Global Game Jam 2011

My first game jam experience was last year’s Global Game Jam, and I’m happy to announce that one year out I did it again! I’ve gone to a number of smaller jams over the past year, and was much more confidant that I knew what I was getting into this time around.

One of the achievements this year was to build a game using aggregated data. After Friday’s video keynote and kickoff meeting, the first idea I pitched was a trading card game where the deck is built from the list of people you follow on twitter. While that game didn’t gain enough traction to win a team, other jammers did grab on to the idea of twitter integration. My friend Ryan came up with a pitch of his own, and a platformer originally pitched as TwitAssassin came to life as @TwitApocalypse!

TwitApocalypse has a pretty silly premise: You are the grim reaper, and you have overslept the end of the world. Upon waking, you must use twitter to find and eliminate the survivors. Based on the idea of culling the people you don’t care about from your twitter list, the goal of the game is to traverse a platformer level and gruesomely destroy your friends. The game tracks who has tweeted most recently, and gives you a ‘Kill List’ of recent tweeters—These are your priority targets, and you get a bonus for taking them out. Killing somebody not on your list results in a penalty.

We had an awesome group of people working on this project: Ryan Kahn, Darius Kazemi and Imran Malek handled the programming; Shervin Ghaemmaghami served as our voice actor and narrative designer; Vytenis Krukonis and I took care of the art; and audio genius Akash Thakkar came on mid-Saturday to help us with sound and music. It was a great group, and I hope to continue working with this team on future projects.

Just as last year gave me an opportunity to stretch my musical skills, this game jam saw me doing my first ever pixel art animations. While previous projects had involved some pixel art, I’d never tackled anything as complex as our grim reaper player character. Despite my lack of experience I am extremely happy with how it turned out, and I will post an animation demo of the character soon. In the meantime, you can check out some of @Death’s poses there to the left.

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