For me, Jams are time to experiment, or to dig deeper into a feature. A time to harness the motivation of needing to ship something. Never in it to win, seeing a few seconds of my game/experience on the compilation video is reward enough.
November - Two Birds with One Stone
Two Butterflies One Stone
Create an Environment
I set out to create an environment. Used the background Textures and building from Realistic Rendering Demo. Created my own collision on the rooftop.
The game consisted of trying to throw a rock into a cloud of butterflies, If you hit at least two (with one stone) you are congratulated. With additional congratulations for larger combos.
A great discovery was that the explosion particle from Couch Knights (P_Explosion_Small) is a perfect match with a Sound from Strategy Game(Building_Attachment_Stereo)
Feb - Love is a Battlefield
Benatar: The Music Video Experience
Use Media Player Plugin
I set out to use the experimental MediaPlayerPlugin. Upon learning the theme, the first thing I did was watch the Pat Benatar music video. It was hilariously 80’s - wacky dance moves and all. I would re-create the smoky bar with colored lighting featured in the music video and have the music video playing on TVs in the bar.
There is a button behind the bar that plays “Woahohowohwohwoah” https://youtu.be/IGVZOLV9SPo?t=26s a bit of a running gag / inside joke between me and my roomate.
March - Set it Free
Combine Photography + Record Narration
I set out to take photographs and use then in-engine. I was weeks away from a transition in my life. A year long QA contract had just ended… My lease was about to be over in the apartment that I had been renting for 2 and a half years. I would truly be free. I also wanted to experiment with Narration (a big part of Synthetic Dreams)
You start floating/flying in a confined hallway. Pictures of my current neighborhood on the walls. Below you are [satellite pictures] from the area (It was fun making them tile) At the end of the hall a door opens up, you fly through it into a wide open landscape. Freedom.
April - Don’t put all your Eggs in one basket
Recreate a real world location + Iterate on photography
I set out to Recreate real world location. This was the month that we experimented with hosting the jam on itch.io. I loved creating the page and illustrating the creative process.
Gameplay was basically an easter egg hunt. Pixel shader gave an interesting effect where you’d see one off-colored pixel in the distance.
May - Raining Cats and Dogs
Reining Cats and Dogs
Collaborate with programmer, build an Infinite Runner
About once a year, between gigs, I’ll visit my parents in Charlotte for a month. It’s good to see old friends. One of which is a programmer (C# Pharmaceutical stuff mostly). I set out to work with him. I’d been wanting to use the Infinite runner tutorial as a base. We created a game where you sled down a mountain on a sleigh pulled by cats and dogs. For maximum speed you’d need to get dogs in the back row and cats in the front.
Another project I worked on while I was at home was “DreamMonth”. The premise was, every morning I’d wake up, and spend about an hour creating something from my dreams the night before. I was using an old computer (Core2Duo, 5000Series Nvidia card) So most things were done with BSP.
Project Files (24MB!)
June - Earth Shattering Kaboom
Use only unlit (emissive) materials
Back in Irvine, I was able to stay with my roomates for 2 weeks while I prepared for my “summer vacation”. I wasn’t familiar with the “Earth Shattering Kaboom” quote, but I instantly fell in love with Marvin’s tripped out space platform the second I saw it. Built a scene with all unlit materials. (Except for the Gun/Telescope) My Girlfriend helped out and modeled the “Space Modulator”
July - Rocket and Roll
Create 2 player experience + Collaborate with programmer
No job. No rent. I was free. Time to see a little bit of the world. Solo Road Trip. 2 weeks in Carson City/Lake Tahoe, 2 weeks in Seattle, 2 weeks in Vancouver/North of Vancouver and a leisurely week-long cruise Down the 101/Pacific Coast Highway.
In my first few days in Vancouver I attended an HTC Vive Jam. I met a nice Austrian guy, helped him out with his Jam project. He invited me to stay in his ‘flat’ with him and his girlfriend. After spending a week camping I took him up on the offer, and geared up for another Jam! We had actually been playing Rocket League, and we really enjoyed it’s robust couch coop.
We ended up making a rolling ball game with mechanics similar to the Sumo game in Fusion Frenzy. I used the Particle + Sound combo I discovered during November jam - it worked wonderfully!
August - Thrown in at the Deep End
Into The Void
Prototype Pawn and visual style for Synthetic Dreams
A big component of Synthetic Dreams is a “sandbox” type of environment. I had been using just a basic pawn and wanted to dig deeper into locomotion. The theme was announced and it was perfectly aligned with what I wanted to explore. I ended up with a very atmospheric experience. This one and EggHunt are my two favorite.
September - Live Deathless
Use Infinity Blade Assets + Use ASAP Rocky song
After being given an overwhelming number of assets my goal was to familiarize myself with them. I’d also been wanting to use some audio from ASAP Rocky. Ended up using the chorus from the first track of his Long.Live.A$AP album (NSFL- PROFANITY) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxutR9Ckneg
Wrote a bit of poetry to go with it.