for the first Year since I became a game developer, I didn’t attend the game jam at ITI- Egypt site, Instead I co-organized one here in Dubai, It was not as big as the one in Egypt compared to the 1000+ that attends each year we only had 13, most of which are students at SAE institute – Dubai where I currently Teach Game Development.
The Jam started as usual with a lengthy keynote followed by the Theme, which was “what home represents to you” we split into three teams and each team started brainstorming on an idea fitting for the theme.
We spent almost the entirety of the first day brainstorming something and we kept coming back to the same idea, it was regarding refugee who lost their home and their journey trying to find a new one.
we had this cool idea of following refugees from the war zone to the country side where he will find a new home there away from the war only to find it getting after him, which leads him to leave the country side towards another country that has famine to get through the sea and finally to a safe place that he will still think of as not home.
Each scene would have a slightly different mechanic with only one thing in common , when you die you continue from the same place as another person ( different hands material ) as if this person is dead but another continued the journey.
For the first scene we went with a dark bloody place with bombs dropping everywhere and screams and you can only find your way by following your hunch which was the faint sound of music that you used to play in your home.
But little did we know that this was about to change our entire game, you see something strange happened we made the screams sounds increase as we diverge from the path. And with the bloody atmosphere and a very expensive headset it just felt like this is gonna be an awesome Horror atmospheric game :D.
We decreased the music a bit and made it that the scream increases gradually when you diverge from your path and before we knew it we had a horror game given the dark room we where developing in and the unsuspecting students we ask to test our game who got scared we knew we where going in the right direction and we forget about the war-zone and the journey and decided to continue with this.
before we decided to go fully nuclear on the idea we have already been half way through another scene (the water one). we had this idea of having you in a boat in the middle of the ocean at night and can’t seem to see anything but then you see a light house and each time it take a round it illuminates the scene showing you the pass ahead which is filled with rocks that can harm your slow boat.
the controls where simple on this one you either press right or left which in turn either you use the left or right row which pushed you forward and slightly to one direction or the other. it was a simple mechanic but was a bit frustrating when you press one extra time to find hitting the rocks is in-escapable.
I wasted more time and effort on the water buoyancy and shader than I should and I liked each minute spent doing it. I’ll go in more details about it in another blog though
Over all it was a good game jam even though I missed the guys at the Egypt one.