On 1/23/2015, Global Game Jam weekend will be kicking off. I will be working at the Cleveland Game Developers site at the LaunchHouse in Shaker, OH.
This Saturday, 1/17, I will be leading a Pre-Jam Warmup session to give our participants opportunity to limber up their creative and technical skills. It’s a good idea, and fun. The goal is to build confidence and ensure readiness for the big Jam coming up the next week.
If you want to do your own version of this wherever you are, here’s what we’ll be doing for our warmup sprints:
00: SYSTEMS CHECK — ALL SYSTEMS GO!
- Launch your tools and make sure they still work.
- Check for updates, download and install any (if you wish).
- Test to your satisfaction that your stuff is working (write a “hello world” and prove it’s all working properly.)
- Create/Verify you can log into your GGJ account, any other accounts you may wish to use during GGJ15 (Trello, GitHub, DropBox, itch.io, newgrounds, kongregate, etc.) If you’re new to any of these, you’ll want to take time during the week leading up to the Jam to familiarize yourself with them.
- Create a checklist of things to bring to the Jam, and get everything together ahead of time
- Verify you can connect to wifi at your jam site
- Create/verify you can log into any web accounts you plan to use during the Jam
- globalgamejam.org – be sure to join to your local site
- Make sure your team members can access any shared resources or services too!
- Power cables, extension cords, surge bars
- gamepad controller
- 2nd monitor
- image scanner
- musical devices
- Human comfort
- Pillow/sleeping bag/blanket
We’ll run this one up to an hour, but as soon as everyone’s done, we’ll proceed to the next sprint. If you’re downloading something huge and it’ll take longer than an hour, try to complete this before 1/23/15.
01: Development exercise: Asteroids
Asteroids is a simple action game. If you’ve never heard of Asteroids, google it and watch a youtube video or two, and you’ll get the idea in a few seconds. You’ll understand it faster than I can explain it in words.
Your job is to see how much of it you can build in an hour. You can make your own interpretation of the game, or try to slavishly re-create the original in every detail, it’s up to you. Work independently or as a team (if you have a team). We’re all in this together, so if you run into trouble, ask the room and someone will chime in with advice.
If you finish early, polish for the remainder of the hour, innovate a new feature, or whatever.
At the end of the hour, we’ll take a little time to show off our work and talk about what went well/what could have gone better.
02: Development exercise: Simple 2D platform engine
Take 1 hr to Work up a simple, 2D platform engine from scratch.
You don’t have to spend any time on animating sprites unless that’s something you *want* to focus on as a graphics contributor; square and rectangle programmer art representing the hitbox of your game objects are perfectly fine.
You decide how you want it to work in detail, and implement it however you like. The goal shouldn’t be to try to complete all of these features in an hour, but to choose a few of them and make a solid, well-crafted engine out of them — quickly.
You can design your own requirements, or use the following checklist of features and pick which ones you wish to support in your engine:
- solid platform
- jump-through platform
- destructible platform
- movable platform (player can pick up or push)
- wall walking
- ceiling walking
- double jump
- wall jump
- player health/death
- static enemy (spikes)
- moving enemy
- moving platforms : any or all of horizontal, vertical, swinging, circle
- pickup item (coin, power-up, etc.)
- door (how the door works is completely up to you.)
After an hour of development, we’ll spend an hour on demo and code review so we can learn from each other’s work. The code review is not meant to be exhaustive, but to show off highlights in technique if you found a cool way to do something, or to ask for ideas for how to do something better that you struggled with.
03 – Free for all
If we still have energy and want to keep going, we can come up with more ideas for sprints and ad lib it as we go. Maybe a graphics-oriented sprint, or sound effects engineering session, or a concept/design session where you have to brainstorm a pitch to a randomly chosen theme. We can quickly discuss and vote on it as a group.
XX – Wrap-up:
By now, even those of use who have never met or attended the meetup before will know each other a little bit, and will have worked together. Now’s a good time to talk to each other and find out if you have the right mix of talent and interest to maybe team up next week. This can go on as long as it needs to.