TO Jam 5 – Development Video Blogs (Part 3 of 3)

Posted by aBethke on Wednesday May 26, 2010 Under TO Jam

In a short time the TO Jam Arcade and final judging for the People’s Choice Award will be upon us. Andrew and I have been doing some revisions on the game slowly while working on other projects. At this point Ive kicked most of the remaining work to Andrew at his request and have moved onto other Golden Gear projects.

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TO Jam 5 – Development Video Blogs (Part 2 of 3)

Posted by aBethke on Tuesday May 4, 2010 Under TO Jam
Reentry - Missile Stage

Reentry - Missile Stage

*sniffle* Oh how I already long for the arrival of TO Jam 6 next year.

Andrew and I are continuing development on Reentry, which is going good for the most part. We are having a big debate between us at the moment because he really likes the point and click control system and I want to use the keyboard system I have implemented. Its a big problem because of game balance and how the game would evolve from here so we need to make a decision soon. From my play testing research most people find the mouse based system really annoying. I think the game would benefit much more by allowing the user greater control and increasing the overall game speed. We will get it sorted out soon enough though.
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TO Jam 5 – Development Video Blogs (Part 1 of 3)

Posted by aBethke on Tuesday Apr 27, 2010 Under TO Jam

TO Jam 5 has concluded but the post-event fun continues. Throughout the event I recorded a series of video blogs detailing the progress of my team’s (Golden Gear) progress on our game Reentry.

The idea behind the game was that you are manually piloting a spaceship while its reentering the atmosphere and undergoing a progressive series of system malfunctions and failures. The game is survival based with your “score” being your total play time. We hit one major bug that we never got fixed before the end of the event which really hurt the final outcome of the game. Around the “third level” the ship gets stuck in a spin and the user can never get control again. This wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that the ship doesn’t immediately blow up and by the time it has, you’ve walked away in frustration. So you can probably guess the first thing getting fixed before the public arcade.

Here are the first 6 clips of footage (about 5 minutes total) of the 18 I shot. Enjoy!

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TO Jam 5 Concluded

Posted by aBethke on Monday Apr 26, 2010 Under TO Jam

Another amazing TO Jam completed. 44 Hours of coding, 9 hours of sleep and perhaps just a little unaccounted for travel time. TO Jam 5 was 5 kinds of awesome.

Ill hold off posting the game for now to clean it up a bit post-jam / pre-arcade. XP

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TO Jam 5 – Beginning of the End

Posted by aBethke on Sunday Apr 25, 2010 Under TO Jam

It is around 315am when I am writing this at George Brown College on the very beginning of the final day of TO Jam. Currently we have 17 hours remaining, which of course seems like infinity but will in fact evaporate extremely quickly. Heather and I are here working away while Andrew and Kienan are catching some much needed rest. Heather will probably pass out soon, but she’s a trooper. I myself have just recovered after working for the better part of 24 hours and then slept for 9 and am back for more action and excitement.

The game is coming along nicely. Mostly Im focusing on the sound related implementations for the time being and then will switch over to the TO DO list that I have quickly amassing. Heather is watching me write this, its a bit off putting XP.

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TO Jam 5 is underway!

Posted by aBethke on Saturday Apr 24, 2010 Under TO Jam

I am currently sitting in George Brown college as an attendee (and temporary overseer, muwahahahaha) of TO Jam 5. I have not slept and have been awake for about 24 hours at this point. Our game design is well underway but will it be fun? We shall see.

I arrived around noon yesterday and have been working (for the most part) ever since. Andrew and I volunteered to relieve the organizers and were left in charge of keeping an eye on things and letting people into/out of the building if security wasn’t around (“You mean… I have authoritae?”), a great honour as far as Im concerned. But alas, at this late hour (early?) the hunger assails us and the desire for the Patrician to open grows ever steadily as the 10am hour approaches and with it the rejuvenated return of our event organizers.

The night before the event started I got to make an appearance at George Brown for a small number of students to talk a bit about flash game development and give them some sample code and an overview of how to work it. My hope is of course that something I gave them will help them out during the event.

The code is calling, but that could just be the insanity. 😉

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TO Jam – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 1 of 7

Posted by aBethke on Monday Apr 19, 2010 Under TO Jam

Quick Overview
If you are reading this you probably already know what TO Jam is but just in case, the quick and dirty is that it’s the single greatest Toronto based event all year. 72 hours of video game making madness where you and your cohorts (who must be equally insane to have signed up) will take a game from concept to complete. Noobs, Veterans and the spectrum in between will be in attendance all trying to make the greatest of Toronto Indie games.

As someone with experience in game development and TO Jam I wanted to offer some advice on the event to anyone who was interested. 🙂

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TO Jam – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2 of 7

Posted by aBethke on Monday Apr 19, 2010 Under TO Jam

Why attend TO Jam?
At TO Jam, there are a wide range of participants from beginners to professionals. Various people attend the event for different reasons and I thought I would start with a quick breakdown of some of the reasons why someone would want to be involved with TO Jam.

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TO Jam – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 3 of 7

Posted by aBethke on Monday Apr 19, 2010 Under TO Jam

Finding a Team
So you have decided to attend the event and need a team. First off, good for you! TO Jam, as was previously stated and will certainly be stated again, is an awesome event. Ahh but now you are faced with the logistical challenges of finding a team. You have a number of options:

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TO Jam – A Beginner’s Guide – Part 4 of 7

Posted by aBethke on Monday Apr 19, 2010 Under TO Jam

Game Selection
This is an extremely important topic for TO Jam and one that usually requires a little bit of experience to properly temper your final choice. One of the best ways to break down the decision of what type of game to make is to determine what purpose you want the game you make to serve. What do I mean? Allow me to elaborate…

Your First Game
Perhaps you have never made a game before or its your first time at TO Jam. For these people TO Jam is a great opportunity to sit down with a bunch of other very passionate people and try to make your very first game. Even if it goes horribly wrong and you don’t finish your game you will have gained a ton of valuable experience, especially for next year, and hopefully had some fun in the process.

Start Now, Finish Later
This is an approach I have taken in the past with games like Der Baron von UberCheesen’s Cheese Factory and Flip the Beach. The idea is very simple, start a project at TO Jam which will become a prototype for a larger project later. One of the best features of TO Jam is the fact that it makes you do a lot in a very short amount of time. What would have taken potentially weeks or months on your own gets done in a single weekend. As such, TO Jam becomes a great place to prototype game concepts that you want to take further after the event, while still giving you a completed game for the event itself.

People’s Choice Award
Ahh yes, the coveted People’s Choice Award. Who doesn’t want their game to rise above the rest to shine like a golden shiny thing of shiny goldeness and wonder; to be hailed as the greatest amongst them all! The People’s Choice Award, as quick background info, is the award given to the top three games as chosen by you the people at the TO Jam Arcade post-event event. If you are making a game with the idea of winning this award then you should focus your game design on something that is visually crowd pleasing, quick to learn, easy to play and it doesnlt hurt if more than one person can play at once. Take into account the logistics of the presentation event when picking a game type: Multiple games displayed at once in a crowded bar style environment (historically speaking) jammed full of TO Jam participants and as many of their friends that would come out to support them. Over the years Ive seen many types of games do well as far as the judging goes but some of the key characteristics Ive noticed that they all share are simply: They are entertaining for the passive audience to watch, they usually allow for more than one player at a time and they are easy to pick up and play with minimal to no instruction.

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