Yesterday I took part in my first game jam, after at least a year of being interested. It was 24 hours, but everyone disbanded from the labs around 19 hours in. Here is the game I made, and how I made it.
I used Unity, 3ds max and Photoshop to make it. The theme was Infinite Runner, and since I had already made one (https://patrickreececv.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/beatsprint-music-game-group-project/), I decided to put a twist on it and set it on an infinitely scrolling chessboard, with you as a knight having to destroy an army of pawns.
I am pretty happy with the game, as I got more done than I thought I could, and finished well before the 24 hours were up. There are a couple of bugs relating to pawn placement, but it’s not too bad (considering the terrible code I wrote!). I did the majority of the coding first, and made all the art around 4 in the morning, which was probably a good idea because I feel like giving up if I can’t code something when I’m tired. I really love Unity and C# compared to C++, it’s so much faster to write and compile!
I textured the models very quickly by doing an automatic unwrap, then exporting a picture of the wireframe in uv space into photoshop and using filters on it. The board is made of a set of 14 randomly rotated textures for white and black tiles, made the same way but using “optimised” high poly squares. I was going for a kind of grungy 90s futuristic chessboard look.
I learned how to do procedural audio in Unity (one way at least). I generated (and constantly played) a buffer of samples from a sine function, whose frequency, volume and 2d position I adjusted using the player’s click position on the board, and the enemy’s position, to get a “call – response” kind of musical effect. I think I used the frequencies for a pentatonic scale, and interpolated between the notes for the theremin-like sound effect. Thinking about it, it might have been better to use the knight’s position on the screen instead of just when he moved, so you’d get a more rhythmic musical pattern as the screen scrolled.
I learned how simple it is to make a mobile game in Unity – after installing the SDK (and borrowing someone’s usb cable) it was very straightforward to get it running on my phone. Tried to get pinch-to-zoom working but gave up after about half an hour. For some reason the sound, and the “you lose” screen are very temperamental on my phone, maybe due to the high processor power…
So, hopefully you enjoy my first solo game, and the bugs aren’t too frustrating! It feels very cool to be able to make a decent game, on my laptop, in under a day. Tell me your high score – get above 50 and I’ll be impressed! Currently I don’t think anyone’s got above 54 (mine’s mid-30s I think).