So about 2 weeks ago, I decided to join a game jam called Ludum Dare, a 72 hour game development competition. It was last minute decision on my part to join that Friday night, simply for the sake of trying something new. Honestly, I think I just needed a break from Shield For Hire. I haven’t worked on anything besides Shield For Hire for the past 8 months, so the break was most definitely welcomed.
This was the 35th Ludum Dare, and the theme was Shapeshift. I didn’t think much of it when it was announced at 6:30pm that Friday. Yet later that night when I met up with Trenton for our weekly meetings, we started throwing some ideas around. The more we brainstormed, the more excited I got about this Game Jam.
After a couple of hours we decided to go with a color based puzzle game where the player had to shift into different colors/costumes to progress. To make the puzzle more interesting, we wanted to make sure the player could not leave the same way they came in. So each direction became it’s own color, ensuring the player could never go backwards.
That hectic weekend blended into one long day of hanging out at coffee shops and 24 hour diners. The basic player movements, collisions, main character artwork and color mechanics were completed on Saturday night. Then came the most time consuming part of this entire project, the color based puzzles. Our Sunday night was spent on drawing maps, testing maps, and testing more maps. I have a new found respect for puzzler games after this project.
Everything else was kind of just rushed together. Trenton threw in an awesome watch design as the pause menu’s GUI while we were watching Fear of the Walking Dead (Swimming Dead). Now that’s multitasking!
Monday after work was beyond hectic as I scrambled to get it done on time. Last minute menus, buttons and even some SFX were added, even threw together a cover for the main menu just before the game was due at 6pm. And that’s how Mr. Purrgalar was born, the color based puzzler.
Never have I been so stressed and yet had so much fun at the same time. This was a much needed break from work, my own projects and life in general. The brainstorm session really opened my eyes to a lot of new possibilities. Would love to be a part of the next Ludum Dare. If you’re on the fence about participating in a Game Jam, just do it! What you learn within those 72 hours are priceless.
Special thanks to my wife for all her support and taking the kids for the weekend so I can stress myself out, haha. Also special thanks to my students from our after school coding club for throwing out last minute ideas and dealing with zombie Mr. Nguyen on Monday.
Our submission version created for Ludum Dare 35 can be found here: https://kairosxiii.itch.io/mr-purrgalar
Check out the the Ludum Dare site play and review all the games submitted, including Mr. Purrgalar!