Christmas Carnage, Game Jam Style!

This past weekend we took part in the 10th installment of the Game Prototype Challenge, a monthly game jam billed as “a spur of the moment motivator for making games”. Not that we need any motivation since we’re always working on games here. But what we like about jams is that they get us to think about games differently since they usually involve including some kind of theme (“dreams” and “collectibles” for this jam) and they always have a very short deadline which gets us to try new things quickly without worrying about making the code necessarily clean or efficient.

Rocket 5 participated in GPC v.2 earlier this year with our game Snowball Jones And The Last Crusade, which I co-developed with Kevin Feraday.

This time around our Art Director (AKA my wife Cathy) and I took a stab at the challenge with a holiday themed, tongue-in-cheek spoof of the wildly popular game Angry Birds.  In our game, titled A Very Angry Christmas, you control the hero from our upcoming game XS Force as he steps up to defend our hungry friends the pigs from those incessant birds.  For us the game actually serves two purposes:  for the Prototype Challenge, and as an interactive holiday card that we’ll send around to all our friends and business partners.

A Very Angry Christmas

This was Cathy’s first time participating in a game jam and this was my third time.  We used Unity3D to make the game and we used pre-existing gameplay code from XS Force for the player controls.  We revised the input from touch screen to keyboard and mouse so that the game could be played in a web browser (and it works great on the iPhone too, using our existing touch controls).  I also relied on several excellent Unity plugins including:  iTween for various text and effect animations, 2D Toolkit for the animated sprites and RageSpline for the level background, which, next to iTween, is easily the best Unity plugin I’ve ever used.  Cathy did all of the character art and animations in Flash which were exported as .png’s and then added as sprites to Unity using 2D Toolkit.

If you happen to live in the Toronto area, you can play our games at the #GPC Arcade: Year-One Roundup presented by the Toronto Skillswap community at George Brown College on Friday December 16th. And if you’re not going to be there, you can play A Very Angry Christmas right here on our website!

Thanks for stopping by and please let us know in the comments if you have any thoughts on the game, and especially if you find any bugs :) . This blog post is part of iDevBlogADay, a collection of indie developers writing about their development experiences.

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  • Anonymous

    Nice work on the game prototype, very comical :D I really need to start participating in these events held in Toronto – I have my sights set on GameJamTO of next year.

  • http://www.rocket5studios.com/ Tim Miller

    Thanks! TOjam is a blast, I went for the first time last year.  My game stunk but the event is awesome.  Will definitely be there again this year.  Hope to see you there!