At the company, during last May, we had the second Game Jam (held at Delta Engine Gmbh). The event took place from 7th to 10th and was attended by around 30 participants divided into 8 teams.
This Jam’s theme was “Do the Impossible”. For more infos I suggest to take a look to the company’s blog here.
As a game designer, my role started well before the jam beginning: I started thinking to what to do a few days in advance.
The team was nor easy nor complex, but extremely wide. What does doing the impossible mean? How can you interpret it?
After some reasoning I came out with a simple but at the same time very difficult game, as you will read later.
During the first jam morning, we had to form teams. These were formed by free will: anyone was allowed to propose an idea and anyone else was allowed to join him/her to work on that project. This way each team leader had to “win” the support of others by convincing them with his/her ideas. Of course these was a maximum cap for the team size!
I proposed my design and won the support of a level designer/artist and 3 programmers. We had no sound designer, so I took that charge myself. This way, the IMPOSSIBLE team was formed and the project could start.
So, what’s the game about? Impossible is an easy platform/puzzle game where the player controls a bipedal cat (featuring a dodger expression) aiming at collecting the letters of the word IMPOSSIBLE. The game graphics is pixel art 8 bit style. Everything aspect of the game is conceived to make it as much similar as possible to an ’80s game: besides its look, there are no tutorials, there are minimal controls (just left, right, jump and crouch), of course, it is difficult to play and it features some great 8 bit musics that luckily I was able to find on the web for free.
So, the game is: move the cat with the keyboard, collect the 2 or 3 letters displayed in each level before the timer runs out, enter next level, collect the new letters and go on until the game is finished.
That’s the game; it is true, but it lacks the key and bastard feature! Exactly, there is a bastard feature! While at the game start controls are WASD, after every time the player collects a letter, these controls change randomly on the keyboard! For example, jump could become V, left could become P, right could become X and crouch could become N. Every time a letter is collected! You can figure out that after a while, when the timer is running down, the player starts to freak out!
It is interesting to notice how every person who tried this game found if both funny and frustrating, exactly like games from the ’80s, when we were extremely disappointed by the hardness of those games, but we could not stop playing them because they still were super funny. IMPOSSIBLE, luckily, was able to create back that same feeling.
I am very satisfied by the outcome of this game Game Jam, because, again, a small team managed to create a good quality product in a really small amount of time. Just like Til Death, this little game should be published one day with one of the Delta Engine’s releases.
If you are interested in the other games created during this Jam, again I point you the Delta Engine’s blog, where you are able to peek through the other games.
P.S. One last thing: just like in the old school games, the avatar can crouch by pressing the down button, but this skill is completely useless!