VV Game Jam: Fear the Whale!

The VV Game Jam was this Saturday!! We had 14 hours (soft deadline) to make a game. The theme was Upside-down.

Our team was my usual game jam team (Issam, Chad, Suresh), plus Tim Tillotson. We used Unity.

Knowing that we would be demoing the game in one of the meeting rooms that was recently updated with a giant flatscreen monitor, Suresh had an idea about having a game with components which ran on the monitor as well as our iphones/ipads. We brainstormed a number of ideas around this concept - a Star Trek concept (yes, another one) where different devices displayed different information (navigation, weapons, etc), a sort of AR scavenger hunt (using the Virtual VV I created a few months ago) where the leader (monitor) would send people through the office to neutralize ghosts or something using the phone's GPS to update his map.

We decided that it would be best to pursue a pretty standard, proven-out style of gameplay so that we could focus on the technical side of making the devices all work together - so we went with a 3 vs. 1 shooting game. For the subject matter we resurrected an old idea about whaling: the concept being that whales are actually trying to destroy the world, so the Japanese are justified in whaling (I had made a particularly distasteful joke after watching The Cove).

The gameplay is 3 fishermen vs. 1 whale. As a fisherman, you flip your device upside-down to sent out a radar signal to find the whale. (Where the theme comes into play)

The rest of the description is taken from Suresh's VV blog Post: 

We created a single project that would run on all devices and the PC. When you load the game, you choose what you are, the TV, a fisherman, or the whale. The TV is the host, while the fisherman and whale are clients. Tim set up a matchmaking server, so technically they all connect to a game specified by name. Thanks to Unity we were able to deploy the same game to an iPhone 3GS, iPad1/2 and an Android Tablet without too much trouble, there were of course rendering discrepancies and performance problems on certain devices, but everything just seemed to work across the board!

The TV:

On the TV we show an overview of the ocean. We draw all the fisherman boats but not the whale. The idea is that the Fisherman have to hunt for the whale. They have the ability to send out a sonar ping, which will send a message to the TV to send a sonar signal from their current location. If a whale is in the nearby vicinity, the Whale’s last location will appear as a red blip.

The Fishermen

The Fisherman get a 3rd person view of their boat and their surroundings. We tried to make the view more occluded, by adding in fog, but we had trouble making it work on the mobile devices as well as it did on PC, so unfortunately you could see the whale from pretty far away. The Fisherman can move with the motion controls, tap to shoot projectiles, or turn the device upside down to send out the sonar ping.

The Whale

The Whale gets a top down view similar to the TV but zoomed in. The Whale can move and shoot like the Fisherman, but they have slightly more responsive motion controls. They also do more damage to the Fishermen than the Fishermen do to the Whale.


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