Friday, February 21, 2014

Game Jams (Game Programming)

I got so excited by the currently running Flappy Game jam (twitter #flappyjam) organized by Ivano Palmentieri and hosted by Itch.io (http://itch.io). Some game jams are in-person gatherings but many of those allow online participation and then there are jams like Flappy that were organized to be online only.

Flappy Jam was created to nullify some of the bad feelings around the Flappy Bird game (which came out of nowhere and became a mega hit and then was pulled off the store and then had a zillion imitations). The deadline is Monday, February 24, but at last count there were 470 entries and I'm sure the weekend will bring more. The point is to do some kind of difficult to play game that vaguely has something to do with Flappy Bird.

Well, I didn't plan to enter, but I was already intrigued by the idea of Flappy Bird and for the game that I'm writing about now to show off some of the cool things that SVG can do, I decided to enter my game, Flying Fox.


Probably not the greatest game entered (in fact, maybe the worst, if that is possible), but I am happy that I was able to use some SVG tricks to make a game somewhat similar to Flappy Bird. The circles are clouds, the red things are pipes, and the fox has just hit a pipe and blown up. The pipes and clouds are moving from right to left (all at different speeds) and the fox is a nice SVG drawing from Nicu. 

I've written two posts about this game already:



I'll finish the third and final post early next week, but the code was finished and Flappy Jam needed one more entry! Well, probably not, but it is fun to be part of something big and goofy. Check out Flappy Jam at http://itch.io/jam/flappyjam.

If you page through the entries, you'll be amazed at the variety of entries and platforms. I often find variations on a theme fascinating. And if you want to see the original game, well, you can't, but there are some clones in the Firefox OS Marketplace that are very similar. In particular, this one looks just like Flappy Bird: https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/flappy-bird

So my own entry is here: http://itch.io/jam/flappyjam/rate/2878 but you can read about the code next week! 

The other game jam that I've joined in is called One Game A Month and is at http://www.onegameamonth.com/. The idea is that you just do one game a month, any kind, and enter it. There's lots of game information on the site and the founder,  Christer Kaitila, is a cool guy also known as @McFunkypants on Twitter.  My games for @OneGameAMonth (also known as #1GAM) are at http://www.onegameamonth.com/thulfram, but they are just cleaned-up copies of the games I write about here and with any luck I'll be writing at least one game a month and explaining how the code works.

Christer Kaitila also wrote a very cool book about real-life game jams that I highly recommend called The Game Jam Survival Guide which is really useful if you ever go to a live one (and useful even if you don't). Amazon has it at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R0NTF4?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B007R0NTF4&linkCode=shr&tag=animonan-20

So Game Jams are cool and there are jams all over the world, but Game Jellies are coming soon!