Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Another 12 months have passed, and Royal Wins has hosted another internal Game Jam. What's that you say? It's a period of a lot of stress, a little sleep, and apparently some amount of fun.
To outline more specifically, Game Jam is when the entire studio is split up into small teams to compete against each other (for an intensive two days) developing a game. The game however, has to follow some rules. Before the Game Jam starts, every individual submits a word into a hat so each team can draw one word out to become the theme of their game. Then each team spins a wheel to determine if they make a casino game, or skill game, and if it's for Android or iOS. Then they have 48 hours to make it. Simple right?
This year saw three teams:
- Myles, Nicole, Damien, and Danny formed 'Team Grumpy Cat' who had to create a casino game for iOS with the theme 'Golden';
- Brad, Di, Leanne, Ryan, and Danny D formed 'The No Myles Club' who had to create a skill game for Android with the theme 'Cats';
- John, Sheng, Tim, and Claire formed 'The Stupid Crazy Jesters' team who had to create a casino game for iOS with the theme 'Wings'.
Team Grumpy Cat created a roulette game based around Mr Chow, named Temple of Despair. Their theme was prevalent in the golden dragons decorating the temple. This game was visually wonderful. The team incorporated a chip-based betting mechanic not unlike some other casino games in the Kash Karnival and used the standard roulette rules and regulations.
The second screen feature was a mini game in which the player had to guide a cookie safely around obstacles and into Ben Chow's possession by drawing lines that would act as ramps. Interesting and different, although unfortunately buggy. A few times I tried to play the second screen feature and there was an obstacle that spawned right where the cookie started... there was no escape!
The No Myles' Club created a Match-3 game they titled "Kashmore Katacombs" that fit into Klayton Kolt's story on Mt Kashmore. The point of the game was to group and clear the three "Gold Cat" tiles in a race against time. (See how they included their theme of "cat" here?)
As the grid of tiles rose up the screen, players had to look for the groups and tap them to clear all like tiles in the group so other tiles would fall into place to create more grouping and tapping opportunities. There were even power-ups that could be made to assist the clearing of the tiles. With a similarity to the popular Match Maker puzzle game, "Kashmore Katacombs" looked the goods and was fun to play.
In the spirit of variety, Team The Crazy Stupid Jesters also created a roulette game. It's a fundamental casino game not currently in the Kash Karnival, so was always going to be a popular option for new ideas. This game was titled "Roulette Rescue" and followed Viktor after he'd crashed his plane over Moji Island. Plane = wings = theme. Boom. The team implemented a fantastic UX system that involved a dynamic display of the potential win while placing a bet in their fluent drag-and-drop betting system.
While playing roulette, players would earn blueprint pieces they could later piece together in their slider puzzle second screen feature. Unfortunately, without a display of how the final blueprint should look, this was extremely difficult.
All teams should be commended for their efforts and commitment throughout the jam. There was very little rest and a lot of hard work. But at least they got pizza. That soft, cheesy goodness melting in their mouths. Or perhaps that was just drool from fatigue, either way. The winner of the Game Jam? Well, while I bust out a painfully long drum roll, check out this quick video highlight of the experience.
Congratulations to The No Myles' Club.
Until next year, the monster that is Game Jam rests within the Kashmore Katacombs.