Design Buddies, an online design community, hosted their first Game Jam in December 2020. A game jam is similar to a hackathon where you have an allotted amount of time to produce a program, app, design, etc but you create a game demo instead. I decided that this would be a fun opportunity to do UX and practice UI in a different context that wasn’t web or mobile. I teamed up with other fans of video games from around the world to create this small adventure Role Playing Game (RPG). The game jam ran from Dec 16th to Dec 23rd, 2020.
The theme given to us was Community on December 16th. My team and I got to work immediately on ideas for the the game.
3 of us never had made a game before or knew how to program.
We thought about community, what that could mean and how to show that. We incorporated the Design Buddies mascot, a bunny, into our game. We landed on the idea of a Rabbit and Fox team living in a world with fellow woodland creatures.
That was my first of many questions to our lead Game Designer, Martin. I had many more such as:
We landed on creating a 2D, 16-bit Adventure RPG, told as a fairytale, with a Rabbit protagonist, River.
I researched common RPG game UI elements from the Game UI Database to better understand what would be needed for our game.
I created low-fidelity sketches and mid-fidelity mockups with Figma and Photoshop. Daria would then finalize the look of our UI assets from mid-fidelity to high fidelity mockups. She pixelated and cleaned up my assets to better fit the style of our game.
To keep things simple, I utilized the menu idea that Blossom Tales had of keeping several different screens accessible via tabs under the menu screen.
The HUD would show off some of our inventory, community growth mechanic and currency.
Martin, our Lead Game Designer, taught me how to put together a small level in Unity 2D. I was inspired by early Pokemon’s isometric overhead view. Daria created ruined home assets that went with the story of our game for me to use.
I’m a fan of video game and film OSTs. The music had to fit the genre of the game and the emotion I wanted to evoke at that moment for the player. I used songs from Bakuda’s Generic RPG pack to set those tones that I used were:
As for sound effects, they also had to match the game's genre. A futuristic laser sound makes no sense when a sword is being swung. SFX has to match the world it was based in.
I assisted Angela, who was in charge story and dialogue. I wrote dialogue for the Non-Playable Characters based on the behavior traits. For example:
Doe the Deer, a Potion Shop Owner, who loves Music and Chemistry
Bacon the Baker, a Jolly and friendly Pig Baker
During the course of the week, we had a few bugs that didn’t give us time to do a quick play test with users. We dealt with such things as:
Among other things, we also ran into issues with Unity itself.
We needed a game trailer to submit to Design Buddies along with our game submission on Itch.io. I compiled the gameplay footage, music from our asset pack, the voice over narration from Angie and screenshots into short trailer in Adobe Premiere. You can view the trailer below.
Being on the other side has given me an even deeper appreciation for those who make games, no matter how big or small the team.
4 out of 5 of us decided to go back to the drawing board and flesh out our ideas and make a full game as Kiwi Studio!
We kicked things off officially in early January 2021 working on our game part-time on our own time. There’s no release date yet but we’re excited!
Design Buddies: For hosting the game jam and giving people an opportunity to try something new.
The Asset Creators who allowed us to create our game as quickly as possible:
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