Global Game Jam 2013: My Experience

Last weekend, I participated in Global Game Jam 2013, an event where, in the span of one weekend, people from around the globe makes games. And let me tell you, it was an awesome experience!

Friday, everyone met up at DePaul who was participating, singed up, and we watched the Keynote, which was very cool. Then, we got the theme our game was supposed to center around, which was a heart beat (something that can connect everyone from around the world, they said). I thought the theme was interesting, and after forming teams, we went right into brainstorming. Unlike a lot of those at DePaul, my team consisted of people I didn’t know. I think next year I’ll go into it with friends, but I figured being in a team with strangers would be a good experience, and it was. I had a lot in common with them, and when I find someone to talk about MegaMan Battle Network with, it’s always awesome!

By the time 8PM rolled around, we had our game idea, Murica. We went with a fat guy rolling around and eating various junky foods, trying to balance how much he was eating with how full he was and how fast his heart was beating. You lose when you have a heart attack or starve. It was supposed to strike at a theme about America’s obesity problem due to fast food while being funny and silly.

Saturday, I woke up at 7:30, got to DePaul by 9:30, and began working. At first, we were mainly doing some level design and getting lists of tasks we needed to get done while we waited for our programmer to finish the content pipeline for his engine. Because I was one of the producers, I dipped out now and then to check on some of my friends’ teams (and troll them. LOL), which was very fun, especially when I had one of my friends text someone, “We in there! #swag #yolo.” By the time 5PM rolled around, we had almost all of our art assets done, and by 9PM we were switching engines from our programmer’s custom engine to XNA because his engine didn’t have the ability to rotate a certain way (in programmer’s term, he had no forward Vector, which is bad. LOL). After XNA finally installed on his computer, he began translating everything to it, so the rest of the team relaxed and chatted. Unfortunately, we had to switch engines again due to a content pipeline problem XNA was giving us, and so we switched to Unity so more of us (there was only him and I programming, and since he had his own engine I really hadn’t been programming) could work on the project. By the time 3:30AM on Sunday rolled around, many of the teams looked very tired, and a couple teams were done and polishing. We had just finished a beta minus our heart and stomach features in Unity, and it was awesome. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the time and means to learn the many aspects of Unity and put everything in that we wanted, but what came out of it was a playable demo, and I think that’s what’s important.

By 11 AM, most teams were done and submitting (you can see a screenshot of my game as the header image for this post), and so everyone was pretty much relaxing and chatting about how they wanted to sleep. I know I sure did! At 11:30 judging began, and after all of that, I went home.

Global Game Jam 2013 was really awesome, and I will definitely be joining next year if I can! I learned a lot about producing, a lot about Unity, and I realized that I still have a long way to go before I can program with the big boys. Also, I should’ve taken more pictures so I could’ve put some in this post. LOL. Next time!

Just sayin’.