Two weekends ago was the 10th Game Jam of the Game Dev Party association, where I was once again both participating and helping with the organization. And once again I proposed a game idea and I was lucky enough that people liked it and voted for it! So I gathered a team of 6 awesome people, 3 developers and 3 designers, plus myself as a part-time coder part-time manager, and we made a game.
This time around each participant received, prior to the event, a list of 3 game titles generated with the Video Game Name generator, and the game you would pitch had to bear one of those titles. Mine were: "Create Your Own Llama", "my little acid reloaded" and "Barbie's Military Force". I went with the first one, which is not a great title (we changed it to "Llamazord") but it inspired me. Here's what I pitched.
Year 2053. Underground llama fights are the big thing, people are into it to the point of creating mech enhancements for their llamas. You are a llama trainer and your goal is to have your llama win fights against other llamas. To that goal, you will enhance it with mechanical tools: canons, helmets, lasers... Make your Llama a Llamazord and crush your enemies!
The game is essential a Connect Three: just like a Connect Four but you only need 3 discs to create a line. The twist is that each player has access to the same 3 different types of discs, and connecting a line gives you access to upgrades of the type of the discs. For example, connect 3 "sun" discs and you will gain a "sun" upgrade (a solar canon for attack or a sun helmet for defense). The game has rounds, each round allowing each player to play 3 times. Once a round finishes, llamas will automatically attack each other using their upgrades, and then a new round begins. The player who's llama stays alive wins the game!
There are two pieces of strategy in that game: the grid where you play of course, because each play could be used by your opponent, so you have to be careful not to give them too much of an advantage. But the upgrades you choose matter as well. At the moment, if you have an attack upgrade of a given family, the defense upgrade of that same family will diminish the damage you will deal. So if your opponent gains a "sun" upgrade, you're be better making a "sun" defense for yourself. Ideally I'd like that to be changed to a rock-paper-scissor system, to encourage variety.
Of course, this a Jam game, made in less than 48 hours (plus some debugging and improvements in the last 2 weeks), so it's far from being super awesome and fun and deep. But I'm quite pleased with what we did, it's one of my best Jam games so far, and definitely the best that I pitched. You might notice that the game is not ideal for a computer screen, which is because I think it is more of a mobile game. It should work great on your smartphone! :) I also think it has some potential to become an actual fun game, if we were to add more randomness (some discs falling at various intervals for example) and more strategic complexity (the rock-paper-scissor system, more upgrade types... ). The game also lacks a bunch of feedback for interactions and automatic things. There's no sound for combat. I could see a big flashy text saying that a combat is ongoing. I could do with some more indications that the current player changed. Basically it's missing all the small details that make a game really great.
Anyway, you probably want to play the game by now, so here it is:
Big thanks to Bemba (coder), Caro (design), Cyrielle (design), Elsa (design), Rémi (coder) and Yendhi (coder) who worked on this game with me. Great job everyone!
Feedback on the Jam
We called this Jam the "Random Title Jam", because of the random titles theme. I'm super happy that we finally did it, it's an idea that I had been proposing for some years now. And I think it went super well! We had a lot of people presenting ideas (about 20 out of 55 participants), they were very different, and the quality of the games at the end of the Jam was high.
I haven't been involved as much as I used to in organizing this round, and it's great to see that the association is live and kicking. I'm glad to see new faces joining the Game Dev Party, I'm super excited that we are doing conferences again, and I am always amazed to see the crazy ideas that some people propose in our internal mailing list (Game Dev Festival anyone? ).
If you participated in that Jam and have any feedback, positive or negative, please please let us know, by any means you like. We make events for people, we are all volunteers, and we do it because we love it. What you think about what we do is extremely valuable!