Global Game Jam 2013

Last weekend I took part in the Global Game Jam 2013, a 48-hour game development event. The Perth jam was organised by Lets Make Games and held at ECU Mt. Lawley. This year’s theme was an MP3 file of a series of heartbeats.

I teamed up with Minh and Nick to build a game called “O Deer”. The player takes the role of a deer in a forest. The title screen is disturbed by a gun shot and the deer begins to run. The player then controls the deer by either running further or coming to a stop. While the seer is running, its heart rate increases and it is in danger of exhaustion, while the deer is stationary it can observe more of the surroundings but is in danger of being shot by hunters.

Here are a few thoughts:

Good bits:
- I love working on stuff with Nick and Minh, they are fun to be around.
- We decided to develop the game in HTML5/Javascript and use the Three.js 3D library.
- We used git on bitbucket for version control, which went very well.
- We were less hard-core about finishing the game on Sunday, which made for a less stressful day.
- Presentations were great as always.

Less good bits:
- I barely got a chance to go around and meet people or check out the progress on games.
- We started a Trello board, but didn’t use it much.
- Nick was unwell with a cough and wasn’t at full strength for much of the jam. Minh was the organiser of the Perth jam and was very busy leading up to and during the event. I had some family commitments on Sunday too, so we were pretty short of time.
- We fell short with some of the features. The main mechanics of the game were not complete.
- Late Sunday when we should have been getting the game ready to submit, we were all busy, so we didn’t get a game submitted.
- Three.js is easy to use and it impressed me enough to want to use it again in the future. We had two problems however: Our initial attempts to use the scene exporter from blender resulted in file format version mismatches, which were frustrating. I’m not sure how we solved this in the end. Secondly, when it came time to export the animation from blender into the three.js format, it produced very large files that wouldn’t load in three.js.
- It has been a while since I have done 3D programming, I’m getting rusty with those concepts, which is very sad.

It was a great event though, I’m always happy to help out with the game jam in a few small ways. I can’t wait for next year.

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