January 17, 2017 - No Comments!


During the last VideoBrains of the year I told Simon, "Let's do a new year's jam!" Lo and behold, a few weeks later Simon messages me the details for a full blown game jam at the Oxford Hackspace - organised all on his own. Impressive! So on I hopped one silver morning onto the X90 from London to Oxford.

I arrived unfashionably early, meanwhile Robin, my team member, was fashionably late. But at least that gave me the opportunity to meet two wonderful and talented people, Tim and Dan. I quickly recruited them and we set to work. With only a handful of hours to make a game, we didn't dabble and rapidly agreed on a simple but sweet idea: the feeling of leaves blowing in the wind.

The game is called "I Beleaf In You" - a journey to better times. The protagonists are leaves that fall from a tree, you play the wind helping them back up to when they were young and green. You do that by literally blowing on a leaf to control the wind direction and intensity.

Here is our fantastic team. From left to right: Dan, a very welcoming software engineer who remarkably worked evenings and weekends on his indie game... and got it on Steam! Tim, a programmer in visual effects, now taking on the brave path of full-time indie game development. Myself, Rosa, the artist of the team. And Robin, maker of wonderful controllers, famous for Line Wobbler. Here he is holding our input device. It is an adruino with a acceloromteor and a microphone. Not pictured but just as important was the very talented composer, Lewis, who kindly made us wonderful music in record time.

While Robin soldered away at the controller, Tim and Dan programmed in Unity, I absorbed myself in drawing pretty trees and leaves using Dan's iPad. (I've included the background image I made at the end of this post.) There wasn't much time for anything else but making the game, only stopping for the occasional tea and to grab a bite from Videobrains sponsored free pizza. Yum!

The most exciting moment for me was when we put everything together for the first time. The leaves fell on the ground and I gently blew into the microphone. They flew into the air and fell gracefully. How beautiful! A perfect demonstration of Dan, Tim and Robin's incredible skills, getting the feel of it so perfect.

But I was still holding a computer chip and red cable in my hand. So while the programmers talked about the behaviour of the leaves, I grabbed a cutting mat, a scalpel and some green card and cut out a few shapes. Add a little bit of sellotape and viola! We had a physical leaf!

I have to confess, I am incredibly proud of what we made. We worked very well together and made something that had players awing, touched by the game. In the end, Simon awarded us the "Best Art" prize, not because of the visuals, but because we created an all-round artistic experience, with beautiful music, beautiful interaction and beautiful feel. Dan, Tim, Robin - it was a joy jamming with you!

Published by: rosa in Uncategorized

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