Monday, May 5, 2014

Machinis Ludo V: Cooperative Jam

Monaco by Pocket Watch Games
Machinis Ludo V: Cooperative Jam is a one week part-time, invitation-only game jam hosted at Williams College by Morgan McGuire to create cooperative action-RPG video games inspired by the heist video game Monaco. All previous Machinis Ludo participants are welcome as well.

Anyone with basic experience in a language like C++, Java, or C should be able to modify mechanics in the engine--you don't have to be very experienced in C++. The engine is designed so that it is possible to contribute significantly to a team just by editing data files and creating images, as well. The primary goal of the jam is to bring everyone up to speed on modifying C++ programs and shape up the OpenHeist engine and G3D for future game jams. Set your expectations low, learn a lot, and have fun. A version of the OpenHeist API is temporarily online; in general, you can build the latest version of it from the Git repository sources.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords by Nintendo
  1. The jam runs 9am ET Saturday June 21 to 5pm ET Friday June 27. No implementation allowed beforehand.
  2. Maximum of 32 hours allowed for each person across the week
  3. Use the shared OpenHeist open source C++ game engine
  4. Make a cooperative 2D ARPG (any setting, any theme, any scale; e.g., could be bacteria and cells in a human body, a fantasy dungeon crawl, or a mechwarrior battle over a city
  5. The usual Machinis Ludo rules: sign up before the jam begins, post regularly on the shared blog, you win if you complete a game (not necessarily a good one!) before the deadline, etc.
  6. Post a design to this shared blog before 11am ET June 21
The design should include:
  • Game name
  • Team members
  • Setting
  • List of player & NPC characters with sketched pictures
  • Key mechanics (e.g., timer-based items, stealth, shooting, collecting coins)
  • Powerups/tools/items in the world
  • Important tile types in the world
  • Sketches of maps
This isn't a full-blown design document. The post might be similar to an old NES game manual, e.g., It should be taken seriously, though--previous jam winners tended to be those who had a good design worked out ahead of time even though they often evolved it significantly during implementation. With a team, it is especially important to have a plan from the start!

Paganitzu by Keith Schuler
Advance Wars by Intelligent Systems

The following aren't rules, but are strongly recommended for making the jam successful:
  • Play multiplayer Monaco before beginning your game! Morgan & Mike will make this available in the graphics lab by request at lunch hours during the weeks before the jam, or you can buy it yourself for $15.
  • Pair up with another participant. Create a design together, and then have the more-experienced C++/game programmer customize the engine while the less-experienced C++ programmer implements gameplay.
We'll provide the OpenHeist game engine, a bare-bones Monaco clone, some starter sounds and graphics, and the graphics lab for local participants (3-5pm, plus after hours if Dan/Sam/Mike/Morgan/Kelly can be there at the time.)

OpenHeist is stored on Google Code using Git. If you use Git (we recommend TortoiseGit on Windows and the command line on other platforms), then you can synchronize with it throughout the jam to receive bugfixes and new features needed by multiple teams, and offer your own patches back.

OpenHeist should run on Linux and OS X with minimal porting, but is only being tested on Windows right now. So, I recommend using Visual Studio (professional or the free express version) 64-bit on Windows 7 or Windows 8 for this jam. Morgan will accept OpenHeist pull requests with patches before and during the jam, but is not providing primary engine or IT support--everyone is expected to pitch in and help each other with support, documentation, software configuration.

Spelunky by Moss Mouth

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