I can honestly say I have spent more hours programming in the last week than I would normally do in three. Thanks to a freak of bad timing (or good timing, depending on how keen I'm feeling), I worked on stuff for three back-to-back jam events in a row, on top of my day job. I can sleep when I'm dead, right?
The first of my triple-threat jam onslaught was Fuck This Jam. Organised by the guys at Vlambeer, Fuck This Jam is a massive online gamejam to create a something in a genre you hate. Strong word, 'hate', and the idea seemed to polarise people from the off. I'm not sure I could say I 'hate' a whole genre, apart from sports games, but I think that's more an aversion to sport rather than an aversion to sport videogames.
I toyed for a while with sports management games, which sounded simple in my head: no graphics, a bunch of numbers, easy peasy. After actually sitting down and sketching ideas out however, it started to sprawl and sound more and more complex, so I canned it. Definitely the right decision. I also toyed with an actual football game, and although I canned that in the end too, it was interesting to note that quite a few people did make similar games in the end... seems like the programmer community hates sports. Who'd have guessed?
In the end I chose to look at the match-three puzzler mechanic: I don't hate puzzle games, and I don't even hate match-three puzzlers, but I do hate inane pointless puzzle games that have no challenge or objective. Puzzle Quest = good, endless none-challenging Bejewelled clones = baaad.
I lucked into meeting a chap in the Fuck This Jam IRC channel, by the name of Kieran Lampert (@CandidKlamp), and after batting some ideas around we decided to form a pan-global tag-team and work on something together. Kieran is a total ninja digital illustrator, who does 2D, 3D, and as I found out later, amazing animations too. A general all-round magician. Check it out:
We'd pre-decided all the pixel measurements, so I was able to stick placeholder artwork in while Kieran did his thing on the other side of the planet. This is the first tilemap engine I made, with some crappy PNG's laid over the top that I screengrabbed from Kieran's email. Did the trick in a pinch:
Haxe for a spin, see if I can't get it compiling onto devices. Watch this space on that front....
So yes, we had a blast making this even though we didn't *quite* get there, and working with Kieran was awesome too. If this jam rolls around again, I'll definitely be taking part. I might even make a football game.
View the full playable submission here!
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