GGJ 2018

This year was the second year we took part in Global Game Jam, but with one small difference. This year, I was the one organising the event, as Tim Ponting was super busy. We had 20 enthusiastic Jammers, and a really cool theme – Transmission.

Now this was a but more difficult to think of something with. I’d already had 4 days to come up with something, but came up with a few half baked ideas about nerve cells etc. We teamed up with a couple of students, and both they and Ethan independently came up with the idea or transmitting a signal from planet to planet. So we spent the rest of the evening hashing out the idea a bit more and planning the next day.

Day 2 saw the two students leave the group, one to pursue his own project. We were joined by one of their friends, who’d been unable to attend the previous day, and like our idea. Finn and Ethan got stuck into the coding while I went to town on the artwork.

There were several diversifiers this year that caught my eye. The most obvious one is Stained Sprite, where all our artwork was stained glass style. Another one was Special Random, where we had to incorporate a random wikipedia article (without cheating) into our game. We drew this article about James Bayley, an early 20th century tennis play from Australia, so one of the planets is a tennis ball. Another diversifier we liked was the easter egg one, so keep your eyes peeled for a planet with Circular Gallifreyan on it. Yes, we are big Dr Who fans.

On the evening or day 2, Matt Caradus who did our music for last year’s Gorgon game dropped in, and though our game was still fugly at that point he got the idea and made some really cool music for the game. The background music is so relaxing I like listening to it outside of the game.

Day 3 saw crunch time, and we threw all the pieces together, and worked out a few annoying bugs. Once it was all pulled together, we had a game that looked and sounded amazing. We even had compliments from some of the Jammers from Runaway Play about how cool our game looked.

Anyway a huge thank you to Finn and Matt, for helping us with this project, Tim Ponting for supplying us with caffeine and drawing supplies and all the Jammers that attended to make the event a success. We definitely look forward to next year’s event!

A picture of a stained glass star scape

GGJ 2017

Sorry for the belated post about GGJ 2017, but better late than never. This year was the first time we took part in Global Game Jam.

We piled into the small room at the comp sci department and set up our machines along with 23 others who all wanted to jam for the weekend. When the theme was revealed to be Waves, mine and Ethan’s eyes lit up. We’d discussed previously about doing a medusa in a procedural-generated maze game, and this was the perfect chance to actually do something with the idea.

Within 10 minutes of the start time, Ethan had a working prototype, with the echolocation wave travelling along a corridor. Everyone was astonished that we had something working so quickly, so basking in the victory, we got down to work.

Ethan got to work building a procedural maze generator, and I dived into model libraries to find our gorgon. Once I found a good model of a woman, I plopped some snakes on her head, then put her through the Mixamo auto-rigger, making things so much more simpler.

Matt Caradus volunteered to do the music and sound effects for the game, and woke everyone up around midnight with a really cool Nazgul shriek which we used for when you get spotted by the gorgon.

Day 2 had Ethan getting the gorgon moving around the maze, including rudimentary AI for pathfinding and seeking the player. He also added sword, shield and coin objects, so you could slay the gorgon to end the game. I did the 3D assets for those, and textured the lot, since Ethan also introduced an easy mode – a foggy maze rather than a pitch black one.

The last day saw us implementing medusa’s attacks so that the player could die if they didn’t have the shield, or didn’t use it. Disaster stuck with hours to go as I did a bad commit and things royally screwed up. Instead of using the last few hours to polish the game, we scrambled madly to recover from my error and get it working again. We did with a few minutes to spare, so we slapped together the feature graphic and came up with the title of the game – Eyes of the Gorgon.

Overall the Game Jam was totally awesome. We look forward to taking part again next year.

A creepy picture of medusa

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Welcome to┬áthe Void Phoenix Developer Blog. Here we’ll share the latest news, amusing bugs, cool features from our projects. Our current project is Quantum, which I’ll write about shortly!