Friday, June 04, 2010

#IeL2010 Game Jam Conclusion



My amazingly blurry blackberry picture of the Game Jam Judges' Choice winner...Writers Block.
Created by (drumroll) - Sid and I!

No...the competition wasn't rigged.

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BTW - For those of you not at the conference, I am keeping Sid anonymous. She is an integral player in the upcoming LMS implementation. I don't want to blow her cover ;)

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Before Aaron's session yesterday, Sid cornered me.

You know Wendy - you made it sound like I bossed you around. I hope you don't feel that way.

Didn't mean to give that impression in my writing. I wanted to give credit where credit was due.

Sid really did the heavy lifting.

Upon further reflection on the experience, it made me realize exactly why the two of us work so well together in our day jobs.

We both respect the way each other thinks and processes information.

I'm a more linear / text person. She's more hyperlink / visual.
To successfully implement a new system - it helps to have both.

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To give an idea of our "project" process for this challenge.

1) Identify what makes a successful facebook game.

Sid has played a few of these. My homework assignment from this conference is to play one. We also looked over our notes from Brenda Brathwaite's session.

2) Brainstorm the main core

We kinda started this process before lunch. During lunch - we talked about other things and let stuff simmer. After lunch - Sid and I got back together. Thankfully - our a-ha moment came almost instantaneously.

3) Brainstorm the design

This is where I let Sid go nuts. I would have never thought of the "wander around and capture things with a magic book" idea.

4) Stop and map it out.

This is where I came in - only because I was starting to see lots of ideas and wasn't entirely certain how they all came together.

Mapping out how we think things are supposed to work (the workflow) also helps us see gaps and issues with our ideas.

At some point - usually when things start to get confusing - it's good to map out what you have. It's also good not to stay wedded to any idea created during the brainstorming sessions.

This could also be called the "planning" stage.

5) Act.

We had to create 3 panels for display by 4pm.

Around 2pm - we had to make a semi-conscious decision to start putting together our 3 panels.

The brainstorming part is fun. Planning can even be fun. Act is the real work.

Sid and I seemed to start our panels long before the other teams. A good thing, because that gave Sid time to create 1 panel and fix 1 of my panels (because my artistic ability consists of 3rd grade scrawl and stick figures).

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What we wound up with - the game idea that won John Romero's and Brenda Brathwaite's approval

Title: Writers Block

Core: Collect inspiration for your novels by wandering around an expansive and ever-changing environment

Gameplay:
- Walk around the environment and collect inspiration using your magic book.
- You can house your inspiration in your writer's area
- Create bestsellers using your inspiration
- As you climb the bestseller list - you gain money to purchase better transportation, allowing you to explore more areas and gain more unique inspiration (bikes, cars, planes, teleporters)
- Trade inspiration with your friends and help them climb the bestseller list too so you can explore new areas together
- Special environments and events daily to allow you to gather limited edition inspiration (and keep you coming back for more - World of Warcraft - style)

We are pretty proud of our work.

What excited me the most was overhearing folks staring at our panels and saying "That's really cool!" I didn't even have to pay them off ;)

Sid has the panels - with John Romero's signature. I hope to get better pictures soon.

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Oh yeah - I am so jealous of the Opus Scriptor team for having access to a printer.
They got People's Choice for their idea of using friends and their profiles to write a novel and allowing these friends to edit your work Mad Lib style. Well earned.

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