This year I made a pact to myself to quit talking about doing things and actually go out and do things. More specifically, in the realm of creating and learning. So far, I’ve been doing moderately well at that. I’ve already completed two Twine games on my own (Talentless Hack and Uterii) and can now add another group project onto my portfolio for 2013.
Over this last weekend, I flew up to San Francisco to take part in the 2013 Global Game Jam. It was my first real onsite game jam, and I was a bundle of nerves. Most of the anxiety stemmed from the fact that I don’t have any art or programming skills, so I was going more as a ‘generalist’ in the project manager role rather than someone creating assets and code for the games. Luckily, I had a fantastic group made up of two fellow employees of The Playforge (Stephen Altamirano and Shelley Monahan) so I felt comfortable working with both of them in my somewhat limited capacity.
The theme for 2013 was the sound of heartbeats, which resulted in a slew of ideas ranging from The Magic School Bus traveling through arteries, to platformers and puzzle games. We realized that the waveform of an EKG machine or heart rate monitor resemble the side of a key. And since we had a lockpicker in our group, the idea of Chamber was born.
I’d love for you to check out the game and let me know what you think. With less than 48 hours from start to finish to create, there are definitely some ‘known issues’ that you should be aware of. In the first couple of levels, it’s theoretically possible to ‘solve’ the level when all pins are resting on the non-elevated part of the red line but it doesn’t advance the game. You must make sure at least one of the pins is on an elevated line. Also, this game is hard. From watching people play it, I can tell you that some people understand it instantly, some people require a bit of trial and error before they get it, and at least one person has sworn and given up in frustration. The new user experience isn’t robust.
Finally, make sure you play with the sound turned up. The music was composed this weekend by chiptune composer Bill Kiley (who was also responsible for this amazing SNES version of Downton Abbey) and I think it fits the game perfectly and even helps some people play. Let me know what you think!