Game Jam Medley is a Global Game Jam 2017 entry. I worked on it by myself over the course of 48 hours.
Game Jam Medley is actually four games in one – I decided to challenge myself to see how much I could do by myself, along with the added challenge of supporting up to 8 players in each game. The theme for the game jam was ‘waves’ which I managed to incorporate in two of the four games, but also the method of development – working on each game in waves.
The first game I worked on was Comet Bumpers. Think of it as a cross between Super Smash Bros. and Asteroids. It was also inspired by a game I played a long time ago, Comet Busters, which was a very fun Asteroids like game that could be played cooperatively, and if you shot another player accidentally (or on purpose) the other player would be pinged away rather than damaged or destroyed. I wanted to expand on this and incorporate the ‘ring out’ mechanic for failure from Super Smash Bros. The ‘waves’ theme was incorporated by taking the player’s speed into account when they shot – if they were moving fast their bullet would turn into a wave and become more powerful, which adds a risk/reward mechanic. If the player is moving fast, they’re more likely to lose control and fly out of the stage. I managed to add some nice little touches – I’m particularly a fan of the trails behind the ships that move out of the way when a player moves through them.
The second game is Bananacontra – the name kind of gives it away. I wanted to make something totally different from Comet Bumpers, so I changed perspective and made a side-scrolling game. I love the co-operative platforming of Contra so I liberally took gameplay mechanics from Contra (from memory) but changed the format of the game to a wave-based survival game, like the Gears of War Horde mode. The powerups in this game gradually increase the number of bullets you shoot, so getting a few of them reproduces the fun of having the Spread Shot, everyone’s favourite Contra weapon. Sure it’s derivative – but for a quarter of a game jam game, it came out pretty well. I really wanted to make a game about violent fruit, so apples versus bananas seemed like a fun match.
The third game is Ultimate Cat Drift. I spent the most time on this game, taking the movement code from Comet Bumpers then trying to make it fit a top-down racing game. Cats with very slidey controls spin out and slide around as if on ice, smashing into walls and blowing up. The first player to do three laps wins. It… came out very difficult to control, not helped by the fact that there were only 8 directions drawn so trying to predict the exact direction you will accelerate is very difficult. If you can get the hang of it it can be fun, and it’s certainly hilarious to watch players struggle with the controls, but it’s definitely the weakest game of the bunch. I can’t take credit for the concept – I was a big fan of the cat racing minigame in Timesplitters 3.
The fourth game is Secret Tactics Game. With only a few hours until submission time, I had to really rush this one. I wanted to make a unique multiplayer tactics game, and I think I succeeded – however it also meant that the rules are really obscure because I had no time to make a tutorial or guide for the game. The idea is that everyone chooses some tiles on the field to bomb, then chooses some spaces to move. Then the players move, then the tiles get bombed. If a player gets bombed, they are out. The idea is to cut off escape routes from other players and try and save some spaces as an escape route. I think it ended up pretty interesting, but because it was so confusing I ended up making it a hidden game (spoiler: to open it, select my name from the main menu).