GGJ 2010: The Most Heartbreaking Laughter

My Team, EL MATADORS: Cole, me, Mike, Nazer, and Matt. You can't tell, but we are each holding little Mariachi band figures that decorate our workspace this weekend.

My Team, EL MATADORS: Cole, me, Mike, Nazer, and Matt. You can’t tell, but we are each holding little Mariachi band figures that decorate our workspace this weekend.

Global Game Jam 2010 Post #2:
It is 12:30am again. Day two of the 2010 Global Game Jam is in the bag. I planned to post an update in the afternoon, but there was not a second to spare all day. We sprinted through 15 hours of development today, and found ourselves in all three of what I am told are the classic Day-Two moments: a serious talk in the afternoon about what features can be kept and what needs to be discarded for the sake of completing the project, a major technical crisis where the tools broke in the face of our ambition, and reaching a place where the most frustrating and incomprehensible bugs brought laughter instead of tears, where the relief of having gotten this far, and the pleasure in doing this together, won over whether or not the thing we want to call a game ever becomes what we hoped.

And we were not the only ones. I overheard other teams talking about what they could cut and heard heart-rending stories of programmers losing their entire work so far due to a computer error of some sort (even in a 3-day project–or especially in a 3-day project!– a version-safe system is critical). And slap-happy giggles filled the corridors between the MIT Gambit labs in the last hours, developers enjoying after a long day the many interesting ways their games managed to break.

So how is “The Last Bullfight” coming along, you ask? Thanks to the art direction of our good friend Pablo P, in-game art and animation are pretty much complete (at least, sufficiently to show all of the features we planned). The sound work is in good shape, including a powerful song composed by our designer. The code features that have been completed are successfully producing an atmosphere, a sense of perspective and place, and we are happy about that so far. While the back-end code of the basic kill-or-be-killed game play is in, there is no real feedback yet to the player on which is occurring, which we understand is the difference between having a game and having a weird little interactive movie. We hope to have a game tomorrow.

One day left. See you on the other side,
Jason