30Jan2010

Gnilley

Gnilley was my solo entry for Global Game Jam 2010, put together in under 48 hours at the Powehouse Museum’s secret underground caffeine dungeon. It was originally about pitch and colour, but ended up being about screaming and colour instead. Just watch the video.

The hardest part of a jam can be settling on a single idea, so my initial approach once the theme is announced is always to think back through cool ideas I’ve had and shelved for later. Reminded by the interpretation of the jam’s theme of “snowing” (which can refer to white noise on a television screen), Gnilley originated from one of those ideas: a horizontal shmup where the player’s ship emits a beam attack in a cone which is wider the louder the player shouts, and changes colour depending on pitch. Having your beam at the correct pitch/colour would make like-tinted enemies die faster, and adjusting the beam width would allow you to concentrate fire on tough foes or spread it out for groups. I might still make it one day. Anyway, in the fifteen minutes we were given to come up with a pitch, I quickly simplified the idea to a Zelda-like thing (and even ended up using Zelda tiles thanks to the time limit) to make implementation a little more sensible given the time limit (scrolling shooters can require quite a lot of level content, unless you make them random, which always looks lame) and because I thought it would appeal to an audience better, as we’d been told there’d be some sort of presentation at the end.

The presentation went well, the video went viral for a couple of days, and Gnilley ended up being one of the most downloaded GGJ games of that year. It appeared in dozens of magazines and online news sites, and there’s like a million LP’s on youtubs. Check that out some time if you really like hearing people yell in German.

I’m hoping to finish a game-sized sequel for PC, Mac and mobile later this year.

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