If you know me just a teeny tiny little bit, you’ll know I absolutely love game jams. They’re one of the brilliant & unique things in our industry that just seep creativity in such a short amount of time and that’s why I just love them! And when I heard Nitrome was having a game jam, even though I’m neck deep in other projects that I can’t wait to show people about – I decided to just drop everything and have some fun! So this game jam was a 5 day one (Monday – Friday) and sadly I really couldn’t do the whole week, but instead of just not doing it, I grabbed Alex and Yuya (Didn’t grab them, a simple message done the trick, no grabbing involved here!) and got to work on an idea that had been floating around my head ever since the theme ‘Dreams’ got announced on the Monday.
Alex initially drew our little guy. Pretty cute for someone who eats dreams, right?
So yeah, like I said, we started pretty late to this game jam and I had an idea floating around my head that I pitched to Alex & Yuya to see if they could get involved with me. It was kinda totally against what I initially thought when I read ‘Dreams’ and I think it’s why it stuck so well with me. Initially when I thought ‘Dreams’ I pictured really beautiful cloud based worlds and thought about some kinda exploration based platformer, essentially exploring dreams – then I thought this may be too obvious and that maybe other people could have just interpreted the theme like that – so I kinda went the opposite way.
Early mock up of the game. Starting to take some shape but it’s lacking that mood and environment that I wanted – art style is what we wanted for something that we’d have to do so fast too.
Then Baku was born! From the start, I wanted this to be a top-down exploration game with challenging stealthy stuff thrown in there too. Essentially you’re a dream eater and you’re in a random house, you’re pretty hungry so you’re sneaking around trying to find dreams to snack on that are littered around rooms with sleeping folk in them. One problem though, you’re a bit clumsy and just make far too much noise!
So yeah, you’re sneaking around the house trying to make as little noise as possible & eating dreams. As simple as that I guess.
Our final title screen for Baku!
Feature wise, there is a tonne of stuff I wanted in here however within the three days, I really just couldn’t get them in there. Saying that, I’m pretty proud with how well we coped and how much we did in the time though!
It even got to the point where Alex actually put stuff in the tutorial for features we were planning to get in the game. Stuff like:
– Walking around (Since he’s heavy footed) slowly increases alert, your ‘disguise’ ability slowly decreases alert energy & if you’re stomping around a room with a sleeping person/dog in they will actually wake up and spot you.
– A few more rooms in the house. Who doesn’t want more rooms?!
– Each room will have a threshold so you don’t always have to hit 100% alert to fail the room, if there’s more people sleeping in the room or if there’s a dog, the threshold could be lower!
The finished look for the game jam entry
I think we’re really considering putting in some more time in to this and getting it a proper release on the web, could be fun and I really think it’s a fun little game with potential. What do you guys think though?
During the past year, the flash game market has witnessed the surge of HTML5 as a significant contender to browser-based games, the rise of Unity’s web player, the corresponding end of Unity’s Export to Flash support, and a rapidly swelling “flash is dead” movement. Many argue that Flash’s competition, at least on the web, has yet to present a comparable replacement, but the downtrend is difficult to deny.
The recent closing of Mochi Media, one of the few significant industry stalwarts of the web-based Flash Games Market, is sure to have a significant impact on both the current market and it’s future. The goal of this survey is to both assess the current status and direction (or change there in) of the market, as well as to continue one of the most important industry contributions that Mochi has made over the past several years: the Flash Game Market Survey.
We have carefully reconstructed this survey from Mochi’s past surveys in order answer the most pressing question plaguing our market today: “What now?”
Our goal is to get at least 1,000 respondents in order to maintain the survey’s statistical relevance and correlation to previous years. So, please forward this survey to as many of your fellow Flash game devs as possible.
The results of this survey will be shared publicly, although we expect the collection period to take a few months in order to reach the needed response level. So, please be patient, and you’ll get all the juicy stats from the survey! In a nice edible form.
It’s sad month! Mochi Media announced they were shutting up shop (And at no decision of their own) after Shanda decided they kinda didn’t want them any more. Huge shame as Mochi has really turned to many so many hobbies in to careers and fostered the growth of the Flash game industry and really been around since it started kicking off more and at its peak! Sadly it all closes down on 31st march
Not only did Mochi really open my eyes (Whilst I was 16 actually!) to the flash game world and still continue to support me as it turned from a hobby to a career but I was honoured to have them work alongside Ernesto and I with Mochi London. They really helped us a tonne financially and with their expertise on running events (From FGS), so it’s sad they won’t be involved any more as Colin is a legend!
So speaking of Mochi London – it will still live on! Just because Mochi went away, doesn’t mean this event will. I’m still willing to put in the time and energy to continuing it all as from the start we wanted to get the community in one place and get creativity flowing, this can still happen! The only thing is I won’t have funding for the event so I’m going to keep my options open and feel around and see what I can do with the event. I still want it how Mochi London was but I want to open the event up a lot more to the indie scene as a whole as in the past it’s been pretty Flash heavy. So yeah, Mochi London will still live! 😉
Here are some cool stories I’ve screen capped from the forums. Seriously so cool to hear everyone’s stories and how everyone really started off the same way when Mochi was around!
My little Mochi story I posted on the forums:
So I started developing games 7 years ago in 2007 (Christ!), it was around the time that Mochi was in beta actually! And to be honest, I feel like I’ve grew up to what I am today with Mochi, so it sucks to hear this! Whilst I was deep in Flash at School and just experimenting, Mochi allowed me to earn whilst I was still picking everything up and even after I was established and earning from sponsorships, it was still bringing in revenue. Aside from the Ads too, Mochi provided some great services, especially Mochibot which I’ve pretty much religiously relied on for accurate and reliable analytics!
One of the best things I’ve got to work on was Mochi London with Colin. I learned so much from it all and having you guys there to really guide me was just priceless! I think it was a brilliant three year run for us & can’t thank you chaps enough for getting involved by both financially making it happen and pouring your time in too!
I think without Mochi being around (Even just in terms of community), it’s going to leave quite a hole and I second what Wayne said, it’d be good to get somewhere to regroup and kind of keep the community side of things going.
So yeah, definitely sad and it’s been a pleasure! Mochi seems to have incubated some insanely talented and cool people so even though you don’t need it, I wish you all the best with what you end up pursuing and hope it’s awesome!
Last year I wanted to put Kingdom Rush in there but it came out in the middle of 2011 so I totally couldn’t. Now I get too! Seriously this is by far the most enjoyable tower defense game I’ve ever played, the game oozes polish and luckily I got to play this in March 2013 at GDD with the Ironhide guys in the Kongregate offices, I felt privledged! All in all though, you can tell what’s been put in to this game when you pick it up, each level is perfectly balanced and feels like it’s been played a tonne of times and tweaked to get the perfect difficulty on it, which by the way, isn’t easy. It’s a tough little game and you’ll find yourself losing a fair bit but it all adds to the game, when you do beat a level if feels like you’ve done a lot to get there and not just tapped a few things!
Crush the Castle Adventures
So you pretty much have to be familiar with the original Crush the Castle that launched with Armor Games in 2009 or so and all the ones in between developed by Joey Betz. I think the biggest thing for me, aside for the huge world to explore as a level map – is the art! The game has had such a breath of life breathed in to it with Jimp’s artwork if I’m honest, it feels like such a new and fresh game now and I had tonnes of fun playing this. A well deserved best of 2013 if I’m honest and It’ll keep you entertained for ages, it’s massive! (As I wrote that I laughed so I’m keeping it in (Ohhh ho ho ho)).
I was late to the party with this one actually, I only played it in December on PC! Honestly the story in this game left a huge impression on me, one of the biggest in a game I’ve ever had I feel! The story is amazing, sure it’s not perfect and people are picking plot holes but they can shut up for all I can, it’s phenomenal! Combat in this game is pretty much how it’s all been in Bioshocks which is great and hectic with the addition of skylines which just crank everything up a notch. I’d have honestly been happy to just walk through the story without all the fighting though, that’s how I feel about it. But for the budget of this game it doesn’t really appeal to the masses so it is what is it. An insane bloody game
It’s hard not to say this game was bloody insane. I’m a big fan of the GTA series however GTA IV didn’t really click with me as much so I when I got this game on launch I didn’t go in to it with huge hype (Even though I should have as Rockstar usually deliver well) and man did I get hooked. Once I done the story I had to wait what felt like forever for the multi player as I just wanted more but sadly this didn’t deliver as much as I wanted, it felt full of grinding and samey after a while. I’m not sure what state it’s in now but I played for 2-3 weeks after launch. Saying that, that can’t take away anything at all from the single player experience, which is amazing!
So Gone Home was more of an experience for me I feel. And to be honest it’s not something you can really go in depth in to without revealing what it’s all about but it’s a fantastic game! I think I clocked around 2 hours (Although it’s a little short for the £15 price tag I admit) but it’s all about the experience and atmosphere of it all for sure, after playing through it I’ll definitely say right now you won’t regret it.
Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time
I’m not sure if this would be an unpopular choice for people purely because it’s full of micro transactions and from face value it really shouldn’t work with this game as the first one was amazing without them. You’d instantly think they’d just get in the way – BUT they really don’t. I had an insane amount of fun playing this game and didn’t part with a penny actually. It seems most micro transactions were to unlock stuff that you’d unlock by playing the game anyway so I think it’s fair that I get a great experience without getting nickel and dimed to buy stuff!
So that was a top 6 I guess. Who does top 10’s anyway? Matched last years top 6, just to keep it all the same 😉
This year I’m on point! The write-up is later than last year, I’ve got to win something for that, right? Right? Fine…. I’m sorry! To open I’m going to say this year I sadly can’t mention Nando’s much as we didn’t get to do the ritual “After Mochi London Nando’s”, it’s like the last supper, every year, or something like that!
Ohhh yes, that PERi-PERi goodness!
Do you know what Mochi London is yet?
You might be one of the few who actually don’t know what Mochi London is. Well don’t fret, I’ll tell you what it is! Mochi London is an event for the indie games community, by the indie games community fueled by love for the indie community. Both Ernesto and I are indie game developers so I guess if you want to boil it down, this is our perfect event but actually real! It’s still a two-day event as it always has been however this year we’ve injected it with a whole dose of awesome with day-2 now being a game jam!
The two-headed hydra. But who are we?
First up we’ve got Ernesto! Ernesto Quezada is a Games Developer/Publisher from El Salvador. He moved to London in 2002 and has worked professionally as a Flash Developer for companies like Gamesys, Evolution Gaming and Playtech, and currently works for a cool start-up as a Lead Developer. He lives in Canary Wharf with his girlfriend and baby daughter Nicole who is already being trained to become a games developer like her dad He publishes games over at www.games-garden.com too!
I’ll go last, being gentlemanly and all that. So yeah, I’m Chris Jeffrey. The end. Okay, I’m an independent game developer from the UK, I’ve been developing games since I was 16 and somehow I’m 23 (I feel old now), I develop games under the name ChrisJeff Games, some of those games are Platcore, Space is Key Series, Above Average Guy (Might be out by the time this goes out, might not be, I hope it is!), There goes the TV and so on. I’m also 1/3 of the podcast Super Indie Pals along with my good pals Jimp & Jay Armstrong! We talk a bunch of stuff and have a laugh, it’s good fun.
You can usually see me posting rambles on my blog and twitter. Oh and did I say, I love Nando’s!?
It’s time to meet the speakers!
Matt Roszak, Indie Developer, Kupo707
Matt is best known for his Flash game series Epic Battle Fantasy, and related spinoffs, which have been incredibly successful on Kongregate, Armor Games and similar sites. Follow him at @Kupo707.
A Postmortem of Epic Battle Fantasy 4 EBF4 is the latest game in a series of free turn based RPGs.This presentation looks at the game’s performance in areas such as player satisfaction, marketing, web distribution and premium content sales.
Danny Parker, Head of Technology, NinjaKiwi Europe.
As Head of Technology at Ninja Kiwi Europe Danny oversees development of in-house technology for Mobile, Tablet and other native platforms. From developing console downloadable titles such as Flock! and Final Fight: Double Impact to bigger boxed titles such as Crackdown 2, Danny has always had a love for the development ethos of mobile and web games. Follow him at @mono_eric3.
Coding without class A retrospective on when Flash development was quick and dirty and so much fun. With advances in language, technology and the devices we play on, the development of games has become very professional and perhaps a little less enjoyable. Here we take a look at what made it so much more fun, and how it can still be really useful when developing today.
Chris Jeffrey, Indie Developer, ChrisJeff GamesJames Pearmain,Artist, Jimp Jay Armstrong,Indie Developer,Jay Armstrong Games
Super Indie Pals is a concoction of three indie developers from the UK that ramble every month in the form of a podcast and bless your ears with industry talk and interviews with prominent players in the industry.
Chris heads ChrisJeff Games and has developed games such as Space is Key, Platcore, There goes the TV, Above Average Guy and more! Follow him at @ChrisJeffGames.
Jimp on the other hand is a wizard with art. Some of his works are Sushi Cat, Penguinz, Corporation Inc, Tokyo Guinea Pop and many others. Follow him at @Artjimp.
Jay is a double threat, he programs and draws fun stuff. You’ll see him in the form of Super Adventure Pals, Bearbarians, Rocket pets and more. Follow him at @Jaymaxarmstrong.
Super Indie Panel The Super Indie Pals bring their enthusiastic podcast about game development to the stage for a Q&A panel and live podcast. The talk will feature conversations with industry guests. Audience participation will be encouraged for an open forum format. Not optional.
Reece Millidge, Indie Developer, Damp Gnat
Reece Millidge turned to independent games development after 15 years study & work in London’s animation industry. Reece now focuses on bringing striking aesthetics and visual narrative to games at his solo studio Damp Gnat in Brighton UK. Works include the award winning ‘Wonderputt’ and one of E3’s Into The Pixel winners ‘Icycle: On Thin Ice’ coming soon from Chillingo. Follow him at @dampgnat.
Post mortem of Icycle: On Thin Ice Reece will reveal stats for his newly released game Icycle: On Thin Ice, as well as talk about the project creation process (including code and timeline animation etc.) Reece plans to open the kimono….whether you like it or not. But you’ll probably like it.
Tony Lavelle, Game Developer, Formally Armor Games -currently at Rebellion.
I started out making terrible games on Newgrounds as a hobby. I’ve had several successful game series, most notably Indestructotank, Shift, Upgrade Complete and KOLM, and have had my games and designs ported from the Flash platform to numerous others, including iPhone, Android, PSN and the Nintendo 3DS, with varying degrees of success. Follow him at @the_exp.
The Indie Advantage Having been at Armor Games for over half a decade, and now rebellion for 6 months, my views on why rapid prototyping and full creative control by an individual or small team will very soon overtake the profit making ability of small indie teams over unwieldy large developer teams when it comes to adapting to the modern landscape for mid level and social non AAA budget games.
Day one. On a scale of 1 to OMG IT WAS AMAZING, how good was it?
So just to set the scene of the weekend a little more, I was dying. Seriously, I was dying, I saw the bright light and everything! I think I had some insane flu that just shut my body down and made me feel as weak as a jaffa cake (They are pretty weak, snap one, trust me), so with that in mind the whole weekend lasted forever for me!
And day one kicks off!
For me the weekend kicked off with Friday and meeting my two good pals Jimp & Jay! All the way back in California we all somehow well in love with Chipotle so like any Chipotle enthusiast we went to Five guys instead. I didn’t eat as my stomach was in knots and felt like I was in Mr.Frostys’ fridge, so my Friday came to an end super fast! Jimp & Jay then decided to go to gay bar with Katherine Tate or something (I’m trying to remember what they said but It’s not working) BUT what I do remember is they brought me back a sandwich to the hotel since they’re super kind and knew I hadn’t ate all day. Jay then wanted us to revise our presentation for the next day so we got it all right which was greeted to a flying sandwich, headed in his direction. This ended up making the war of the chicken & bacon sandwich and pretty much sums up our first day in London!
Matt Roszak letting us in to his world of Epic Battle Fantasy!
Day two (The real day one), this is where things actually happen. If you read the above paragraph, I’m not really sure why you did as it doesn’t really give you much, apart from maybe losing a few braincells to be honest.
I seriously loved our panel, on paper we knew it would work but not as well as we feel it did!
To be honest I think day one went perfect, after every Mochi London I think we can’t get a better line up of developers and we just end up smashing the previous year I think. This year was definitely by favourite due to the sheer amount of information that was shared in the room, it’s something you really don’t get in any other event and at Mochi London it even goes that step further of the audience having discussions and being a part of it all throughout which is something that I think our Super Indie Panel took full advantage off and really fuelled some amazing and great topics between everyone in the audience.
Group shot after the event, at the pub!
Day one is honestly something I could write about for way too long, especially on each of the topics and developers on the day but what I really want to say is this turned out to be the best Mochi London in my eyes and if you’ve been to all of them, I’m sure you’d agree too!
Day two got upgraded like you wouldn’t believe!
Seriously day two got some mega DLC that you don’t even need to download, it’s just there, waiting for you instantly! The big change in Sunday was that we got away with our pub meetup, which although is how Mochi London started, we visit enough pubs throughout the weekend that kinda makes it okay! Instead of the pub meetup we hosted an ultra-cool GAME JAM! We even found an epic location to host the jam- a completely game-themed bar called Loading Bar (co-located with “MADD”), located in London’s Soho district. This place for perfect for it really and who doesn’t want to drink and make games?
Look at all those happy faces!
We decided to give people some flexibility in the game jam whilst still restricting it as it was only 10 hours, so we didn’t want to give people open ended themes that they could just go insane with and end up having nothing to show for it at the end of the day. We opted for an ‘instajam’, we gave the jammers three sets of two images to chose from (One giving a theme for the environment of the game and another for characters).
I’ve got to say we had a good amount turning out and this was my first time hosting the game jam (as for Mochi too!). I think we did learn a lot about it and moving forward we’re definitely going to be more prepared and host and even better game jam if we can! You can see what people made at the end of this article, they’re insanely cool! 😐
Cool stuff in the making!
Game Jam games! These are what you really want…
Before I show you the games, I want to say this is the first game jam I’ve ever ran and I think this rings true also for Mochi but blimey, I feel this actually ran so well and I’m proud of everyone for how it turned out. Seeing the enthusiasm from everyone and people share and show off their games with each other during the process was also brilliant.
This is how Jellyfish lover was born…
If I was to do it again I definitely think that a lot more prep is needed as I turned up a little late and everyone was already sat down making games, I really wanted to kick off the day with pairing people up (If they didn’t have anyone, but this turned out well and I don’t think anyone was left out at all) and also wanted to remind people of the themes however since it wasn’t an insanely large crowd, I think that this did work well still, but yeah that’s what I’d change if I did it again.
More preparation! Saying all that though, it still turned out fantastic and by god, you lot are a creative bunch. Makes me proud to have come from ‘the flash roots’ no matter where technology is taking people to now, people are so bloody creative and no matter what platform people move to, it’s going to shine in whatever they do I think! *Tips off hat* Oh also, if you want to download one, thanks to the developers, click a picture and you’ll grab it!
Rob Donkin & John Donkin
Mr Monocles Exquisite Hats
This game is mad! Basically the objective is to get your rather gentlemanly bloke to his hat. He always seems to have lost it and for some reason it’s floating. HE’S A FUTURE GENTLEMAN WITH A LEVITATING HAT?! But to get this hat, you’re given a limited number of objects to drop (Candy canes, Donuts etc) and make a bridge out of them and climb up it to collect the hat. Definitely an awesome game and these guys didn’t even put in a full day as they had to leave early, so imagine what’d be done if they threw in a full day?
Chris Jeffrey, James Pearmain, Jay Armstrong & Ruud van Boerdonk
To be honest, I don’t even know what to say about our team. It was just dragged up from the bowels of randomness to be honest, but it worked! So I actually didn’t have a laptop so I took the producer role (I did alright if I dare say so myself, I mean, Jellyfish Lover speaks for itself!) Also EA, I will not sell my soul to you, stop sending me emails trying to poach me, I don’t want to work for you, I’m better than that! Jellyfish Lover is ours! So yeah, I took producer role due to not having a laptop so that left Jimp to doodle some doodles and Jay to thrown some down code like a boss, thus making the Super Indie Pals, right?! WRONG! We had Ruud from Paralogic on board with us too as yet another producer. Christ, we turned a game jam in to some AAA studio with a hierarchy like the Illuminati. Jellyfish Lover is a multiplayer game that makes no sense really. The end. Okay, so basically you’re a bunch of birds battling it out to collect fish under the water and bring them back to the bird/jellyfish/thing to rack up points! It get’s a bit chaotic as it’s all on one keyboard and most keyboards don’t support that much input so buttons stop working haha, great fun!
Everything I’ve said about completely mental and chaotic gameplay is now thrown out the window. Danny is another one who didn’t even do a full day at the game jam due to other commitments and ending up knocking out this! I’ve never laughed so much whilst playing a fighting game! 😐 So this is a fighting game as I already stated and you chose between a polar bear & a scorpion. It’s a 2 player game and I was awesome with the polar bears super fast kicking move until I got owned by the scorpions range by Jay and the rest is history! This game is completely barmy and it’s exactly why I love the community surrounding flash as this is the type of stuff you’d see on Newgrounds back in the day! A MS-paint job of cutting up some stuff, trace some bitmaps, job done! Love it!
Scoff the Toff You’re just a little troll under a bridge, minding your own business whilst ‘toffs’ throw their discarded China tea cups and pipes at you. As any troll, you take it on the chin for a fair time, but there comes a time where you have to flip out and show them you’re not a troll that can just be walked all over. I mean, now you’re got a pretty bad ass collection of pipes and china too, so apart from cleaning your collection the only thing you can do is EAT THEM ALL! You’ve also got pretty stretchy arms too, I think it could be Dhalsim from Street fighter. Could this be the real Dhalsim?! He’s a troll!
Robin Baumgarten, Petri Autio, Liyi Zhang, Tom Williams
Bridge Brolly Brawl I’m going to start off this with saying this has to made in to a full version. So starting on that note, it’s fair to say I loved this game as only actually saw it at the end of the day! These chaps (apart from us) were the ones left at the end of the day and even requested more time, and it shines with their game, I had so much fun with it Basically it’s a multiplayer game based around a bunch of gentleman on a bridge, with umbrellas. You have to survive and bounce rain drops at your opponent. Warning, this game gets insanely competitive very quick and you could probably lose friends with it! This was the only Unity game to my knowledge too (One that was sent to me) so props to that as I’m really interested in Unity actually.
Bridge Brolly Brawl
TwittersRobin BaumgartenPetri AutioLiyi Zhang Tom Williams – I wasn’t given a twitter for Tom. TOM! Why don’t you have a twitter? This makes me sad. If you made a game but didn’t get the email asking to see it. You should still send it over to me using the contacts at the end of the article. I want to see more that was made from the day as I know there was!
I know you want them presentations. Right?
A Postmortem of Epic Battle Fantasy 4 by Matt Roszak from mochimedia
Icycle: On Thin Ice, A Postmortem by Reece Millidge from mochimedia
What’s New at Mochi! (2013 Edition) by Colin Cupp & Chris Jankos from mochimedia
Super Indie Panel from Super Indie Pals
So since this was a panel, we don’t have slides for this and we didn’t record so we don’t have anything from the day BUT we dedicated a whole Super Indie Pals episode to Mochi London which you can listen to below!
Coding without class from Danny Parker (NinjaKiwi)
Use right click/play to change slides.
The Indie Advantage from Tony Lavelle
Left click to change slides.
Do you have footage!?
I don’t even know why I put this here. Sadly, we didn’t record anything. It’s a bit of a nightmare to get decent quality footage of the event and it’s something we would love to do, just haven’t really.
Time to sum things up!
In short, this year was absolutely unreal! After speaking with attendees, people came away from the event with so much and definitely this is the best year yet! I’d like to say thanks to Ernesto & Colin for helping put the event together and also to Kongregate for sponsoring the event. But the biggest thanks to Mochi as a whole for making this all happen too. This year I met a load of cool people I’ve only spoke to over the internet and got to hang out with good friends again. It’s one of the things I’ll always say about the community, so many friendly and insanely intelligent people, you just don’t get it elsewhere! Anything you’d like to say about the event please let me know! Certain talks you like, what you’d like to see or even anything you weren’t really keen on! Throw them in your nearest bin, and by magic I’ll get them! No seriously, either throw me an email through http://chris-jeff.com/contact/ or @ChrisJeffGames on twitter!