Archives for : September2014

GameJam: The Start Of InkDrop Games

InkDrop Games is currently a very small group of Indie Developers with a single game currently being worked on. But that hasn’t been for very long.

During this weekend (week 37), four of us grouped to participate in a local game Jam, where we won a shared second place, out of the 22 groups who participated. And it was the outcome of it, that is now InkDrop Games. The goal of this post is to share our experience of our very first Game Jam, and to tell you about what is to come.

The Game Jam

The Game Jam is not quite a normal GameJam. All the participant were total beginners and some have never done any game development before. Because of that our theme was very broad and quite easy to follow. But everybody knows that you will properly not win, if you choose the easy way.

Some facts about the GameJam

Theme: Tell a story trough graphical elements
Time Frame: 27 hours
The winner was chosen by vote

Tools used:

  • Unity3D – As our Game Engine
  • Photoshop – For creating textures
  • Audacity – for creating sound effects
  • Visual Studio C# – for programming

The very first hours of the Game Jam.

After hearing the theme, we quickly came up with an basic idea, of what should be nearly impossible to make in the time frame of 27 hours.  Our idea was based around the game “pulse” where you have to throw a small animal to reveal the map. Even though we based the idea around the invisible map concept you won’t find many things pulse and our game has in common.

The Basic Idea

Having only 27 hours to complete a game as beginners is a narrow time frame, so we knew we had to make something simple, but still amazing. Our idea was to have the map completely white. The player then has to throw ink(color) at the map to reveal the 3D space.



The hard task of programming GamePlay

At first we wanted to use decals to spawn ink on the floor and walls, but after our programmers had used 5 hours with trial and error without going anywhere we knew that we had to find another way. Having already lost 5 hours started to think of simpler but unfortunately uglier ways to spawn the ink.

We started thinking ray-casting and got it working pretty well within 45 minutes. At that point satisfied with a working result, our programmers started working on smaller things like teleporting the player to the next level and respawning the player when he dies.

At around 3 o’clock in the morning we are no longer satisfied with the result of the Raycast method, because it looked like the ink was just spawning, rather than being thrown. Once again we are having our programmer rewriting the whole shooting script. At about half an hour later, he choose to use the OnCollisionEnter function built into Unity, to have the player throw a small sphere, and then have the sphere spawn the ink when it hits the floor and walls colliders. Once again introducing a lot of bugs (For example the sphere going trough the floor/wall, without spawning the ink. or the ink spawning on the wrong side of the floor). As it was currently 4am in the morning we choose to leave it there as the bugs where minimal and hopefully not happening to often.



Graphics needed to be simple, the game is only using 3 different colors with white and black being two of them. All the ink splatter textures where hand drawn inside of photoshop by our designer. We made 6 different ones in total, so they wouldn’t look the same when thrown in-game. Having the code randomly change between them.


This was one of the tough parts, that when finished felt quite simple. The first level in the game gives the player a fake feeling of being safe. Having to shoot ink at walls in your own tempo until you at last find the exit. But this was no quite what we wanted to do. We wanted the player to feel like they were in a hurry running from something they couldn’t see.

We ended up with using a set of white footsteps slowly following the player around. Slow enough to the player to run from it, but still fast enough to kill the player if he was to walk into a wall without noticing. Graphically speaking, the idea was to have all the white walls and the floor turn red, when the “stalker” was near, reveling his white footsteps.


Before we began we already knew, that recording our own sound effects, was not a possibility.  The rules of the Game Jam  allowed the participants to download royalty free sounds from the Internet to be used in our project. We had our designer download footstep and dripping sounds, and then edit them in audacity to fit our needs. Changing their pitch, length and fade.

Knowing the player won’t be able to see much, sounds is close to 50% of the gameplay. Listening to hear how far away the “stalker” is. Or hearing whether you died from the stalker or fell down a hole.

The last 3 hours and our worst nightmare.

Having our sounds and levels done our two designer went to sleep, leaving our programmers just about 4 hours to fix most of the nasty bugs and smoothen out gameplay. Having fixed most of the worst bugs, we were ready to compile our build and send it in just 15 minutes before the deadline. But that was not how it was going to be. Pressing the build button inside of unity, we ended up in every developers nightmare, a file corruption error, leaving us with a game that couldn’t compile.

At that point having only 10 minutes left, we nearly lost hope. We knew that the error has happened because we used Google Drive for sharing the files between us, and for some reason it corrupted some of the unity files. With around 2 minutes left, we finally found a workaround for the corrupted files. We created a blank unity project and moved all our assets, leaving behind all the corrupted once. And then compiling the game just in time for the deadline.

The good and the bad.

What went well:

  • The sound aspect of the game ended up really great
  • The AI turned out extremely well too,  and we got a lot of positive feedback.

What went bad:

  • Having a short deadline, when developing games is hard. We ran into a lot of bugs and used way more
    time on some features than we should have.
  • No sleep. When you reach the point where you haven’t slept for 24 hours, its hard to keep focus.


Continuing on from here

To this point we have got an incredible amount of positive feedback on our idea, that we have decided to take it to the next level. Currently, the four of us has grouped together to fully remake the game and release it when done. At this point our aim is to release the game before Christmas this year. The game will most likely be available DRM free, but we are hoping to be greenlighted on steam as well. During development we will continue to update this website as we progress.

We hope you will all help us finish our very first game
– The InkDrop Games Team.