With the start of the Spring semester, life on campus has become more active again. The calm during the break is over. Classes are in full swing and so are activities. One of them took place last weekend, the Global Game Jam® (GGJ). Teams all over the globe participated in the game creation spectacle including a UA Little Rock team that COSMOS’ Richard Young was part of. During a 48-hour development cycle, his team collaborated at the Contemporary Rhetorics and User Experience (CRUX) Research and Development Lab to create prototype game designs. Participating teams worldwide shared the common theme of “What home means to you” and constraints. The theme was revealed to the participants just as the 48-hour countdown began.
Richard first told us about this annual event during our weekly COSMOS meetings. He had heard about it through the biweekly “Little Rock Game Designers” meetup. “I was excited to participate because of my interests and skills gained from last semesters independent study in Game Design,” he recalled. “ I knew this event would ultimately challenge me, because designing a game in only 48 hours is a laughable deadline. Although you can complete it on your own, I was very excited about being around other like minded individuals and forming a team to make a game. Since I am new to this field, until this weekend I have only had the opportunity to design games by myself.”
The year’s theme “What home means to you” led the UA Little Rock Global Game Jam team down an exciting adventure as they explored a “possible” symbiotic relationship that “could” exist in the unexplored deep ocean.
“All Abode is heavily inspired by the relationship that exists between clownfish and their home, the sea anemone. Our game features a variety of 2D animated underwater assets, some clever AI for our little hermit crabs, and a user interface that is language independent,” Richard explained. “Everything but the sounds effects, were created within the time-frame of this 48-hour game jam.”
Out of the 48 hours, our Cosmographer used 40 of them to work on game asset creation for 40 hours of it. His knowledge of animating 2D sprites in Unity has exponentially increased. “There is something a little wild about taking a simple 2D vector file, and then animating how you think it would experience breathing, swimming, walking, sickness, accomplishment, or even fear. I also learned, under the right circumstance and with the right motivation, a team can accomplish tremendous things.”