I participated last week for the first time in the Global Game Jam.
I hesitated at first to be involved, fearing that I was too much of a novice still. All I could think of upon arriving at Wollongong University, where it was being held, was that everyone else was going to be amazingly talented and that my greenness would stand out like a sore thumb. I kept thinking to myself how I should’ve been more prepared – that I should’ve been tinkering extensively with engines such as Game Maker, or that I should have studied Unity more, and so on.
Incidentally, I’d had a fever for some days and it wasn’t going away. I’m sure sleep deprivation and copious amounts of junk food wouldn’t hurt right? Riiight.
I hadn’t formed a team in advance and was planning to join up with other teamless randoms. Maybe I really was mad! And wait, I hate social situations. So why did I think creatively collaborating with strangers over a 48 hour period would be a good idea!!!? ARGGHGHGH!!!
Big Deep Breath!
It wasn’t so bad, except for where it was, but that’s okay.
The theme was an image of of the Ouroboros symbol. I found some people to team up with and we discussed the theme for many hours. By 2 am the first night we had vaguely decided the approach we wanted to take. We had taken longer than I had hoped in agreeing to what we would do, but at least we had something to work with now. You would be a snake that eats orbs made out of the four elements (earth, fire, water, and wind) which would make your tail grow longer. You fly around a torus shape and eventually your tail grows so long that you have to try to avoid eating yourself.
We slept for a few hours and then early morning we jumped into making the game using Unity but at some point later in the day our programmer decided that the idea wouldn’t be possible to make in Unity and instead we would have to switch engines and start again now in Flash.
tick tock… tick tock… tick tock
Time was running away from us.
There was a lack of unity. And a lack of Unity too.
Come late Saturday night (about 4 or 5 am) I finally decided to grab some sleep but found myself feeling incredibly unwell. I could tell that I wasn’t going to make the full 48 hours, and as the sun came up I made the decision to leave. I felt awful abandoning my team like that, but it couldn’t be helped, and we had most of the game finished. Hopefully they could finish the remaining bits without me.
The end result is certainly not a finished game, and instead feels more like a tech demo. I’ve uploaded it here at this link on my deviantart account if you would like to try it. Use the arrow keys to move the snake and make it speed up and slow down.
I named it Orboros because you collect orbs and the theme was ouroboros and I like puns.
So do I regret participating when the results were less than stellar? Not at all! It was a worthwhile experience in spite of getting sick and in spite of the troubles. I learnt what to expect next time and I consider it an educational experience. You don’t learn from being perfect. You learn from failing and then picking yourself up, reflecting, and then trying again.
I’ll be there next year, but I think I’ll go next time with a prepared team. However, I’ll have twelve months to improve my skills, and I start my new course at AIE this Wednesday, so this is just the beginning.