So, this was the project that set in motion a lot of things for me. Not only learning a lot about my self(including determination level, desire to learn, and developing a never give up attitude).
It first began back in July. I had received an email the week prior to the theme, which games had to be based upon, was released. The email included some details regarding the requirements of the game entries for the Game Jam. For those who don’t know what a “Game Jam” is, it’s basically a game design & development contest. Typically folks will work solo, or on teams, to create a game within a time limit, and submit it as an entry into the contest. Some of the basic rules and restrictions for this game jam included it needing it to be an “endless” style game, where the score keeps on racking up before the player gets taken down somehow(think “JetPack Joyride”, and “Endless Jumper”). It also required multi-player feature(with all controls located on the keyboard), track high score, and follow a particular theme not yet revealed.
This particular game jam was put on by the OperaGX team, who had recently acquired YoYoGames, the current developers of the GameMaker Studio(Original Creator: Mark Overmars) game engine many people use to develop video games as a hobby or professionally. There’s been some very high quality games made using the software, which have been released on mobile, pc, and consoles worldwide(you may have even played one without realizing it was made using GameMaker Studio(GMS). The winner would go on to be placed on the “No Internet” page of the OperaGX web/game browser, where around 9 million gamers would have the chance to play it when the internet was down, along with cash prizes(for top three finalists), and professional developers over at YoYo Games to help polish the winning title before embedding it into the web browser. I was no doubt interested, as it would lead to a lot of exposure. Overall I was just really excited to get back into game development, as I hadn’t done anything with the skill in almost two decades. I was really into it as a teenager, but eventually faded out, as a “never going to happen dream”. I always dreamed of starting a small indie game design studio for myself, and others.
It was Wednesday the 28th, or the following day Thursday the 29th. And, the theme of the game jam was released. It was the theme “UFO”, which goes in line with the style of OperaGX. And, is also fitting, because there has been a lot of news, and coverage of UFOs recently in the news, and else where.
That very afternoon I came up with about a dozen different designs I could create my game based upon. I had to settle on just one design though. So, I spent 2-3 hours and threw together a small mockup for the game, which I uploaded to YouTube, and used to find a fantastic pixel artist that same night, whom I hired him to create the art for the game project I had in mind. In the next post, I will go into further detail, about the design and development process.
Here is the YouTube video for that original game mockup I created on that day: