Matthew Riddett's all-expenses-paid thrilling tell-all extravaganza junior software developer learning log blog

Global Game Jam 2020!!!

February 07, 2020

Last weekend I participated in Global Game Jame, which is a yearly event in which people all around the world get together in small teams and make a video game in 48 hours, and then upload the result to the global game jam website for anyone to try. It’s like a hackathon, but the aim is always to make a game.

There is always a theme - usually a single word, to be interpreted as you wish. Last year the theme was “Home”. This year it was “Repair”.

I teamed up with another programmer and an artist, and after some initial brainstorming we settled on a game in which you manage a house that is in need of repair. You select tenants, each of whom has a handiness/cleanliness score, an income, and a set of likes and dislikes. Tenants pay rent, and they will fix and/or clean if they are happy, but will dirty and destroy if unhappy. And different things make each tenant happy or unhappy.

For example, some tenants like peace and quiet; others like loud music. If you buy a stereo for the living room (after repairing and cleaning it, of course) it may make the one tenant happy but the other unhappy.

Another potential conflict arises as the proportion of a tenant’s income spent on rent increases, the unhappier the the tenant gets. But if it’s a nicer room+house, then you can charge more rent! Careful though, “reno-viction” can backfire , especially if your former tenants decide to throw an “eviction party”!

Tenants will also just move out if they are unhappy for too long.

The aim of the game is to restore the house to its former glory and beyond, and have it filled with happy tenants, while also trying to keep it from becoming a dump.

You can check out our #GGJ2020 entry here.

And you can check out all the games made at the here at the Victoria jam site here.

It was loads of fun. I focused mostly on the UI (User Interface), while Kyle did the game logic and Cam did the art. Kind of exhausting, tbh, but really a great time. This is my second global game jam, and attendance was definitely down this year. Nevertheless those that did attend I think had a great time, and we produced a number of awesome little games over the weekend. Two guys even made a game using a custom game engine they wrote themselves! Talk about next level.

One game I really loved was basically a mashup of FTL and a space shooter like Galaga, made for two-player couch co-op (my favorite kind of game). The game is played split screen, with the player on the left controlling the crew of the spaceship (like in FTL), whose job it is to go around the ship putting out fires. The other player, on the right side of the screen, is in a classic space shooter game. The players each have a job, and must work together to survive. Awesome.

Let’s see…

Also this week I got together with the UVic GameDev club and we worked out more of the design for the club game project we’re working on this term. It’s going to be a beat-em-up style game, with a camera view like the game ”Don’t Starve“.

And I pushed forward through another half of the next section in the Udemy JavaScript course.

Lot’s of stuff this week. Also had a bit of a health scare, which kinda threw me off my game.



Written by Matthew Riddett who lives and works in Victoria BC, building fun and useful things. You can follow him on Twitter