Chillennium 2016

So this past weekend I drove 3 hours from Dallas to A&M for the 2016 Chillennium game jam. There were about 60 total teams from all over Texas universities as well as a few out of state universities like Kansas and Oklahoma.

The entries can be found here, aloing with my own game that my group created here.

The theme was “foofaraw”, which everyone immediately googled to find it meaing something along the lines of “needlessly nitpicky” or “making a big deal of a small thing”. The game that I ended up creating with my group was “Bob the Businessman (Vampire)”. You play as a vampire who’s late for work and has to dash between objects that cast shadows to shield yoruself from the sun. The “foofaraw” element came from the vampire’s job being some boring, pencil-pushing office job, and getting back to work doesn’t really matter that much.

The theme itself was okay-ish, though I found it a bit too obscure to really be condusive towards thinking up game ideas. I did get a few other game ideas that I’m pocketing for later, so we’ll see how those go.

The game itself turned out decent enough. There’s a kernel of a playable concept in there. I do like the idea of having a fast-paced platformer where the goal is to dash, jump, and weave through obstacles and minimizing damage rather than trying to avoid it wholly.

I also realized over the game jam that I tend to over-rely on 2D platforming when doing work on projects. There’s nothing wrong with doing 2D work, but I gravitate towards programming tasks that I am already familiar with or are easily solvable/searchable on Google. I tend to be apprehensive towards potential sunk costs, so when I think that a mechanic I want to implement or a programming task I want to try will most likely end in failure, or will potentially not be used in the end, I try to put it off and avoid it with easier tasks.

I need to challenege myself with programming that I haven’t necessarily done, particularly in game jams. That’s the only way that I will improve my coding skills. I should look into learning a different aspect of coding each week, maybe a small personal project of just something I’d like to figure out.

Overall, was an interesting experience. The lessons I’ve learned  are definitely gong to help me out with the capstone as I have been stalling on it for a while. I’ve been apprehensive towards including more complex mechanics because I’m worried about overloading the player, or making the mechanic complicated, or screwing up something along the line as I’m coding, which should be the opposite of my concern. I can always remove a mechanic or feature if I find it to not work with the end result.

We’ll see what happens next.


~Tomer Braff

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