Hat Jam… 47 hours of frantic game design madness capped off by a show and tell.
We began shortly after 5pm on Friday, after everyone had more or less organized themselves into groups. After a brief introduction, each team drew two themes from the two respective paper hats presented. No one had quite anticipated the challenge presented by these themes. Our themes were Silver Abomination and Fire, and so we put our thinking caps on and set to work coming up with our design. A few hours later with sleeves rolled up and hats off, we began prototyping along with the other teams.
Over the weekend, everyone worked frantically, resting only as needed in order to get the most done in the small amount of time we had. The time flew by as we scrambled to get everything we could done within the allotted period. Even though the pressure was on, people were still willing to help others out as they plugged away at their work and there was a sense of camaraderie. Finally, at 4pm on Sunday we were forced to stop work so that we could show off what we had accomplished.
Our team volunteered to go first and so we showcased our 3D side-scrolling platformer coincidentally named Silver Abomination, complete with flaming cheese. Following us was the weird and wonderful first person experience named So F****** Relaxing, which featured a large open level and funky art style inspired by the words language flower and nurse. Up next was 2D sidescroller Vampire Dolphin, whose game came from the words vampire dolphin and macaroni. Their project had gone from being a 2D Flash game to 3D Unity game and back again, but they still managed to deliver in the end. Last but not least was Banana Error, which showcased an impressive 3D environment and hilarious soundtrack. It was an impressive display of skill and dedication and in the end it was a great experience.
Hats off to everyone who participated in the jamming and to the game design staff, particularly Dave Warfield for allowing us to hold our own game jam, and Andrew Laing for taking time to judge our games on his day off.
Peter Smith is a soon-to-be-alumni of the VFS Game Design program