Global Game Jam 2009 – Gravema

The last weekend I attended the Global Game Jam 2009. I didn’t know what to expect as it was the first time it happens in Israel (and it was the first time the event took place all over the world at the same time).

We got together at the GarageGeeks (my first time) in Holon (although the organizers of the GGJ 2009 insisted on calling it Tel Aviv). We were about 60 people so it was crowdy, yet cozy.

After a short brief, we got about 10 minutes to think of new concept for a game. Anyone who wanted, just stood up and told about his idea. After this phase, the teams was created spontanously.

Our brief was to create a game that:

1. The theme of the game should be: “As long as we have each other we’ll never run out of problems”

2. Game’s lenght is less than 5 min.

3. Incorporates at least one of these ideas: sleepless, cloudy, or destined

Originally I had an idea of a physics game, where you can plan a “solar system” in such a way, that a spaceship will get safely from one side of the screen to the other. Later I thought of changing this game into a real time competition between the spaceship pilot and the “planet mover” (I called it a competition between not equal contestants). This idea was also abandoned, but it gave rise to another idea based on the non-equal contestants:

One player controls a sleepless old lady called Gravema, while Zombat, a blood sucking zombie vampire is controlled by the other player.

Zombat moves around Gravema’s hump and tries to reach her naked palms to suck her blood, while Gravema tries to get rid of him by smashing him against the surrounding objects with her body.

The game takes place in an old and spooky graveyard where tombstones randomly pop up. The players have 5 minutes to prove who’s tougher, before death comes to take them away.

This concepts was originated during a talk between me and Ivan (who is an Art Designer and more). Later on, we succeeded in convincing Benny, an amazing programmer, to join us. Ivan brought reinforcement named Daniil who is also a gread visual artist and sound designer too.  We were 4 which is a small team, but these guys (which I meant the first time on that day) were just amazing.

So after 36 hours we finished the game. We used 4 more hours later before we submitted the game to the Global Game Jam website: http://globalgamejam.org/games/gravema . This means we developed the game in 40 hours! I think this is really an achievement.

This is us – presenting the game the first time in public.

The experience was very intense. It was a good practice for our creativity.

And here’s a short gameplay video (in a much better quality than the shaky hand above…)

During this event dozens of games were developed worldwide. In Israel alone 11 games were devloped at the end of the 48 hours. My personal favorite is Starry Starry Nights (http://globalgamejam.org/games/starry-starry-night): innovative concept, new experience, almost artistic.

Our game (Gravema) was already mentioned in few blogs and news websites:

You can download the game here:

But this is not the end. We have a plan to finish the minumum requirements for this version…

So hold your fingers crossed.  Soon a website will be up, and code will fly… 🙂

This event brought many thoughts and ideas, but I’m too tired to write them down now.

Maybe tomorrow…

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