Don’t step on the cracks!
This weekend I took part in the Global Game jam- lots of fun! You can download the game we created here.
In case you’re new to the whole game jam thing- basically a bunch of people ( some developers, others people who have never made a game before! ) meet up, split off into teams and create small games over a set time period, usually 1-3 days, usually to a theme. The Global Game Jam is a worldwide event in which we all create games at the same time, to the same theme.
This years theme was RITUAL.
We had a team of 7- each of us threw ideas around- the idea of portals and cult rituals were common, as well as childhood games and spooky rituals such as ‘bloody mary’.
Eventually we settled on the idea of an endless runner with a ‘don’t step on the cracks’ mechanic. Our team had two audio guys, so our mechanic was tied to the beat of an impossibly catchy theme song ( with a disco version for when you successfully have a streak of not stepping on the cracks, obviously. ). We added an evil dog who jumps out of a portal and chases you as a reason to keep walking forwards, with the twist ending that the dog was nice all along and it being demonic was all in your head.
The Art Direction
I was the artist on the team, but as our idea was quite heavily ‘crowd sourced’, I asked the team if they had any ideas for the look – two artist styles were mentioned- the dark cartoon style of The Binding of Issac and the pastel-retro vibes of Jack Sachs. I took a additional inspiration from the psychedelic music videos of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and the ‘Pink Elephants’ section of Disneys Dumbo. I also spent a lot of the jam listening to Vaporware artists Blank Banshee and SOPHIE on the recommendation of one of our audio guys.
Began by choosing a camera angle. At first I thought the game would be in first person or from a top angle, but at one point a 2.5d angle was proposed- it didnt seem like it would suit the gameplay as well as a top down angle, but it allowed for larger and more expressive characters as well as more screen space for additional environment details, UI etc.