Jams Jams and More Gameboy Jams

So, October has been a pretty intense month for game jamming, with two jams co-inciding with each other at the very start of the month the amazing GamesForBetter Jam hosted by the lovely SoGoodStudios and Sizeable Games, handily encompassed by GBJAM5 where developers make a game based around the general theme of the Gameboy. But, let talk about the Games For better Jam first, it was pretty eventful after all!Things started off in a fairly compromising fashion when I realised that I had packed literally everything I would need with the exception of a power cable for my laptop. Big mistake and thanks again to the lovely Jupiter Hadley for sorting me out with that one, you’re awesome!Our group constisted of 2 coders and 1 artist. What with both our coding skills coming from very different approaches I made the odd call to make a live demake of the PC game programmed by Tom who did a great job turning code and gameplay around with amazing speed onto the gameboy.

A fairly tall order for two days but I figured it would be pretty cool and unique way to tie things in for the GBJAM that was also running at the same time.

I was unable to get any code underway until ~midday on Saturday but we were able to get a really solid concept going of essentially a bullet hell shoot-em-up where you have two weapons, one is a standard peashooter, not too great but does the job, the other being a wider, more destructive shot from a slowly replenishing ammo source, which when fired can destroy bullets and most enemies. The trick being that using this too much will make more enemies indestructable, linking the game into the theme of anti-biotic resistance.

With time running out on the 2 days worth of Jam time, we had a really playable version on the PC with 10 seperate levels culminating in a boss fight which played really well but was a struggle to capture any real footage for oddly. The gameboy version lagged behind but had 10 very similar but slightly different levels and a few bugs.

It was a great Jam and the first time I’ve worked as part of a team in one of these events, it was great fun and whilst we didn’t get picked to be played at the event, I felt the game would be worth continuing development on for the rest of GBJAM5.

So, a trip back home from Plymouth, catching up on some sleep and a few play-throughs later, I’d decided what I wanted to add to the game.

  • Bosses
  • Bug-fixes
  • Pausing
  • Gratuitous Sampled Sounds
  • A pre-title screen to show off said sampled sounds as a little easter-egg.

Now being back in a home environment meant that coding time was more scarce as there are many other factors at play, not least the trips to work, awesome family times and the joys of housework. Late night is really the only option for coding @ home 😉

I had managed to write a tool in PHP in previous weeks to convert an 8-bit 8,000Hz RAW wave file into 4-bit, 4,000Hz but hadn’t really played around much with it, aside from verify that it worked. So, it really needed to be in the game in some form. Making a talking intro screen game boy announce “Game” “Boy” “Jam” “5” seemed a cool idea and fit in quite nicely with some more advanced bankswitching for me. It worked pretty well as a little novelty before the main game and I’ll work on making this play nicer (without game pauses) at some point.

Bosses were fun to play around with and got tougher as the levels progress. They use fairly simple movement patterns but fire a viscious amount of bullets on screen, some later bosses are supported with standard enemies to up the difficulty some more and all squeezed into the main ROM bank with space to spare.

There were some minor bugs with the GamesForBetter version but this was mostly just the score not resetting on replay and a couple of sound bugs due to me not resetting registers at the right point in the game loop at times.