Game in…18 Hours?

Last weekend was a busy one for anyone involved in the local Utah videogame scene.  Two of the biggest technology events of the year, the PushButton Summit and the Gaming and Electronics Expo (GEEX) both took place last week.  Unfortunately, they took place at pretty much the same time.  Even though I’ve been looking forward to PushButton for over a year now, I had to skip it for GEEX.  Although there were more presentations that I wanted to see at PushButton, GEEX happens to host one of the most exciting gaming events around – their annual Game-in-a-Day competition.  As a big advocate of indie game development, I could hardly pass up an opportunity to practice what I preach.  As the name implies, participants have just 24 hours, from noon on Friday to noon on Saturday, to complete a game.  Most of the developers work in groups, but I went solo this year.

Game in a Day Sketches

The Game-in-a-Day Competition had its share of ups and downs for me this year.  On the downside, I managed to crash Flash Builder at 11:30, corrupting the entire directory and erasing all my source files (and guess who forgot to make a backup).  On the upside, however, I was able to salvage a SWF file from 6:00 in the morning to enter in the competition, which managed to win an honorable mention, despite being a fairly rough version of the game.  It was also my first attempt at making a game using Flixel, an open-source library for Flash game development.

All things considered, the game went better than I had expected.  Despite having a few problems getting used to the quirks of some of the Flixel classes (Which I’ll go into detail about on another day), I managed to implement almost all of the features that I wanted to experiment with, including a two-player splitscreen mode.  I also got plenty of encouraging comments from people who played, other developers, and even a few random industry people who were checking out the competition.  If nothing else, it was a nice ego boost, especially after losing all my code.  It also makes me wonder how my game would have done had I been able to use the full 24 hours instead of just being satisfied with the 18 hour version.  In any case, it’s now been added to my long list of unfinished games, but it has the advantage of being much more complete than my average project.  Maybe that means I’ll get around to it sooner.  For now, I’ll simply leave you with the trailer I made for the presentation.  Enjoy.

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