Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mad Scrap - May 2015 Game Jam

Name: Mad Scrap
Date: May 2015
Team: Zaven H, Mike H
Duration: 48 hour weekend game jam

I did this jam with two co-workers. We did it the weekend Mad Max was coming out on theaters, hence the name of the game. Zaven is a designer with an art background and Unity experience which is fantastic for a game jam. It’s great when your artist creates art and hooks it up without any assistance – things just magically show up in the game! Mike was our core programmer – he had some prior Unity experience.

From a design POV I wanted to play around with random level generation. The levels are generated from hand-designed pieces.

The level pieces are bitmap images where each pixel in the bitmap represents a tile type. This allows us to use Photoshop as our level editor. Here are some sample level bitmaps:

Phase 1 Level

Phase 2 Level

Phase 3 Level
In the images above, black represents an open pit, red is spikes on the ground, blue is a rock wall and green is a pushable wall. The magenta and cyan represent power-ups and health pack spawn locations. These simple bitmaps are basically a makeshift level editor. This is a game jam technique I learned last year that basically lets you transform Photoshop tools you're familiar with (copy-pasting, drawing, etc.) into a poor dev's level editor.

All of the tiles are 16 pixels wide (which translates to 16 grid units wide in the world) and any number of pixels tall – the random level generator adjusts automatically for variable heights.
The level is generated in Phases. Each phase has a set of tiles available to it and a length
  • Phase 1: 
    • Tiles 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7 
    • Duration 3 Tiles long
  • Phase 2: 
    • Tiles 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 2-8, 2-9, 2-10, 2-11, 2-12, 2-13, 2-14, 2-15, 2-16, 2-17, 2-18, 2-19, 2-20  
    • Duration 5 Tiles long
  • Phase 3
    • Tiles 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-7, 3-8, 3-9, 3-10
    • Duration 5 Tiles long
The tiles can be reflected horizontally and vertically for additional variety.

We used Perforce for revision control and Trello for task tracking.

You can play the game here.

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