, and I think that if the judges can appreciate our artful approach, we have a chance to get to the big leagues.
So that was my GGJ weekend. Tomorrow I shall rest.