Last month, someone posted a request on the Kongregate forums for an artist to collaborate with him on a Flash game he is developing. Despite already having my own project in the works, I liked his demo so much that I volunteered to work as the artist on his game.
At around the same time, another person posted on the Kongregate forums a request for a programmer to help her develop a tower defense game she designed. No one volunteered to help her then, although someone else gave her a link to a tutorial on how to make tower defense games in Stencyl. As she went through the tutorial, she would post a question on the forums about problems she sometimes encountered, and I would post my solutions for her.
After two weeks, one of the forum moderators announced an upcoming contest called GiTD # 27. “GiTD” stands for Game in Ten Days. It’s a game jam where interested parties may create Flash games within the prescribed period as soon as the contest theme is announced. After the deadline, forum members may vote for the two games that they liked the most, with the first choice getting two points and the second placer getting one point. After a short period, the votes are tallied, and the winner gets a prize as well as bragging rights. Participants who post their work-in-progress on day 7 for others to critique would automatically get two free music tracks that they may use in their entries and any other game they make from then on. Although I have never completed a Flash game of my very own before, I messaged the moderator, telling him that I was interested in joining this contest.
One hour after having sent the moderator my message, I received another private message from the tower defense designer, who asked to chat with me over Skype. When I logged on, we discussed her game for a while, and I briefly looked over her game design document and artwork. Now I don’t know what possessed me at that point, but I told her that programming a tower defense game was so easy that I was tempted to do it for her. Perhaps it was my natural tendency to want to help people in any aspect of game development. Or maybe it was a moment of insanity. Whichever the case, I actually wound up volunteering for the job. I warned her, though, that I already had two other projects ongoing, so her project would be third on my list. She said that as long as her game was completed by December, she would be okay with that. GiTD # 27 had not yet officially started then, but when it eventually did, I wound up with four ongoing projects. Count them, four. I really am a mad game developer.
Well, the GiTD was over in ten days, so now I’m down to three projects. The sad part was that my entry did not get a single vote. I have no regrets about joining the GiTD though. Trying to cobble a working game together in such a short time frame was an amazing experience. Being accustomed to thinking things through before acting on my plans, I was completely yanked out of my comfort zone and forced to adopt a fast and disciplined way of working. At the end of it all, I can now honestly say that I’ve actually completed a Flash game. I would love to join another game jam, although I really ought to finish the projects that I’m helping others with before I do.