I shout it on twitter : last weekend we did a game jam, and it was about time ! In a room full of boxes and a temperature a little too low to stay in it all night, we were two with our computers, and the third one was reachable at home on saturday afternoon. We didn’t know what we could do in 48 hours, and by the end of the day, we had more questions than ever, but we produced something not so small, and if you care enough to read, you’ll see pictures and the first video of the “Wildrose at Ski Camp” game.
No fun, no game - the idea
Saturday noon : all computers are installed and we just ate our first pizza (jam food !) : a hard and late start, but let’s begin ! We took the theme of the september Ludum Dare as we couldn’t participate last month and the october challenge has no theme : the october challenge is “make a game and earn 1 dollar with it”. Quite a challenge, but not restrictive about the game scenario : there’s more fun when there’s a constraint ! I won’t describe the whole afternoon but here’s the thing : at 5:30PM we had two prototypes made from the two main ideas that we came up with. Even if we did our share of paper design and brainstorming at the beginning, we needed those prototypes to face the actual fact : these are NOT FUN. Hell that’s a hard lesson to learn during the jam, but you can’t finish a game jam if the game you create is no fun. Without a good idea by the end of the afternoon, we almost thought the jam was compromised. But fortunately for us, our third team player would be reachable one hour later, and he would save the day !
The opposite of a tower defense – game type
A quick phone call and a few minutes later, three new detailed ideas were in competition. We discussed each of them and voted for our favorite : it came up from the “opposite” theme and another game that was a tower defense one, the idea is the following : what if the player does not build towers to defend its house but controls the incoming characters and must reach the house ? A tower attack ! After deciding also what characters we wanted on this game, what kind of environment, we started to explore the possibilities in this kind of game. We wanted to add a lot of features, tons of actions for the player, animation and cartoons every where, but it was saturday night, and there were only a day left ! So we decided to take the most important ones to have an actual game, and started to work on it.
Does it matter if it’s cold in the room ? – environment
I don’t know if this is a parameter, but the room was a little hotter the second day and we produced more stuff that day. And I can say more about that, talking about the landscape style of “Wildrose at ski camp” : it wasn’t the first idea but we went from a city landscape to a mountain landscape : does the temperature in the room influenced that ? I’m glad we came out with it : the game looks definitively cool (!) and is quite corresponding to the weather right now, and by the way, I like skiing (ok, that’s not even relative to the topic).
Let’s share the title – story
Aside from the game jam, the three of us are developing another game not released yet. It takes place within the little riding hood universe, her granny would be named Wildrose. I will share more of this game later on, but let’s focus on this jam game : the goal is to allow the wolves to bring flour bags to the grand mother Wildrose so she can cook pies. The player is able to do that by acting on the wolves snowboarding : stop them, make them move again or double their speed. Once beyond the ski-lift, they are safe and can throw the bag to the grand mother chalet, where Wildrose is cooking. So the title is simply taken from that : “Wildrose takes her vacation in the Alpes”.. well, let’s shorten that : “Wildrose at ski camp”, that’s better.
The return of the game type
We ended up on sunday evening, around 11PM, with a game that got a title screen and a playable game level that is also replayable as parameters change over time to increase the difficulty. Let’s take a break and watch what we got : a game that is FUN to play, so can we send it now ? Well… it’s not really a game jam that takes place on the weekend, so maybe if we could tweak a little bit more, add some features, it would be good ? The first question is : the gameplay has got somehow a feeling of a “déja vu”, but is it enough not to send it ?
The first video ever
Here’s the video of the actual gameplay, please tell us what you think from this video !
Wildrose at Ski Camp – YouTube