Category «Game Jam»

How to make an AAA game in 2 days

Before the Global Game Jam 2016 started I gave a short talk about how to make an AAA game in 2 days (as the GGJ is 48 hours long). Of course I have no idea how to make an AAA game, but I thought that sounds more interesting than "How to polish your game in a day". So yeah, it was just about giving a jam game that small bit polish so it wouldn't look that much like a jam game.

I started by talking about some experiences I made years ago: how 2K contacted me as they had this new game - Assassin's Creed - and they already worked a day on it. Their prototype consisted of the protagonist Günter (or so) walking around. But they didn't know how to make it any better. That's why they consulted me. And here is what I told them.

First I noticed how the movement wasn't very smooth, and I showed them how to use tweens so the player character would look professionally animated, even though it was a single sprite. It was a bit of a pain, as tweens need careful coding. For example, as long as the player is tweening, don't let the user change the direction, and so on. But all the sweat paid off.

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 1 - Tweens

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(If you use Unity, don’t use iTween. DOTween and LeanTween are quite okay, though!)

Afterwards, I explained how the same applies to the camera: the more movement is there, the better. We all know how cool AAA games use tracking shots for everything. You can do the same! But using Lerp() to make the camera somewhat smoother can be tricky, as sometimes the player can be too fast and not see where they're going. This is why we add some kind of foresight. This talk from the GDC 2015 can be helpful, even when not doing a sidescroller.

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 2 - Camera

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Apparently the original AssCreed had some teleportation mechanic, but it looked bland. I advised Lionhead to add some transition effects. Those can also be useful when the player gets hit - just color the screen completely red!

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 3 - Transitions

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My game Snakoban has another kind of effect for changing levels. It was a bit of work, but everything is better than just changing screens without any transition.

Snakoban

"Never forget to shake the screen," I told the AssCreed developers. "And of course, use particles everywhere." Every new particle in the game is another step to AAA, as they give instant feedback to the user that something is happening or has happened. And they look nice, too, so even as pure decoration they are useful.

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 4 - Particles

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Our very own game prototype Power of Love has trails for the player characters. It looks cool, because it adds the illusion of velocity, speed and fast movement.

Power of Love

Even with all the improvements so far, Blizzard's prototype looked kind of flat. So I introduced them to the concept of layers - giving the player a shadow, even a simple one, already creates the illusion of depth. Having a foreground and a background with different scrolling speed ("parallax scrolling") is awesome too.

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 5 - Layers

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Although they already worked on the prototype for a day or so, they still missed the most important thing in a game (or any medium, really): emotions! Always take care your game evokes feeling. This is why we improved the story a bit, worked on the colors and chose a cool music that fits. (I think they changed the story later.) Anyway, humor is also cool, but I don't know much about that. It’s up to you, dear reader!

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 6 - Emotions

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Of course, music is great, but sound effects are needed, too. Just like particles, sounds add a lot to the feedback and the atmosphere. Foot steps, "ouch" sounds, you name it. Sound can even create things that aren't there! Want a forest full of animals? Just play a sound loop with rustling in the leaves and singing birds, and your graphics department can leave early, because they won't have anything to do.

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 7 - Sound effects

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Obi Wan gives a good lession, in this regard: it's only real if it has a sound!

Obi Wan and the sound of laser

For the final touch Crytek added simple light effects, to focus on the important things in the game (the player), and increase the atmosphere. Nobody could believe this was still the same game, just with a bit of bling created within a few hours. And we all know that Assassin's Creed became a big hit!

How To Make An AAA Game In 2 Days - Part 8 - Lights

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(You can download the "game" here. It was made with Monkey-X. The tileset is from Silver IV. The dust is from here. The first music track is by my brothers, the second one by Matt Goles. Of course, Assassin's Creed is a trademark of Ubisoft.)

Update for TRI, Making-Of 2, Game Jams, Presskit

TRI

We finally could release a new version of TRI - after "ObliviousFox" comes "OptimusFox" (or in numbers: the game has now version 0.4.1)! Here are the most important changes:

  • Fixed missing collision geometry in level "Tower of Nowhere"
  • Hidden stone parts now save and load their position correctly
  • Kami part of Level "Prisons" is now beatable
  • Changed level info in the pause screen
  • Loading screen can't appear anymore when loading right after death

Level 16

If you got the game via any platform (Desura, our own website, IndieGameStand, GamersGate) we recommend you download the new version as soon as possible, as you can't complete the game otherwise. (Sorry for that!) While we're at it, we'd also like to mention that TRI is now also on itch.io.

      Making-Of, Part 2!

We filmed the second installment of our TRI Making-of series! Have a look:

You can find the first part on YouTube.

      Game Jams!

Two weeks ago, the 7-Day-Roguelike Challenge 2014 started. Tradition demanded that we should participate, and so we did. Unfortunately our ideas didn't trigger the right motivation, and in the end I (Friedrich) started on Friday alone, with only 2.5 days left, to make a small game named Variablo that already got a bit of nice press coverage. In Variablo you have to not only walk through a dungeon and kill monsters, but also move parts of the dungeon around like in a sliding puzzle. It's inspired by the board game Master Mind. It's fairly short.

7drl2014-08

But wait, there's more - this Saturday, Mini Ludum Dare 50 starts - and I am the host! I had several ideas in mind for the theme, but ultimately decided to please the fans and announced that participants need to make a Demake.

miniLD50

Demakes are remakes of already existing games that use a "less advanced" technology - like going from 3D graphics to 2D - or they only present a subset of the original gameplay. Officially the MiniLD starts Saturday and ends Monday, but you can create and upload the game until end of March.

      EGX Rezzed

We changed our plans and decided to fly to Birmingham, UK, the next week, to visit the EGX Rezzed. So if you're around from Friday to Saturday (28th - 30th), and want to have a chat, we will be near the Leftfield Collection (where they exhibit TRI) from time to time! Hope to see you there!

Of course, we will still visit the A MAZE. / Berlin in April. Phew, a lot of traveling around in such a short time frame!

      Presskit

Last but not least Jana took the time to create a new presskit for not only TRI but also about us and our company. She used the excellent presskit() by Rami Ismail. We also have subpages for Pitman, Tumblox and our game jam games now, complete with descriptions, screenshots and videos.

That's it for today! Thanks for reading!

Global Game Jam in Leipzig

I wrote this article after a request to GGJ organizers to tell stories about your own location. It got published on the GGJ page, as well.

facebook_gamejam

You might have heard of Leipzig as a game city, once. Until 2009 the GDC Europe and the Games Convention were hosted in the capital of Saxony, Germany. But since it moved to Cologne in 2009 (and was renamed to “Gamescom”), there was not only a huge convention missing. The absence of game developer events were visible and it hurt to realize that the city became unimportant for the developer scene. Besides, Leipzig has a sparse population of game companies – few of them dedicate their 100% manpower to game development only.
But even without company clusters, big names, game events and conventions, we have a very cool monthly regulars' table hosted by René Meyer, who owns the world's biggest retro console collection. Usual visitors are professional game devs, journalists, a twosome who owns the Retro Games Store, a company that has Germany's biggest board game distribution, musicians, amateur game devs and indies like us.

But we still have very few to no events where game devs exchange and show their skills. Although we knew of game jams like Ludum Dare or the Devmania Overnight Contest, we never heard of the Global Game Jam – until we met Zuraida (GGJ Dir) in Berlin at the local BIG Jam, where we learned about this global madness. Totally enthusiastic to participate in the Global Game Jam I started a web search for locations near Halle/Leipzig. Error. The next local event was in Berlin.

Die Teilnehmer des GGJ 2014 von Klaus Bastian
Die Teilnehmer des GGJ 2014 von Klaus Bastian

So we did something I totally hate, but which was necessary to be part of the jam: we searched for rooms and became organizers ourselves! Together with Klaus Bastian from the local university HTWK we started the first GGJ location ever in Leipzig.
Now that we got the location and the knowledge to set up everything there was only one thing left for completion: people. Where the hell would we get people for a jam from a city that has no huge game developer community?

René and Klaus started everything super-professional and sent out press releases to local newspapers and it worked! They responded and wanted interviews to learn more about the event. Afterwards, people I never heard of appeared on the website and subscribed to be part of this new jam thingy.

When the jam started on Friday, the 27th January 2012, people showed up and we managed to develop seven games. Yes, I'm talking about seven games here! But the jam was not only about creating games. Thanks to the event we got to know new people, exchanged addresses for future works and finally had our own one-weekend game development event in the year.

Vorstellungsrunde von Klaus Bastian
Vorstellungsrunde von Klaus Bastian

Additionally to the jam we opened up the “dev cave” on Saturday for visitors, introduced the open development not only to families with their little game-devs-to-be, but also got new people interested for the upcoming jam. This event worked out so well, we continued encouraging people to jam with us the following year.

2014 we are going to host the third edition of the Global Game Jam in Leipzig and everybody is super excited. We want to grow and try to find even more interested people from around Leipzig.

Thank you, creators, executives, directors and admins behind the Global Game Jam. You guys encourage local scenes with this amazing concept of worldwide jamming! Because of your already established concept and infrastructure you motivate us to get out of our holes and force us to find like-minded people. And the greatest thing: it doesn't matter if there was or is an already big scene.
Go create your own location, or make more of the already established ones!

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