TOJam 10, possibly our favourite jam event in the city, just ran last week. James and I (Jeff) were lucky enough to be able to participate this year and we wanted to be able to give some nuggets of wisdom from the professional gamedev world to some students in the Humber Game Programming program that we recently both graduated from, so we formed a group with 3 first-year students from Humber, none of whom we had ever worked with.
It was an awesome experience and I think we all worked together wonderfully, our floaters especially, to make possibly the nicest jam game I’ve ever worked on in my short career so far.
The Core Team
- Game Design/Programming – Jeff Rose (Axon Interactive)
- Programming – James Zinger (Axon Interactive)
- Programming – Steven Jomha (Humber Student)
- Programming – Terry Katsoulis (Humber Student)
- Programming – Tyler Paisley (Humber Student)
- Sound Design – Sook Binning
- Music – Andrew Farnsworth (ACCRETION.of.PLANETESSIMALS)
- UI Design & Art – Dasha Gordeeva
Special Thanks To
- Tabby Rose for her the game design contributions
If you’d like to try out the game, you can play a (buggy) version here http://digitalmachinist.itch.io/the-cube-thing (Note that the menu controls are a little funky as of now, but that will soon be fixed).
Some progress shots:
Day 1, 10PM:
Day 2, 7PM:
Day 3, 7PM:
Tabby and I worked on the game concept together in the couple of nights before the jam, combining puzzles like simple mazes and the classic Rubik’s cube problem. In our game, you start somewhere and need to get to somewhere else, but if you fall off the visible faces of the cube while moving or run out of path to walk, you die and the puzzle resets. You can rotate the faces of the cube to connect paths either before you move or while you’re moving.
For the first time ever, I feel like I went into a jam with a simple, achievable concept. It could handle going without an artist or designer reasonably well (since our group was a solid 5-programmer block). It didn’t desperately need sound or a distinct theme. The core gameplay is small, but the extra features possible with it are large.
As it turned out, our team had access to all of the things I planned to not need, but that probably had the greatest impact upon how the game turned out.
My job (beyond that game design) was to play producer for the weekend. I was mostly working to keep scope small, keep tasks organized, and keep the game coherent such that everyone’s work was in service of the concept/vision Tabby and I had for the game. Even though most of us had never worked together, it only really took us the first day to start aligning our workflows and really getting things done. The floaters were excellent to work with and very accommodating (despite a few sleep-deprived foot-in-mouth moments on my part). All-in-all, I’m really happy to have had a team work together so well and that we encompassed such a broad range of skills.
We plan to continue developing The Cube Thing as a side-project with the intent of releasing it for Android and iOS devices for free, but to get the game to that state, we’ll need to invest many more hours improving the UI, fixing gameplay features, adding level content, and all manner of other things. That being said, I’ve never felt better about a jam game than I do today.
Look forward to it!
[Tabby’s note: If you’re wondering why I didn’t work on the game, it’s because I was volunteering at TOJam for the first time. It was an awesome experience and I plan to do it again next year. Shout out to Alex, Randy, Nina, Jenny, #yoitsyourboyarthur and all the awesome volunteers and organizers!]