Last week-end (29-31 January 2016), I was at the Swiss Castle Jam, the Swiss-French location of the Global Game Jam. Of course, in the philosophy of the Global Game Jam, I did not come with a pre-established team, letting myself be surprised. Prior to the event, I also wanted to bridge the Swiss-German and Swiss-French location. Thing is the Zürich began the jam at 7:00PM, compared to everyone else in the world, include the Swiss-French location, beginning at 5:00PM. So a direct stream during the opening ceremony was not possible. I did however a little Skype call to Zürich at 6:30PM that was put on a projector, while I was going through all the different groups were brainstorming.
— Robbert van Rooden (@rvanrooden) January 29, 2016
The theme was Ritual and pre-formed teams went on brainstorming. I had no team. I was in contact with Vesa, one of the Finnish Game Jam organizer, and they did not manage to install a skype stream, so I went on every group to ask them to write on the chat thread. I liked how it gave an international feeling as their messages were travelling the continent to the freezing North. Finally, Fabrice Joly and Julien Matthey intercepted me to be on their team and I accepted voluntary. As Kevin Crelerot arrived, we began our brainstorming that I recorded for my master thesis:
The brainstorming lasted 2h30 and we quickly settled for a game idea. A lot of the talks were about defining the core mechanics as we wanted two different characters with two different gameplays and goals. I felt comfortable with my team, we had a very positive attitude, which is not always the case in game jam team where individuality is a key feature. The game concept was a 2-player duel game where a witch was performing a ritual to make her beautiful, one of the player played the imp, who was quickly gathering items for the witch, the other player was the hunter who shot the imp to prevent the witch of finishing her ritual. As soon as all the details were clearly defined, I started to put the code base and quickly went home to sleep well.
On the Saturday, I focused on having a prototype working on the evening and I achieved my goal. I took random assets together to have a little graphic feedback, but I mostly put a screenshake and an enormous recoil for the shooting hunter. On the evening, some developers tested our game and already found it fun. I went home at 11:30PM to be fit to finish the final crunch on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning was mostly putting assets in the game, correcting bugs, play-testing and then release. I was exhausted for the rest of the afternoon, but happy that our game was fun. The pressure increases for both the players and even with an asymmetric gameplay the two characters were still balanced.
At the end of the event, every group presented their project, the challenges they had during the week-end and showed their game. I was fascinated by the quality of the other projects with Asthom trying augmented reality, three groups trying card games, a game on AirConsole. In short a lot of experimentation, compared to our very standard game.
As everyone was going, I helped the two Davids (first picture), the two organizers of the Swiss-French location, to finish cleaning up the place. We went back in Lausanne, eating some couscous and discussing the Swiss-French community, some feedbacks on the event, the future of the Swiss-French community, the Ludicious, the SGDA, the I3 Game Jam and a lot of interesting subjects.
In conclusion, I came at the Global Game Jam this year without really knowing what I would do and came back remotivated to create games and help the Swiss Game Developers’ community. My schedule is always tight, but after the stressed period of end of January, I’m ready to go through 2016.
Here is our game page: http://globalgamejam.org/2016/games/witch-irish-and-imp
PS: We did an apéro on Friday afternoon before the jam began, typically Swiss-French…