I attended the Vancouver Global Game Jam this past weekend as an artist! There were event sites all over the world (Japan, China, Australia, Brazil, you name it!) where teams scrambled to put a game together in 48 hours! From Friday through Sunday I got about 8 hours of sleep. Gnarly.
My team working!
The jam’s theme was revealed to be Ouroboros (a symbol of a snake/dragon eating its own tail). The game designers I paired up with had the concept of “Carl Jung running inside a snake which is eating itself and he has to try to dig his way out.” OKAY!
I helped further develop the concept to get more out of it art wise – it would be Jung when he was a kid (Young Jung! Hohohoho), and the traumatic dream would inspire various aspects of his future work. He would have to evade obstacles while moving through the snake which represent aspects of his life/psychological trauma. He would have to find a tooth from the snake in order to dig himself out, and if he did he could wake up from the dream. Artwise, the game would have a creepy-cute/trippy-dreamlike feel.
We also had ideas for philosophical/psychological puns for various items and power ups he would have. :) I thought of giving him more equipment to make him look like a fantasy oneironaut/ghostbuster/adventurer, but we decided that he wouldn’t have any items to start with.
Friday evening was mostly spent on character design and ironing out our concept. I looked at photos of Jung and what children wore in 1885. I wanted to keep him simple since we would have to be animated/reproduced in various ways all within 48 hours. Here’s Young Jung:
Early Saturday was mostly spent on animation with some title screen design near the end. I prepped him for animation in Flash and made a run cycle while Carmen (the other artist on our team!) made jump and dig animations.
(The first sprite sheet I’ve ever made!)
Here he is running in the game world. So cool! (Background painting by Carmen.)
Getting to work with Carmen was one of my favourite things about the jam! Our talents meshed well (I’m good with character design, lineart, and graphic design, while she’s good with painting, backgrounds, colour & lighting). We both gave eachother feedback during the whole process and got to collaborate closely on the title screen for the game.
I came up with a number of composition sketches for the screen, and we both narrowed it down to this one as our favourite:
I drew Young Jung before handing it off for Carmen to start painting over it while I worked on the type.
Carmen in the progress of painting: I gave her feedback in terms of where the lighting should place focus in the painting and she improved my composition by having the snake’s body wrap around so it wouldn’t look like a disembodied head. Choice collaboration right there!
After merging her painting with my title/nav elements, I did final overall colour adjustments and darkened the edges to lift out the foreground elements. Here’s the final:
Unfortunately, while our programmers DID to their credit manage to get the circular game world, animation, player controls, destructable terrain and win/lose conditions going, there wasn’t enough time to implement menus, obstacles or powerups. We did do the art assets for them though. (Admittedly, the furniture are loose tracings of google images due to time constraints, shhh don’t tell anybody!) I imagined that there would be piles and piles of these things that Carl would have to scramble over, all while running from the ever-advancing snake head of death and trying to find an empty spot of ground to dig through!
Last minute group photo (with two of our team members missing, arg!) Yeah, we’re all sleep deprived here.
Overall it was a great experience – getting to see my art implemented into a game, working with Carmen, meeting people from local game studios, and getting to introduce myself as an artist to so many people! Not to mention an awesome t-shirt. I’m glad I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone. I want to keep going to more event like this! I felt really good to blast through an entire project in a concentrated period of time, alongside others!