There were things to be done even before the jam started. “We started a brainstorming document and filled it with inspiration from existing ideas we’d be interested in,” says Matt. “Our goal was to decide on an art style and main game mechanic that wouldn’t be difficult to create.” Joyce, who has previous game jam experience, kept a notebook of sketches and ideas. David, an experienced jammer with several hackathons under his belt, took time to watch tutorials on the topics he was interested in learning.
Then, the fateful day finally dawned. Team AXS arrived at George Brown College where the event was taking place, and there they were given their theme for this year’s game jam: “Repair”.
“We needed to prioritize based on what we thought would contribute to the player’s experience the most,” adds Joyce, “So content and function were always top of mind.”
While Matt worked on game mechanics, Joyce started doing character designs for a loveable furry main character. David, on the other hand, came up with the idea of cleaning up a beach set in Miami – or repairing the Earth in an environmentally-friendly way. He spent the first evening modelling buildings and palm trees along a sandy beach, and focusing his efforts on creating water shaders that will eventually be used in both his project and Matt & Joyce’s game.
Initial character sketches for Derpy Dog
Joyce and David hard at work, ft. Baby Yoda
The clock ticked on, and Saturday night rolled around. Despite all their organization and planning, Matt and Joyce unwittingly fell victim to scope creep at their own hands. Their final game contained 5 unique puzzles to solve, and each one had to be built from scratch. “I realised that if we were going to complete the game, I would need to pull an all-nighter,” says Matt. So that’s exactly what he did– he hunkered down and coded throughout the night. “This was the toughest part of the game jam for sure, but surprisingly very productive.”
David had managed to stay on-track throughout and had finished all his assets by the second day, leaving him a healthy amount of buffer room to refine and submit his project. However, Matt and Joyce did not have the same luxury. The 5pm submission deadline was fast approaching. It became apparent that some things had to go in order for the game to be finished on time. “We had so many amazing ideas that we wanted to implement,” laments Joyce. “By Sunday noon, our naive optimism had run out, and it was time to prioritize and slash the unnecessary things.”
As the game jam wrapped up, the trio was able to demo their games on the spot, quickly drawing large crowds filled with impressed onlookers:
All their hard work paid off: the games were a big hit!
In the end, the game jam proved to be a valuable and fun experience. Despite the stress and exhaustion, the AXS trio succeeded in accomplishing what they set out to do: to make a game and have fun doing it. “I’m really proud of what Matt and I achieved,” says Joyce. “My biggest learn is that we can actually make a game in 48 hours!”
David agrees. “I learnt a lot about shaders and got to create something amazing to share with friends and family. Next time, I think I will bring more snacks.”