by Eben Griger and Nolan Leahy
Last weekend marked Ball State’s 2nd annual participation in the Global Game Jam event, which sees contestants attempt to create a stand-alone game in just 48 hours. We (Eben Griger and Nolan Leahy) had a chance to playtest some of the final products and talk to some of those involved. Here’s what we tested and what the developers had to say:
Designed by Daniel Litt, Derik Taylor and Zachary Bube, Radio Labyrinth features a puzzle that requires the player to identify where they are located in the midst of a multitude of large grids and escape through the only door on the same grid. The player is invisible on this grid, and the only clue given to the player as to where they are is a 3×3 grid on the top, which highlights the walls and deadly traps that can hinder progress or end the game.
The biggest problem the Radio Labyrinth team ran in to was getting their work to actually stick. “We had to do a lot of work four or five times, easily,” said Taylor, referring to Unity (what the game was made on), which would not save their progress or changes.
“It’s pretty barebones,” said Taylor, in regards to the game’s lack of menu or tutorial. “I thought it went pretty smoothly, especially considering Zach and I don’t really do much in the way of game development.”
Lost Transmission was designed by a team of animation students: Emma Mills-Rittmann, Jake Mosher, Jessica Miller, Judah Licht, Melissa Taber and Olivia Peterson, all sharing duties like design, production and story.
The game is narrative driven and affected by choices the player makes. Working like a digital “choose your own adventure” book, these choices are divided into two options per opportunity, and the choices the player makes has an effect on the narrative’s ending. It stars the astronaut named Kip, who wanders through space scouring for extra scrap and hoping to survive. The game features an intricate, pixelated art style which the team was very proud of.
“Time was an issue in terms of not getting sleep,” said Peterson, when asked about the biggest challenge the team faced during the design process. “We worked for a very ambitious goal, and I definitely think we met that.”
Cyber DJ, a musically oriented game created by Allie Curtis, Lucas Smith, Alex Watson and Tanner Stanley, gives players different tracks of sound to combine and match to the master track.
“The pieces we picked had to play without sounding absolutely terrible regardless of minor alterations to them,” said Smith. “There’s actually about four and a half minutes worth of audio that didn’t make it…”
The characters and story are revealed through the audio tracks as the player progresses. Curtis explained, “It was meant to me an experimental game that focused just on the transmission of music.”
Images: Global Game Jam 2018, Wikimedia