Choosing a side

After 20+ games made from our first few weeks together and the JDE Showcase, it was time to decide our next steps. We broke down into two units to flesh out and design how to make these games something unique for our players to remember. We didn’t want to make a game already out, but with a different wrap around it. So we looked at the feedback surveys and notes from our Showcase the week before for input. Some games had a lot of potential based off the feedback and team ideas while others had its limit.

When both units were done brainstorming every game to pursue, we came back together to pitch our ideas to each other. The Showcase feedback really helped our pitching session since we had various developers of major game companies as well as judges of major festivals like IGF and IndieCade. This helped structure major things festivals can look for (marketing, innovation, polished, etc.).

From endless pitching and brainstorming, we soon came down to three games the teams and feedback had a strong passion for; Humani Tsunami, Snow Angel, and Stay Cool! We ended up putting Stay Cool on the side because it targeted a specific audience, being a game of using four DDR Pads. With over 10 members and team experience, we decided it was possible to split the team in half. They would spend a month working on Vertical Slice and decide where to go from there.

Later the Producers talked to each member one on one to figure out which game they would like to pursue. With that they broke down team balance with concentrations then figured out how to balance it without audio and art contractors. Below is the team split in half for our Vertical Slice Stage.

 

JDE Civil War (No Text)
Humani Tsunami (Above) / Snow Angel (Below)

Ending Creativity

This was the final Creative Jam happening during the summer where people can imagine games beyond any scope. There wasn’t a theme, just the opportunity to make whatever members thought of in the past.

During the time, people looked at old creative journals they have made within the last year as an inspiration on where to go next. Some people wanted to experiment with art styles while others wanted to learn new skills for programming. Either way people wanted to make new things. There were pros and cons though of the constraint system. Some members developed games not targeted towards IGF/IndieCade while others just presentations. Creative wise we came up with new ideas as we hoped, but production wise the week could have been used to produce other things.

Attack on Creative Jams

Its been a month and our creativity hasn’t been used in a while. We’ve spent time polishing builds that are soon to be dropped because they were too similar to games already published. We decided to do two Creative Jams, an open ended workshop both for two days straight where members used their knowledge and experience to think of something new. We didn’t limit ourselves to any constraints besides time, just the idea of making stuff that can be scoped for a larger team.

 

Our First Public Showcase!

After a month of prototyping, we decided to invite people to try out our top ideas. Using social media and our networks, the team outreached to developers in the industry, faculty at the school, alumni, and various friends. This was to help get various viewpoints from a larger audience. For the showcase we decided to pick 8 projects to promote  from our team members. Ranging from games of many mediums, this was an open feedback session of our games that can decide our next steps.

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The showcase had over 40 people attend, making this a successful event for our team and for networking. Lead Designers of both Indie and AAA companies visited with tons of feedback for our demos. This helped everyone understand the pros and cons of each project we’ve been doing. There were tons of laughs and surprises on the games we have created. Some were experiences not touched by developers which boosted the teams morale. From the feedback, we’ve created games for specifically Indie Festivals and Major ones. This had the producers and designers think about what kind of games can we pursue through the JDE. By the end of the day, it came down to the question, “What’s Next?”.

 

Showcase Games

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