bpb game jam 2018: Hugs & Kisses

Just like in 2016, we were invited to a local game jam in Remscheid, Germany, hosted by the bpb (the German Federal Center for Political Education) to make a political statements through game concepts and prototypes. As such, the theme was a bit different than the usual jams: "Discimination, ostracism, radicalization".

Our own entry is a bit more game-y then we would have wanted; but after not being able to find a more meaningful idea (and message) for nearly half a day, we went with one of the earliest concepts we had. So we created a 2-player co-op game about cats and dogs, and about working together to keep all the citizens happy. We called it Hugs & Kisses.

The world map is divided in three zones. The dogs' zone (blue), the cats' zone (red) and the neutral zone between them. In the dog country are mostly dogs and only a few cats, and vice-versa. The neutral zone has both species equally. The gameplay is simple (and inspired by Overcooked): you have to feed the cats and dogs in your country, otherwise they get unhappy. So if there's a cat in cat land craving for fish, the cat player goes to the fish spawning point and carries the fish to the hungry cat.

Only when there is a cat in dog land asking for fish it gets interesting, because a player cannot enter the other player's zone, so they have to work together and trade the fishes and bones with each other by throwing them around.

bpb game jam 2018 - Hugs & Kisses

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And sometimes, a community member gets sad and needs to be hugged. <3

In any case, should the needs of a citizen get ignored for too long, they become mad - i.e. they explode and take parts of the level geometry with them. Discrimination has a fatal impact in this case indeed.

You can try our little jam game on itch.io (Windows only). It's best played with two gamepads, but keyboard is fine too. Be aware that it really is a prototype, so there is no real lose or win condition. But see if you can beat the game without anybody blowing up!

By the way, if you are interested in the development of games, you might want to read a short article about Hugs & Kisses on my own blog - it mostly describes the process of creating the level for the game.

Of course it was also very nice to meet many teams from all over Germany and Austria at the jam, seeing their games come to existence during the three days, and of course having a good time together. If you want to find out more about them and their games (and speak a bit of German), click your way through the bpb game jam wiki and have a look at their projects!

Podcast – Bury Me My Love – Dein Sonntag

Aktuell sind gleich zwei Spiele erschienen, die sich mit der Fluchtgeschichte zweier Menschen aus Syrien auseinander setzen. Zum einen das Messenger-Spiel "Bury Me My Love" als auch "Path Out" im JRPG-Stil von Causa Creations. Was die Spiele so besonders macht, wie realistisch sie sind und ob die Abstraktion nicht vielleicht die realen Fluchterlebnisse verharmlosen, erzählt Jana im Podcast.

(Die Sendung lief ursprünglich auf Deutschlandfunk Nova als Teil von Dein Sonntag.)


MDR coverage and news from Behind Stars

The German regional TV and radio station MDR paid us a visit some weeks ago. They did a portrait about Rat King and Jana, as the next generation in art and design. It's a really amazing combination of audio (in german only), video, photos and Ludwig's music! Have a look! Thanks to Hanna Romanowsky from MDR for this amazing piece!

The picture is taken from the MDR pageflow, by Hanna Romanowsky.

Besides getting cool portraits we still refine the look of  Behind Stars and Under Hills - our new, bigger project. We work a lot on lighting, got rid of the pixel shader and added some sweet effects. But Friedrich is also is working on the editors to make more design and interaction possible for us. We still improve the gameplay, to have something neat to show to possible publishing partners.