25 January 2016

Bacon Game Jam: GunMaker 4: Gold Edition

So, hi blog, long time no see... I've been part of a team of guys participating in the Bacon Game Jam over the weekend. The result of our work is GunMaker 4: Gold Edition, a title that I am proud to announce is totally overselling the finished product. But finish we did and the result can also be a fun tool to create weapons for any cyberpunk-RPG. I even released the graphics as CC3.0 so you can do pretty much whatever with them, as long as you mention me. Check it out and come back to read about my experience with this particular game jam after the jump.

When you only have 48 hours, cloning graphics is your best friend...

So, this was the first game jam that I actually contributed massively in. We were a team of four people: I had set up two EeePCs and my smartphone in our guest-room so that my girlfriend could have a party and our son could sleep next to me if need be, the other three guy had set up shop in the appartment/hackerspace one of them calls home. We were connected via a live video feed in both directions whenever I was at my work station and via Skype when I was about with the family, doing weekend-chores like grocery shopping. I have worked with the guys before but this time I think I did pull my weight, despite the fact that I couldn't code myself out of an empty room if my life depended on it.

Thus set up to rock the world. we eagerly awaited the announcement of this year's theme. "One weapon, many uses" was it, coming in at eleven PM on Friday our time. After some brainstorming some ideas (mine was to make a simple top-down spaceship shooter with lots of different weapon effects upon different button combos. Later I thought that if I were doing this all by myself, I'd make a labyrinthine game with a dude fighting monsters, solving riddles and evading traps using nothing but a multi functional knife), we settled on the idea of customizing a weapon for sale in a dystopian future.

##buero, the team I was working with, are proud to make mostly non-violent games. The theme obviously demanded for weaponry to be involved, so we focused on manufacturing. I had the idea that I'd make a ton of different weapon parts as graphics that could be stuck together. These would have to be configured according to the whim of a solar system wide market that the player could assess via newscasts I'd write too. The others made the user interface and the number crunching behind it all, breathing life into the assets I'd create.

On Saturday I made almost all the graphics: Sights, barrels, undersides, magazines, grips, stocks and main gun bodies – five different ones of each. I'd also type down values that would modify the finished weapon's stats. Afterwards I wrote down first ten different factions and their interests in the game world, then around forty different news events involving said factions. The others integrated all of that dutifully into the game. On Sunday I took the time to make the title screen you see above, using assets from the gun-creation kit and my old weapon of choice: MS Paint. Shortly before the deadline, Matthias managed to put it all together into a playable game.

It was a rather nice experience. Last time I was with the team, our game was ill-fated and had to be redone from scratch right before the finishing line. This time we were less ambitious (although as a non-coder I really cannot tell before the fact. I have to trust the others assessment whether or not something is difficult to realize). I think the game turned out well, if only as a nice weapon-editor that you can uses for your own purposes. First user comments in the IRC seem to like my world-building as well, so that's that. I'm just glad I was actually useful this time, creating a ton of original assets both in imagery as well as in text, making the game truly unique.

As I have several creative projects in the pipeline, it won't be another six months until I post something again. Stay tuned. I'm out.

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