Global Game Jam 2011

Anyone who follows myself and Carl (@C_McCann, @Csl_ or @FlaxProject) may have seen various tweets about the global game jam which we participated in over the weekend. For anyone who doesn’t know about the GGJ, it’s basically a global event which happens once a year at the same time all around the world. Where people get together to make a game in 48 hours based around a theme, which this year was “extinction”. So we headed down to Tipperary institute which was a host site for the GGJ, along with other members of the games development course here at Carlow IT.

Well, it certainly was an interesting 48 hours, with some really nice games produced at the end and some not so much. Overall the experience was great and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to advance their knowledge in games programming and those who would like to have a nice litte game at the end of 48 hours to your name. Even if the game is crap, it’s an achievement to build any game in 48 hours from scratch!

I was one of the lucky ones to have their game idea picked to be made. My game idea was called H2O Tilt, where you controlled the world by tilting it. The game view was of a cross section of ground with trees and plants above ground with their roots going down into the soil. The objective of the game was to get water though these winding tunnels to the roots of the plants and not lose the water down dead end tunnels or out the side of the game world. The trees above ground with then grow and not become extinct. It’s somewhat hard to explain so here is a picture of a prototype of it running on an Android phone.

h2o tilt

h2o tilt

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the game was developed for Android and we used the accelerometer in the Android phone to tilt the world. Unfortunately though, the game had to be changed as we ran into some problems with the collison and the water particles physics after 30 hours. All of us on the team had become extremely tired and a solution to the problem was hard to come up with. So instead, we developed a game with the same sort of idea, in which water fell from the sky and you had to tilt your world to slide a collecting spunge where the rain was falling, after so much water was collected trees began to grow. This second game was made in the space of about 3 hours so even though it’s pretty crappy, it’s an achievement.

Well that was my experience of the Global Game Jam 2011, working with a new platform and some cool hardware. I can’t wait for next year, as now I know what to expect and I will come well prepared next year (The Flax Engine will be finished :D). I would like to take this oppertiunity to thank Philip Bourke for all the hard work he put into organizing the event and support and advice he gave to us all. We need more people like Philip, who actively engage in helping to build an exciting games industry here in Ireland by organizing events like these. Also thanks to Tipperary Institute for funding and supplying the excellent facilities to host the GJJ and of course a big shout out to all the guys on the game dev course in Tipperary.

Anyway I have to catch a physics leature on integral calculus now so talk to you later. Oh and one more thing for anyone following the Dev Diaries for the Flax Game Engine I am in the process of writing it and it will be up in a few days. Keep an eye on our twitter feed @FlaxProject!


About the Author

Ciarán McCann

Flax Project Founder - Ciarán McCann is an extremely passionate and motivated programmer who has been programming for about 4 years now. Currently attending Carlow I.T studying computer games development. He has experience in many different programming languages, markup languages and general technologies. His role in the Flax Project is as a blogger/Web Designer and Flax Engine programmer. Please excuse any bad grammar/spelling, I am a bit on the Dyslexic side. Follow me on Twitter for info on what I am working on.

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