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Entries for tag "competitions", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 33.
Global Game Jam 2016 - Postmortem of our project
Last weekend, this year's edition of Global Game Jam took place all around the world. Just like in previous years, I participated in 3City Game Jam - a site in Gdańsk, Poland. It is a big one, with over 150 participants, organized by Playsoft company in their office. Theme this year was "Ritual". Regarding technology, Unity was most popular in our site, with just few games using something else: Unreal Engine, HTML5, GameMaker and C++ with SFML.
We have also used Unity. Our team consisted of 3 programmers. Here you can see our game: Bloody Eclipse, but it is far from being finished or playable. Honestly speaking, in my opinion the project on this jam went exceptionally poor. We didn't even make it to the top 10 best voted games to be presented on a big screen. That's why I'd like to share some conclusions, for you as well as for my future self.
First, it were not environmental issues that caused any problems. We all had our hardware and software set up before the jam, with Unity, Visual Studio, Git client and other tools already in place. Internet worked perfectly with transfer up to 80 Mbps in both directions. Second, it was not a lack of knowledge or skills. Our work in Unity went quite smoothly. We could deal with C#, 3D math and Git pretty well. Third, it was not because of the lack of artists in our team. Sure, graphics is very important for overall experience, but the guys who made The Bad Ritual also didn't have artists in their team and they somehow found a consistent visual style for their game, made it fun and pretty. There are many possibilities to make minimalistic and yet visually pleasant game, just like there are many free assets ready to use in Unity Asset Store.
The biggest thing that was missing in our team was management/leadership. I deliberately don't call it planning or design, because in a hectic environment like a game jam it's not enough to design the game at the beginning and then just execute. Things are changing fast, new ideas come to mind, time is running fast and new obstacles appear (like bugs or difficulties in development), so someone should have an authority to decide what to do next, keep the list of tasks "TODO" and update it constantly with priorities assigned so the most important things are done first. Noone took this role in our team. As the result, we've spent almost whole Saturday developing and polishing algorithm for enemy movement and around half an hour brainstorming and then voting for the game title, while our game used untextured, placeholder cubes and spheres as models until the very end :)
Conclusion: It's not enough to know how to code. It's also important to decide WHAT to code so that best possible result can be achieved with limited time and resources.
But the Global Game Jam as a whole is not a contest (despite our site actually was one, with PlayStation 4 for each team member as first prize) but just a fun, creative event. Despite all the problem we had I think it was fun. I had yet another opportunity to use Unity, which is a great technology. I realized I can handle Git pretty well, despite I don't feel like an expert knowing about "rebase" and such advanced stuff. I realized I still remember how to use the so much unintuitive inteface of Blender, which I learned many years ago to use in my master thesis. I could play many interesting games created on this jam, like my favorite: Witch Rite (it took 3rd place) or the one that won the contest: Acolytes: Ritual of Ascension. And finally, I've met many interesting people who do all sorts of crazy stuff, from running a company that produces medical software and hardware, to visiting escepe rooms and practicing celtic dances :)
Global Game Jam 2015 - Our game: ComicsTale
Last weekend a big event took place - Global Game Jam. As every year, thousands of people around the world had fun while making a game in 48 hours. I was in a jam site 3City Game Jam (link to site at globalgamejam.org) in Gdańsk, Poland, organized in Olivia Business Center by Playsoft Games. With 163 registered jammes, it was one of the biggest in the world (actually 24th out of 518 sites)!
Theme this year was a question: "What do we do now?" so we came up with an idea for a game that looks like a comics, where player has to choose where to click. Our team was:
Developers: Leonardo Kasperavičius, Adam Sawicki
2d artist: Ryszard Niedzielski
Game designer & producing: Frederic Raducki
And here is our game: ComicsTale (source code on GitHub). It is made in Unity (as most of the games), with 2D graphics and with mobile platforms in mind. In the voting on 3City Game Jam, we took 4th place out of around 36.
It was fun to make game in a weekend. People were nice, atmosphere was great and there was free pizza! I recommend participating in Global Game Jam to anyone interested in game development. It's much more interesting than coding alone at home and submitting games to some virtual, online competitions.
Simple 2-digit Method of Task Management
Managing some list of tasks to do (or "TODO list") is very important skill that helps in both work and everyday life. I usually use GTD (Getting Things Done) method. But sometimes, like on the recent Hack3city competition, a simpler method is more suitable.
A lot could be said about this subject (maybe some day I write an article or prepare a presentation about it). Generally, tasks to do can be organized based on different criteria, like:
Even after "filtering" only tasks that you can do and you should as soon as possible, they can be sorted in three different "dimensions":
It's obvious that not all the tasks will be done. During a 2-day programmers' competition, just like in everyday life, writing down ideas for doing things is good, but there is never enough time to complete them all. That's why there is a need for some method of deciding what to do next. During Hack3city, I came up with a simple, ad hoc method, which I want to describe here. The goal of developing it was to make the bookkeeping of the list as quick and easy as possible.
During a hackathon like Hack3city, where we created most of our game in just 2 days, the 3rd dimension is not important. Sure sometimes something must be coded quickly because artist or level designer is waiting for it to be able to continue his work. Then I do this first. But otherwise all tasks are equally urgent - they should be done in the short amount of time, during the event. So what I did was I opened the system Notepad and started writing down tasks and all ideas that should be/could be added to our game, one line each. But instead of starting a line with "-" for just a bullet, I started it with two digits, meaning:
Normally I just delete lines with tasks I finished, but since some time during the event, I started to move them to "DONE" section instead to show them later in this post. So here is partial task list from our game:
23 smoke effect when player falls onto the ground
22 flashlight rotates when player dies
23 flashlight rotates following player walking animation
31 spear, shooting from a wall when player pushes a button
12 delay appearance of "game over" text
22 push button
12 door that can be opened
13 red eye of zombie should pulse and blink
13 graphics in the menu instead of text
31 sound effects
33 fix ladder climbing animation
31 fix double-jump bug
22 walking sound effects should be played randomly
12 parallax for moving background
21 bug: player death animation doesn't work
11 playsoft logo
12 zombie: add hysteresis to the decision weather approach the player
21 death from the spikes
12 turning flashlight on and off
22 there are some bugs/spiders walking on the floor
33 a spiked ball on a chain, hanging and swinging from the ceiling
Of course the list of tasks was constantly changing as artist, level designer and me came up with new ideas or decided that something is more or less important, found new bugs during testing etc. But I tried to concentrate on finishing one thing at time. When finished, I picked up next task to do according to following rule: I reviewed whole list to find a task with the smallest sum of its numbers. So the order in which I was doing the tasks was:
This way we managed to accomplish most of the tasks we planned so we were quite satisfied with our game as it looked and worked pretty much as we planned. That's why I believe this simple 2-digit method of managing task list is good for hectic, time-constraint and constantly changing work environment.
Hack3city 2014 - Review
5-11 May 2014 there was first edition of Hack3city - a hackathon in Gdańsk, Poland. It was interesting and unusual in many ways. First of all, there were 4 different tracks, so each developer could choose what is interesting to him.
Teams could have up to 3 people. Of course I was in the Playsoft track. We made a game together with Arek Duchnowski and Marcin Szymczak, who work in aideMMedia.
On Monday evening there was an official beginning (and free beer :) That's when themes of each track were announced. During the week we could work on our projects from home. On Saturday and Sunday (including the night) we were invited to work all together in an open space in Starter.
Also on Saturday organizers announced additional "diversifiers" (like on Global Game Jam). Fulfilling them was additional plus. For games, they were like "graphics is black and white", "game is controlled with one button" or... "game includes Playsoft logo". You could imagine how such logo might be used in a game themed "fear of the dark" :)
On Saturday and Sunday we have 3 meals - all for free (and free beer at the end :) There were mentors representing the sponsoring companies available in place so we could ask them for help.
There were totally 19 teams participating in all tracks. Most of them were in the gamedev track. Projects were evaluated by a jury based on a 5-minute presentation and there were winners selected in each track. Some teams just presented their applications, while others focused on delivering a PowerPoint presentation. Finally we took 3rd place. See also more about Our game from Hack3city 2014.
But the event was not only about programming. Maybe because it was organized by and in the Starter, it had a "startup feeling". For me it looked like many people, while being programmers, were more focused on money and business than technology. Maybe the culmination of it was presentation of an application that helps with first aid - shows information about how to help injured person, helps measuring rate of artifical respiration etc. Someone from the audience asked a question: "Do you have business model?" Someone else from the audience answered jokingly: "If you want to save someone's life, please first watch this ad".
Overall I think the event was well organized. Rules and general feeling was somehow similar to Global Game Jam, still quite unique and different in many details. I don't know if it's a good idea to announce the theme on Monday and allow working during whole week. Developers with lots of free time have advantage over these who study, have family or a full-time job. I also didn't like the idea of presenting each project 3 times instead of only at the end. It took lots of precious time that we could spend on coding and also made the final presentation less of a suprise. Everything else was great (did I mention free beer?), so I recommend attending this event when it will be organized next time!
Hack3city 2014 - Our Game
I just came back from Hack3city - a programming competition. Participants had to develop their applications over this week - Monday to Friday working from home, while Saturday and Sunday working in Starter, Gdańsk. There were 4 tracks. We participated in track organized by Playsoft, where we had to create a game. The theme of this competition was "fear of the dark". We took 3rd place.
As I promised to some of you, I publish playable version of our game today. The game is created in Unity and can be run in web browser if you have Unity Player installed.
Our game is called "Jason McBrady Dark Adventure". It's a 2D platform game. It's about an adventure seeker exploring ancient tombs full of dangers like zombies, who want to kill you, but run away from from the light. It's quite difficult :)
We called our team NOQA. Credits are:
In the next post, I will write more about Hack3city. See: Hack3city 2014 - Review
Global Game Jam 2014
Last time I wrote about our game Ball-B, and today I'd like to say few words about the Global Game Jam in general. For those of you who don't know: It is a worldwide one-weekend event about making games. But it's not just a virtual event where people stay at home and communicate via the Internet. Different organizations around the world share their place so people come to meet and work together as teams. There were 6 sites in Poland. In Warsaw for example, PolyJam 2014 was organized by Poloygon interest group in Warsaw University of Technology. Our site in Gdańsk, called 3city Game Jam (see homepage, entry on globalgamejam.org, Facebook page), was in the office of gamedev studio Playsoft. It was the biggest site in Poland and - according to page Jam Sites by Size - 38th in the world our of 488 with 111 participants. And there was also a waitlist of those who didn't register on time because of limited capacity of the office!
Organizers encouraged us to use Chronolapse to record a time-lapse video from screenshots taken from our desktops in the background. That's an interesting program - I didn't know it before. Unfortunately it didn't work after I connected external monitor to my laptop (despite it claims it supports dual monitor), so finally I didn't use it. They also recorded a time-lapse video from all 48 hours in the office, but I guess it isn't posted on the Internet yet.
The theme this year was a sentence "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." It's so general it could be interpreted quite freely, but many games were about changing a point of view by e.g. switching between different types of characters or some references to psychology. In our site the event had a form of a competition. Voting was using the system just as it's usually done on Warsztat compos and IGK conference - everyone had to choose 3 games (except his own) and give one of them 3 points, one - 2 one - 1. My favourite games were:
While the winners were:
Ball-B - Our Game at Global Game Jam 2014
Here is the game we made during this year's Global Game Jam. It's called Ball-B. The goal is to defend the base at the center of the arena. You are rolling a physically simulated ball (using arrow keys or WSAD) of one of 5 kinds, each one (except the green one) having a special ability activated with Space. ESC key shows menu.
The game is made in Unity, so it works on the web page (if you have Unity Web Player installed) and can be build for multiple desktop as well as mobile platforms.
Windows Binary: Ball_B_Windows.zip (8.78 MB)
Source Code: Ball_B_Source.zip (20.4 MB)
See also Ball-B at globalgamejam.org
One week before the jam I decided to learn Unity a little bit instead of make a game using custom C++ technology, as I always did before. Arek, who is doing 2D graphics at work, also a week ago decided to learn making 3D graphics. So it was a new and interesting experience for both of us. We made our game in same team as last year, only without Klamacz (who now lives in Czech Rapublic and works in Bohemia Inteactive). Our roles were:
I was the only programmer in the team and I didn't try to be the leader of the team or a designer, so I could say the game was artist-driven - most of the time developed considering how things should look like. Which is a good approach. Of course not everything went right and there are many things we could have done better. But it was fun to participate. In the competition at our site we scored 3rd place.
Global Game Jam 2014 - Next Weekend
Next weekend - 24-26 January 2014 - there will be next edition of Global Game Jam - probably the biggest game development competition in the world. Well, it's not actually a competition. But it's about creating games with given theme, in teams, in 48 hours. Any technology can be used - programming languages like C++, game engines like Unity. You can even make a board game!
May sites around the world host this event. Sites registered in Poland this year will be in: £ód¼, Poznań, Cieszyn, Warszawa, Kraków and Gdańsk. The one in my city - Gdańsk - is called 3City Game Jam and it's organized by Playsoft Games in their office, just like the year before.
It's always fun to do something creative together, so I really encourage to leave the work earlier next Friday (or skip some lessons) and go spend that weekend programming/drawing/modelling/designing/drinking coffee and participating in this event. Last year we created a game called Octovirus :)