Uruguay decided to join the Global Game Jam 2012 (GGJ12) for the first time and we (as Gemserk) decided to join them.
The Global Game Jam is an event where all around the world people get together in different locations and split into teams in order to make games in 48 hours following a theme set by the organizers.
This year, the theme was this picture:
That image represents the Ouroboros which represents the perpetual cyclic renewal of life, the eternal return, and represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth, leading to immortality, as in the phoenix.
Our team was composed game by José Pedro Gioscia (The Artist), Washington Miranda (Programmer) and us (both Programmers). Hernán Gonzales Martinez from Tono Sound Production provided the music and sound effects for our game, he did the same thing for most of the other teams on our location.
The game was named Medusa - “La viborita multiloca”, you play the game as a serpent on space and you move horizontally around a cave eating or being hit by other monsters. Whenever the monsters or the obstacles hit your body it breaks from that point. If the remaining part of your body is too short, you are weakened and can't eat monsters anymore. You die if you hit an obstacle or hit a monster while you are weakened.
The interesting part of the game is that after death comes rebirth. When you die, you revive at the start of the level with an echo of your past lives. They will help you in your journey eating the monsters in their path but they will leave parts of their bodies as new obstacles when they are injured.
Right now the game has no defined objective, it is more an experimental test of the mechanics and when you play you make your own objectives enjoying going through the random level and interacting with your past lives on the world.
Conclusions about the Global Game Jam
What went wrong
- Ironically even though the venue was in a building of the biggest ISP on Uruguay (Antel) the wifi sucked, it used a captive portal method of authentication and forced you to reauthenticate all the time, luckily we could steal the LAN connection from some unused PCs.
What went right
- We delivered a finished game
- We were able to meet and talk with lots of people that are working locally in the video games industry (Batoví, Powerful Robot, Belfry Games, Sebagames).
- We were finally able to get to talk a little with Pablo Realini from IronHide Game Studio makers of the awesome Kindom Rush, who confessed that he is the biggest fan of Gemserk
- The whole organization and the people who coordinated the GGJ in Uruguay were awesome, the venue was really nice, we had food and drinks available (from the second best carbonated beverage and the second best big burger chain).
- Everyone on the jam was really nice, included our team members, there were no problems between the participants, and it was great meeting all of them.
- This was the first time we worked face to face with an artist.
- We had fun
Advice for other jams
- Take your time to refine your game idea, don't just start implementing right away, think a little about how will the gameplay work, what will the player do, how will he feel when playing, are the mechanics natural, how will you explain them, etc.
- A good way to split work between programmers is to make small prototypes of different parts of the game (in our case we started prototyping the snake behaviour while we were building the skeleton for the rest of the game)
- Try to rest, trying to stay up both nights of the event will be too much for your body to handle, and you will be tired and it will be difficult to concentrate, making you make lots of mistakes. In our case we went home to sleep on Friday night after we had defined the game idea, and we started Saturday morning well rested.