In the weekend of 29-31 januari I participated in the Global Game Jam. A team of teachers/lecturers from the Hanzehogeschool were looking for an artist for their team and I was thinking about joining the GGJ this year, so it was great that I could join them!

The Global Game Jam is a weekend in which you create a game with others. The idea is of course that everything is created in those two days. This event is held worldwide, so it’s pretty awesome: games are made at the same time everywhere!

I was happy to hear that there would be a GGJ in Groningen this year, also: the location was fully booked in the end. There were lots of teams! Most of them were students, but some professionals participated as well. The location was in The Big Building, which is the old Post NL (mail) building. There was a relaxed atmosphere and every team seemed to be working pretty focused but also with room for some fun and distraction.

 
Awesome nutella bucket for breakfast/lunch & the panaroma view from our desks!

Jamming
This years theme was ‘Ritual’. After the kick-off we first started brainstorming individually about the theme and our ideas. When our last team-member arrived we shared our ideas and started to form multiple concepts and then tweaked some more until we were happy enough with it.

Every jam has diversifiers: things that give you some directions and constraints. While we had thought of a game design, we didn’t have much of a story or idea behind it so one of us came up with the idea to use one of the Shakespeare stories and create the game around it.
The rest of the weekend flew by pretty fast and working with the team was great. I had a lot of fun creating most of the art/assets for the game. While I do feel that I could’ve worked out things better, in ‘jam-mode’ I just use my quickest drawing & animation methods…you never know how much time you need after all. Luckily I had help from Douwe, who also drew some of the assets and extra characters.  Next time I’d like to think a bit more about the style beforehand, seeing as an artist I did have some time left. And not every asset I made was used, because the programming and designing part did take a bit longer and *poof* there is the sunday 15.00 clock deadline. But for a first-time GGJammer, I’m pretty happy.

Heart’s Ease
The game we made is called ‘Heart’s Ease’, which is a quote from the text of Romeo and Juliet. In the game you play as Romeo. Romeo dances so he can impress Juliet. With the A, S & D-keys you choose a certain dance-move. You have to face obstacles though: things in the courtyard, ballroom, other dancers or maybe even Juliet herself. If you bounce into the objects or walls, Juliet is less and less impressed and so you have to try to dance well enough to reach a specific tile/location of the level so you can continue the story.
The sounds/music were all made by our team, I was quite impressed by what my fellow team-members could do and also pretty cool to see what you can accomplish in only just two days.

Here is some art I made for it. I had a lot of fun creating the assets. Of course drawing something with fancy gowns and suits was lovely, but I had fun thinking of how to pose them for dancing moves, haha.

Art asset made by Petra - PetPet - www.pet-pet.nl Art asset made by Petra - PetPet - www.pet-pet.nl Art asset made by Petra - PetPet - www.pet-pet.nl

Art asset made by Petra - PetPet - www.pet-pet.nl Art asset made by Petra - PetPet - www.pet-pet.nl  Art asset made by Petra - PetPet - www.pet-pet.nl

And here’s a cropped screenshot.

In the end I didn’t have a lot of time to take a lot of screenshots. There was a bit of a problem with the build/version the programmers were working on, just 30 minutes before the end of the jam, but that happens. At least the game worked and we had several levels with different locations of the story.

The Global Game Jam is not a competition, but it’s cool that they did give away awards at the end.
Guess what: our game got the ‘most innovative game’ and ‘best soundtrack’ award :D. The original music our team made did pay off and it was good that we had some people thinking about good game design! We also had people asking if it would come out on Steam or saying that it was the best concept to work out in a ‘ real’ finished game. That’s pretty awesome!

   

It was a cool, fun and inspiring weekend and I’m proud of what we made in such a short time. There were of course a lot of other games as well, you should check it out on the Groningen-GGJ website here!