The Global Game Jam 2014

As I mentioned in my last post, the Global Game Jam was last weekend and I with my Opposable Games teammates took part in it. The theme this year was “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” which proved both intriguing but probably one of the more restrictive themes I’ve seen. As part of the Global Game Jam at the Bristol Game Hub, we were asked to particularly focus on accessibility and allow people with various disabilities to play on a level playing field.

With both these thoughts in mind, most teams decided to make a game which incorporated a person’s disability in their game. Our game wanted to allow a similar pattern allowing both a blind person and a deaf person to play our game without losing out on any information. Our inspiration came from the “Three Wise Monkeys” proverb. The three wise monkeys known as See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil incorporated the central characters of the game and we could use each character’s missing sense to create a game involving team work.

Here is the result, Sanbiku No Saru!

 

Title Screen

Title Screen

The game involves trying to determine which monkeys should and shouldn’t get into monkey heaven. This is done in a three stage process. See No Evil firstly has to determine where a monkey is in relation to himself by using 3d audio to determine whether the monkey is to the left, right or center of him. This then identifies a monkey for Hear No Evil, who can then see the same monkey and also see whether a monkey is good or bad. That player then has to press the good or bad button at the right time for Speak No Evil. Should both See No Evil and Hear No Evil perform their actions correctly, Speak No Evil can then see the monkey and also see whether the monkey is good or bad. Speak No Evil then has to open and close three gates and allow good monkeys into monkey heaven and evil monkeys into monkey hell.

Speak No Evil's Screen

Speak No Evil’s Screen

My work on the project was mainly the networking for the game and graphics in the front end. So we used OneTouchConnect, our network technology that I’ve been working on during some of my time with Opposable, to connect the server and clients quickly and easily and I then had to ensure the front end was flexible enough to allow players to easily start playing quickly. I was part of a small coding team along with Owen Davies and James Parker. Nat Al-Tahhan was responsible for all the artwork and Ben Curtis did the music and sound effects.

Generally I’m quite pleased with the game. There were definitely one or two bugs when we presented it but the general functionality was complete. We will probably clean it up at some point and make another version of the game available to play which has any major bugs resolved. The game ended up receiving two awards including from the venue including game with the best gameplay and our game was ranked the second best game of the Bristol Game Jam. We were beaten by a truly excellent game which I urge you to play as well called Senseless Runner. http://www.atopsecretproject.com/senselessrunner

One last game I saw which looked pretty damn cool as well was “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes“. You need an Oculus Rift to play it but it’s such a brilliant idea.

All of these games are why I love game jams!

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