Global Game Jam 2017 – Donnie’s Dogs
The best kind of bonding is over extra long work days, being in the same room non-stop with people, and cranking out a kick ass game. Recently a group of us from Akupara went to the Global Game Jam in North Hollywood, which is one of the 600+ locations that all participated in the Global Game Jam at the same time.
Teams get formed, and each team had 48 hours to create a game from scratch based on a particular theme. The theme for 2017 was “Waves,” so our team (which included both Akupara and new friends), created a game based on the popular stadium cheer called “the wave” where people raise their hands at proper timing in conjunction with others to create the effect that the crowd is making a wave.
In Donnie’s Dogs, you play as Mr. Hot Dog, the adorable mascot and giant hot dog suit. The game is to sell Donnie’s Dogs, or you’re fired! Actually you get fired no matter how many hot dogs you sell, because it is never good enough for your boss, Donnie. Fans at the stadium love their dogs almost as much as they love their team – The Waves! Mr. Hot Dog can perform the wave with them in sync to increase the time limit. When the time runs out, the score is recorded, and unfortunately, YOU’RE FIRED!
These are some of our game jam tips that we learned from this weekend:
- Be prepared – bring your own supplies, food, toothbrush, and anything else you may need. The first day we showed up, we assumed the location would have Wacom pens, because they were providing tablets. Turns out that they only had enough for the students, and so the artists were unable to be super efficient the first night. Next time we’ll bring everything we need, and assume the location will provide nothing
- Make friends and talk to other jammers – we formed most of our group before the event, but we ended up meeting two of our team members there, David and Raul, and they were absolutely imperative to finishing on time
- Contain your scope – It is easy to want to create an elaborate game with lots of bells, whistles, and mechanics. We made sure we simplified whereever necessary, and instead had a game idea that was modular, so with extra time we could continue to expand on it. We set “stretch goals” for ourselves, that often we were able to achieve, because we locked down the core stuff first. Our art style was very minimalist on purpose, and our game consisted of a single background
- Communication is key – even though teams are often just a handful of people, proper communication really is what set apart the successful teams. We were constantly talking as a group, brainstorming, and even discussing ways to improve the game over meals. We formed chat groups, so even when members were at their homes, we were in constant communication. Each member should be in the loop about every decision that is made, or else time just gets wasted when that person goes down the wrong path, or creates something that the team decided to move away from
- Get plenty of rest – Although we had the opportunity to spend the night, we instead all got 6-8 hours of sleep a night. We may have lost valuable work hours to sleep, but it allowed us to come in the next day at 100%, and ultimately crank out our best work
Check out our entry here.
Play Donnie’s Dogs here.