Monday, October 1, 2012

Adventure Time Game Jam

I was recently fortunate enough to participate in the Adventure Time Game Jam, sponsored by Fantastic Arcade. They managed to get licensing rights from Pendleton Ward and Cartoon Network to use Adventure Time characters in games, under the condition that we could only distribute our games through the game jam site, and that Cartoon Network could post the ones they like on their own site.

The were about 700 participants, and approximately 100 games were produced. The winning game was by indie studio Vlambeer. It was such a great game too!

My own team consisted of myself as programmer, Corie Johnson as UI/UX/graphic designer, and Celine Suarez as voice actress and graphic artist. Corie also recorded the opening theme song and composed an original rap which she performed for the ending screen.

It was a unique experience. The game jam took place in an abandoned yoga studio next to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. When we first arrived, there were no chairs.  Our Internet was stolen from the Drafthouse. There was a main in the corner with an Einstein's Arcade t-shirt making ethernet cables and each time he finished one, one more person got to get online. In another corner, Vlambeer were sitting on the ground playing Infinite Swat with xbox controllers on a laptop.

For some reason pizza and beer kept arriving from unknown origins for 48 hours. All of the audio was recorded on iPhones in the shower at the space where we were doing the game jam. The ending rap was composed and the main theme recorded in the car driving to and from the space. There was no time to waste on second guessing decisions as the clock was constantly ticking. In the end I think we had one of the most finished games. You can download it from the site. Also check out how it was mentioned in the top 8 coolest games from the jam on Wired!

For me it was great working with such a talented team. I basically just hacked code nonstop. I did the whole game in KineticJS, which is a great HTML5 graphics framework, and I used Buzz for the sound. These libraries saved me a lot of time and I learned a lot about the affordances and limitations of HTML5 games.