Global Game Jam 2017
Bergen Game Jam 2017 was my second jam, and first time as organizer.
Bergen Game Jam is part of Global Game Jam, where game enthusiasts gather over a weekend and make table top games and games for screen. Meeting up with people with completely different skills that your own, and making magic happen. This year’s theme was “waves”.
After 48 hours our team had built the game “Death Ship 1349”, a plague ridden, rat infested ship heading for Bjørgvin to (unintentionally) spread the black plague.
We didn’t actually have a Win-state, we focused most of our time on the gameplay. You play an English merchant captain heading for Bjørgvin, Norway, with your crew, and some unwanted passengers gnawing away at your ship. You have to manage your crew and repair damage done by rats, and keep the ship clean.
While doing this you also have to “fight” the ship itself, and it’s momentum in the moving waves, trying to throw you off your path and making walking heavier. We even have a little lag on the camera movement to soften the movements so not to become nauseous, but still increase the feel of a ship being carried off trough high seas.
Here is a deeper dive into my part of the game; the artwork and sprites.
Day 1: Our group landed on a concept after about 20-30 min of excessive brainstorming around “waves”. We decided on the black death (epedemic in waves), a ship going to Bergen (actual vawes), and music being metal and folk (diversifiers: all sounds recorded on site, and using local lore). I drew out the assets, painted the color theme, scanned, and started building the ship in Photoshop from a quick sketch.
For this project I scanned the inked drawings only, usually I would paint them all out by hand with watercolors.
Inked drawings acting as placeholders to test out if I’m on the right track visually.
Scanning different watercolor tones and blobs to use for coloring the inked drawings in Photoshop. Again, for this project we had to be able to backtrack everything in case of complete visual disaster on the drawing board. I would normally ink out, let the lines dry for a few hours, and then paint on top with watercolor. But because of the tight deadline there would be no room for errors, and the PS blending modes became my best friend.
Day 2: The different stages of working with the ship design in Photoshop, while game testing with the programmer. The animator worked on the characters, and the musician let us listen and give input on the score.
Game testing in Unity.
My building blocks laid out as assets/sprite sheet.
Day 3: Tadaa! Finished ship! Our team also recorded sound, made the music, animated the players, and we swithed back and forth giving feedback and contributed to our different areas of expertise. The musician even wrote a shanty! But there was no time left to record and complete it as we had to meet our deadline. But I got to be voice artist for a rat.
And all this happened in 48 hours. So fun to work with such a talented group of people! Students; this is what group work should look like. None of that “let’s have five designers/illustrators compromize on their visual style together” all in the name of Group Assignments. Where technology meets art, music and enthusiastic people is where the real magic happens.
I learnt so much that weekend. If you want to have a look at our group giving a small interview while working, have a look at this short video on Bergen Game Jam’s page on Facebook. If you want to download the game, it’s here.
Game testing our Death Ship after 48 hours of creative game making bonanza.
Here are the players of Team Unobtainium at Bergen Game Jam 2017:
Writer & SFX/Jan Christian Heigl
Music/Jon Inge Lomelund
Looking forward to organize Bergen Game Jam 2018!