Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 3 – Global Game Jam

Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

Today the results of last week’s class vote are announced.  My team is down to projects we nickname Button, Robot, and Crazy Person.

Wednesday.

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My second level design for Virtual World Studies!  I call this Deep Dive.  (In spare time, I am a scuba diver.)  My purpose was to use virtual solid substances to give the appearance of liquids and light.  The adventurer dives into the deep, activates a switch on the treasure chest, and must make its way up some very difficult obstacles.  Simple as the level looks, thanks to slippery slopes and difficult jumps, only a handful of expert N players have completed this level.

Thursday.

We narrow our games down to two from three, selecting Button and Robot.  Our larger team breaks up in Button and Robot prototyping groups and make several key decisions about the direction of each project.

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In the afternoon, I attend Corrinne and Amy’s Narrative class.  We are assigned to secretly discover Roger’s favorite game.  We are also to write a paragraph about a narrative game that has influenced us and bring it to class next week.  One of my favorites is Zork, a text adventure from the 1980’s.  Incidentally, the game will be discussed as a classic postmortem at GDC this March!  You can play it on the iPhone via the Lost Treasures of Infocom app or via GOG.com.

Friday and Saturday.

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 1.00.08 AMIt’s Global Game Jam time!  At 5:30, we meet at the EAE Master Games Studio south lab.  After an opening ceremony featuring recorded remarks by Jenova Chen, creator of Journey, Jose reads us the theme for 2014:

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

My team is made up of three individuals, Jon Pulsipher, Michael A. Moore, and myself.  We take a few minutes to write down half a dozen ideas each and narrow them to one that I suggest: Baby vs. Zombies!  The game design incorporates a unique mechanic not found in any other game.

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Sadly, our lead engineer has to leave mid way through Saturday and the most important feature is not even attempted.  The game is playable, but we choose not to submit it.  Jon opts out of future development.  Michael wants to participate.

My personal highlight is presenting our idea to the President of EA Salt Lake and his lead designer early Saturday afternoon.

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