I took one week and half for the Nordic Game Jam and the Reboot: Develop conference. Switching from 10°C-15°C to 25°C-30°C was pretty brutal, but immensely needed. I was pretty down after the disease of the year after Polymanga and those trips were a nice opportunity to recover.
First stop, Copenhagen. We went there with Alexis and Anirul. The theme of the jam was Breaking Point. I wanted to try to do a city management game, but with the constraint of the 48 hours, it would been to create a really compelling game experience. Then Alexis had the brilliant idea to add Arcade mechanics, where you click on building to repair them or get taxes and then the setting unfolded. It would be an industrial siberian city. And then we had Novyzavod:
You have workers pouring into the city. They come at the city center and starts to complain. If you do nothing, they die, because they are political opponents. You realise you have to build them housing and then they go to sleep. After a while they come back from the building and starts to complain again. You have to build factories for them to work somewhere. Then everything is okay…
Except that buildings a fragile, meaning you have to repair them. And it costs you money. And your budget is tight. If you don’t repair the building, they fall apart and when they destroy, everybody inside of it die. But you can always fill it by taking taxes in a building, but… Workers that just arrived have no money, so they instantly die and you never know how many workers have money in their buildings.
The last twist is that political opponents cost you money when they die. Each person in a destroying building cost you money. But first-time worker that dies because of taxes does not. So the twist of the game is in the meta game, where you realise that you optimising actions (that are good actions) are morally wrong, because you contribute to a system that is killing people to optimise its production. It is a example of commodification of bodies in an industrial setting.
We went to the final presentation on stage and it was pretty funny. On Friday and Monday, there were really good presentation about game design and business. And then I had 12 hours back to Switzerland before going to Reboot Develop.