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After Antholojam

Antholojam was a month-long, remote game jam on the theme of golden age science fiction. The resulting anthology of some dozen games – curated at the point of application by Zöe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz – is due for release in January 2015. As the jam has wound up and the bug-free games have been submitted, I thought I’d reflect upon my time as designer, writer and UI artist under my team’s collective name, Wonder Games.

An edited version of "A Planet Wakes' title screen

A thrilling tale of civil engineering

This was my first time participating in a remote game jam, having preferred to work in the same room even during Boob Jam in 2013* – my only other effort in such a format. I still harbour a strong preference for physical-location game jams, however I learned a lot from working in this fashion for a change. My overall conclusion is that A Planet Wakes ended up being a much more professionally-handled project, precisely because we had to co-ordinate our part-time efforts across national boundaries and a 6-week development period. Put simply, there a line quickly became blurred between hobbyist game jamming and the experience my team all have as contract game developers. Credit definitely needs to go to the other individuals who made up Wonder Games, namely:

Prel Mattis in "A Planet Wakes"

Prel Mattis – the player’s point of contact at as a terraforming contractor

* Coincidentally, also working with Delia. Sadly we were unable to finish Boob Jam, for reasons truly worthy of anecdote. By the time the weekend was over, a router had actually exploded.

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Utopic Notebook

In design, it is generally understood that we must learn to let ideas go. If you are to successfully prototype either one project or many, you have to learn to divorce yourself from ‘precious’ ideas, lest you start awkwardly accommodating nuggets of ideas which, in reality, simply will not work as you might hope. What I’ve found more recently is that I have to apply this philosophy to the way I generate ideas, too. I have to learn to let go of design techniques.

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Test Kit

One of the most important lessons I had reinforced when working at Playniac was the value of a good paper testing kit. Any game designer… Read More »Test Kit