Monday, December 17, 2012

New 2013 Madness: One Game A Month

   That's it. I caught the game jam bug.

   Not the acute, 48h, Ludum Dare variety. More like the chronic, one month strain.

   It all started with the story of a guy called @McFunkypants. In 2012 he set up as a personnal quest, among others, to code 12 games over 12 months. He succeeded and challenged everybody to do the same in 2013. So he set up the OneGameAMonth website, to provide a public platform to record progress. There are no prizes, mostly no rules, except the main one: write one game each month of 2013. A system of experience points (XP) has been tacked upon it, to gamify the making of games.




   And I signed up.

   What was I thinking? Oh yes, I know. I'm still trying to generate some external pressure to help me gather motivation and momentum. It worked fairly well for the two game jams I did this year (Liberated Pixel Cup and GitHub Game Off 2012). I think it's more because of the peer pressure of the group of people who joined me than because of the eyes of all other internauts. Real people made of blood and flesh that I see daily have more impact than virtual people made of bits and bytes. I don't know if it means I'm normal or if it means I'm old-fashioned.

The Plan

   So now I have to come up with a plan for 2013. Maybe not an extremely detailed overarching plan for all of 2013, but at least a sketch, a bunch of directions.

  1. I need to get more disciplined if I want to achieve the goal. Build up a routine, probably, to avoid making excuses.
  2. I'll revive and explore further the "tree-growing" concept that we abandoned for game-off-2012. It's already got its own GitHub repository and the proof-of-concept is live at http://slowfrog.github.com/branch-off/. I need to work on core game mechanics, to make sure they are viable. And I want to explore some rendering options. As a first step, I already added a drifting, procedurally generated cloud in the background.
  3. In case I lack inspiration one month, I can expand on Domino Trail. There were several features that we had in mind at start and did not implement (edge-walls, cells with different speeds, new pieces with special behaviour).
  4. I resorted to http://videogamena.me/ to help me generate ideas. It's really fun. It's less prescriptive than game idea generators, because it only produces a name. And that's the nice point: you have to put your imagination to work to devise a game that would fit the name. I've had very good runs of the generator and will only reveal one title that could be the hit of 2013: "French Bubblegum Castle." You've been warned. 
   Here I come, 2013!

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