Board Game Jam 2 and an Untitled Hacking Game

March 5, 2012
Play Testing at the Jam

Play Testing at the Jam

So last weekend was the second Toronto Board Game Jam, and it was great. A lot of returning faces from the first jam, and plenty of new ones to join them. There’s been several write ups of the Jam already, so I don’t feel I need to cover that territory, and instead I’d like to discuss the game I created with Paul at the event.

We decided to avoid too much deliberation on the jam-day (which can eat in to your build time) and work out a concept a few days before. Paul and I sat down to discuss the theme (Science) and hash out mechanics. We wanted something easy to learn and quick to play, with minimal pieces to ensure we completed in time. Additionally, we wanted something where players directly interacted with each other, something which flexibly accommodated about 4 players, and with those restrictions, we went to work. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Post: Milky Doom

June 8, 2011

Just a quick note; our team is still working on Milky Doom. TOJam isn’t planning on hosting this year’s games until the Arcade (in October). We’re planning to provide a download of the game sometime in the near future! Eyes on this space for details as they arise.

Milky Doom Preview

May 15, 2011

It’s getting close to the deadline, and Milky Doom is virtually complete! I’d like to take a minute to talk a bit about our game for this TOJam. These screenshots still don’t have all the assets we created, but they’ll be in there before the night is out.

The start of a round

Milky doom is a game about aliens, who have become trapped in a bowl of delicious, corn-inspired sugar cereal, and are panicking as they are stranded in a sea of deadly milk! Silly? Yes. Very.

Life in the cereal bowl

Players try to stay out of the milk. It’s a King-of-the-Hill style game; the aim is to be the last alien standing. All of your friends and allies may be drowning at the bottom of a terrible milky grave, but it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate being the last and, clearly, the best.

Players can run and jump, and we hope to later add power-ups and grabbing abilities. The playing field is a bowl of cereal, and players run across the top of floating cereal kernals to stay alive. The cereal is crazy-realistic; it floats, bobs and bunches in to islands, and was a triumph for us. Bump in to other aliens to launch them. AI agents are littered in with human players, adding a lot of chaos.

Fear the spoon!

It’s not all about your fellow aliens, though. Fear the spoon of the unwary (or cold-hearted) eater! It makes the playing field more hazardous, smaller, and can kill slow and unsuspecting players!

We’ve been having a blast creating this game, and we hope to share it with the web soon, once it becomes available on the TOJam website, sometime soon (we hope).

TOJam 6: Morning 3

May 15, 2011

Some Milky WIP

It’s the final day here at TOJam6!

So yesterday was completely lost in a haze of productivity! Milky Doom has gone from a collection of assets in a weird technical demo of cereal physics to a legitimately fun program that just needs some minor structural additions. Our models are (mostly) textured, our code is nearing completion, and we still have the rest of today! Really, it’s gone much better than I could have anticipated.

Still, there’s a number of things left to do; can’t relax yet!

TOJam 6: Night 1

May 14, 2011

So TOJam #6 is here! I’m pretty excited. It’s pretty late, and most of our team is asleep, or planning to be soon. (I am part of the latter.)

So what’s happening? Well, Team Cardboard Box, which consists of myself, Andrew Tarzwell, Moh Al-Sahaf, Darius K Zoot, and Megan Robertson, are working on a game for this well loved 72-hour Jam. We’re reprising the idea we were pursuing during our failed Easter Weekend Prejam, Milky Doom.

So what the heck is Milky Doom? Well, it’s a king-of-the-hill style survival multiplayer game, in a bowl of cereal. It’s hilarious, and we’re making great progress; hopefully a playable prototype will be finished early tomorrow (we’re still implementing player functions).

I intend to write in more detail about the project and the Jam, but my bed beckons!

Easter Weekend Prejam

April 22, 2011

I love game jams. When I have to feign excitement for sporting events, I pretend that the Superbowl is TOJam, and it feels much more natural. And with TOJam #6 coming up next month, I’m pretty excited!  This year, Team Cardboard Box is 5 members strong, and we’re looking to make something very memorable.

That said, we’re undertaking a Prejam! What’s that? Well, it’s a laid back, online 72 hour Jam. We’re doing it as a team exercise, so that we’re working at full capacity when TOJam hits! But you can join in too, and make a game through the weekend! (And you know, you can take Monday to finish it if you reeeally want to.)

The themes we picked for our Prejam are: Coffee, Cereal and “Who Dunnit?”
Use all of em! Use none of em! It’s up to you!

I’ll be tweeting about this as we make progress; follow @GregPXL or, just look for the #prejam tag! Send me a link to your progress or final game and I’ll link em all from here at the end.


Community Studio

February 8, 2011
Jammers at TOJam 4

Jammers at TOJam 4

When I was in university and spent more time doing studio art, I was introduced to the idea of public studios. The basic idea is you pay a cheap membership to take advantage of a community space and tools. If you’ve ever tried to do large-scale art, it’s very easy to understand the benefit of such a space to store projects and work, but the real value of such a space is having regular access to your peers in what can otherwise be a very isolated lifestyle.

In the past few years that I’ve been attending Gaming events, it occurred to me that I don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with my peers. Especially when I’m doing independent and contract work, when I spend almost all of my time at home. And I know my situation isn’t terribly unique.

Game Jams and other local industry events help to bring Toronto’s Game Dev community together, but only on occasion. So I was thinking about how we could change that, and it comes back to the idea of emulating a public art studio, but for game development.

Before I go any further in discussing the idea, I want to mention that I’m looking for input — you can help out by filling out a super quick survey. Read the rest of this entry »

Uncontrollable Mutation

July 1, 2010

I’m a big fan of the basic idea of super-powers in one form or another — it can make a great play mechanic in a lot of settings, and provides a lot of interesting opportunities. I’ve made several uses of White Wolf’s Aberrant RPG for these types of games (the original d10 version, not the d20 edition they printed later), and with a few modifications (and an entirely new setting) it works really, really well. But there’s one thing in the base Aberrant setting/system I’ve always really liked that I’ve never had the opportunity to properly explore: eruptions.

For the uninitiated, Aberrant is a X-Men style super-hero setting, where some humans have experienced a miraculous mutation that gives them their powers. The initial onset of the mutation is a violent presentation of those abilities, normally preceded by a week of migraines and then triggered by a stressful event, called an eruption. It a very cool basic idea, which suggests that the character’s powers are normally selected based on their personality, and the nature of those events. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Housekeeping

June 30, 2010

Hey everyone!

So, just a little housekeeping today. I’ve got a lot of posts up here — not many compared to larger blogs, but a substantial amount of writing none the less — and I’ve wanted to make it a bit more accessible for a while now. As such, I’ve introduced a new Table of Contents, available in the sidebar. I’ll update it every now and again, but right now it’s got all the existing posts listed for your convenience.

I have lots of material not fully written up that I’d like to post in the near future, so let’s hope that happens.

It’s Coming… TOJam 5!

April 19, 2010
TOJam 5

TOJam 5

This week is going to be a whirlwind for me. Not only is it a fairly busy work week for me, but this weekend is TOJam 5! I’ve been buzzing excitedly about this event since it was first announced in late February, and this year I will be competing along with the talented Andrew Tarzwell as Team Cardboard Box. Exciting!

We got to give some serious credit to the fantastic TOJam organizers again this year, too. This year, we’re set up in a larger space at George Brown college (which took virtually no time for sign-ups to fill! There’s already a waiting list!) along with equipment for those without, and all sorts of hosting niceties, like free dinner and prizes. Seems like TOJam is only getting bigger, and only getting better.

We’ve got great ideas and a lot of planning to do before this weekend, and I’ll try to document as much as I can. I will also be reviewing ALL of TOJam’s games this year as they’re released, just like last year! More updates to come!