Recently I was able to take part in a two week long game jam. The longer format afforded us much more time to plan things out and make better decisions than racing to finish in 48 hours, and it made the experience much smoother and less stressful. This time the theme was “Space Cowboys,” definitely the most straightforward theme I’ve ever done a game jam for. So we started out working on a 2D platformer where your goal was to explore the interior of a space ship and collect the bounty on a specific enemy, either by shooting him or using your lasso to capture him and drag him back to your ship.
The game we finished with was a bit different, but I think it ended up becoming much more original and fun. As we got the core mechanisms working, we focused on what was fun about jumping around, lassoing enemies and dragging them around. Dragging them around the environment was the key feature that we found to be the most fun, so we changed our design to make lassoing enemies the central mechanism of our game. Long, explorable levels gave way to a very simple arena style level, and the goal of the game became to achieve a high score by shooting or lassoing as many enemies as you can within the given time limit. Parts of the level are also influenced by different gravitational forces. Certain parts of the level have reversed gravity, while others have very light gravity.
Points are awarded to the player each time he or she either shoots an enemy, or drags one to the capture area. As capturing takes longer, more points are awarded for a capture than for killing an enemy. In addition to the standard enemies, a certain enemy with a higher bounty is always present in the level. After this enemy spawns, his bounty is steadily decreased over time. Players are rewarded for finding the target enemy quickly in order to claim the highest bounty.
As it was a game jam game, there are still plenty of bugs, as well as many areas that could use refinement. Still, it can be played in its submitted state can be downloaded and played here. As I said, it has plenty of bugs, but that’s to be expected from a 2 week build. Also, I’d recommend playing with a controller if you can.
If we continue work on the game, which I plan to, I’ll update this post with updated versions.