The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is an annual event where participants from around the world come together to design and develop new games in a span of 48 hours.

This was my second year and I teamed up with the following:

  • Adrian Richie
  • Andy Le Conte
  • Jason Magee

We are all Guernsey based Software Developers / IT consultants. In addition to dev skills Andy also bolsters the creative side (and by bolster I really mean that he supplies 99% of the artistic side of the project – the other 1% comes from Jason who contributed a green blob which we will endeavour to keep in the game if we can sneak it past Andy).

We did a bit of prep upfront and met up a week or so ahead of the event to figure out our strengths and weaknesses and brainstorm ideas. We came up with an overambitious list of games and eventually filtered it down to a platformer (subject to the theme of the game jam).

Tech-wise, we decided to pick an engine in advance and try to get familiar with it ahead of the jam. We settled upon Game Maker which was an engine that a couple of us had been playing around with and I had been pretty impressed, particularly having seen some of the games the vlambeer had created with it (Super Crate Box, Serious Sam, Nuclear Throne and others). It looked perfect for a game jam, lending itself to rapidly building out a 2d patformer game.

Myseld and Jase even bought a Udemy course on GameMaker (and forked out a whopping $10 in one of their continuous firesales). The course was excellent and a good intro to game maker.

The Global Game Jam kicked off on 29th Jan and after a pint or two to get the creative juices flowing we settled in to a corner of the also newly opened ‘Digital Greenhouse’ along with several other teams in preparation for the theme announcement.

After the usual lengthy GGJ kickoff video, the theme for this years GGJ was revealed…

…we were pretty pleased with this as a theme and quickly agreed on sticking with a platformer. We honed in on a dungeon crawler with the following narrative…

Our hero has had his partner snatched from him, sacrificed in a ritual, and taken down to hell. He decides to descend the many levels of hell to get her back. In order to get deeper into hell he has to slay the many different creatures of hell and free their souls. Collecting the souls allows him to activate and charge the gateways that allow him to head deeper into the pit and get ever closer to the Devil himself. What he’s going to do when he faces the ultimate test he does not know. He’ll figure that out when he gets there!!!

And so the game development commenced.

As with every game jam, it was quite a slog but a lot of fun. Andy focused on delivering all of the art - background tileset for the dungeon, animated main character and some goblins and skeletons. Jason worked on the game mechanics - jumping, ledge grabs, hacking and slashing. Adrian helped out on all the coding tasks and plumbed in the menus and level transitions. I’ve always been fascinated by procedural level generation and thought it would be a simple 1 day task to knock out something that assembled an array of different level parts into a playable level. This proved to be way out with things coming together just before the end of the jam.

A couple of videos of the game cna be seen below. We achieved quite a lot given that we started from scratch:

  • Animated main character
  • Skeleton monsters
  • Rolling bolders
  • Arrow traps
  • Flame traps
  • Lava
  • Can jump through ledges
  • Soul smoke that gravitates towards the hero
  • Randomly generated levels
  • End of level boss

Jason’s blobby monster!

Level generation and end game beastie

Showcasing all the monsters and traps