We love games dev!
We love learning about game dev so for the first term of this academic year we held a variety of events aimed at improving our game development skills, including a level design workshop, weekly challenges, art kit based game jams, and even a game night with lots of playtesting of GDS original games.
Our introductory event this year was a Level Design Workshop. We learned about the 4-step strategy of level design pioneered by Nintendo with the Super Mario franchise. After that, members split into teams and each team was tasked with designing a level using an online Mario Maker-like game editor with a very limited set of tools. We had a lot of fun playing the creative levels that each team had designed.
Throughout the term, we held weekly challenges. In those challenges, participants were tasked with implementing some interesting game mechanic that already exists. We had challenges related to implementing Tracer's Recall ability from Overwatch, the shifting gravity of Super Mario Galaxy, the level drawing of Line Rider and others. Everyone took one week to implement the challenge, after which we got together, playtested and discussed our implementations, the tricks we used, the challenges we faced and the things we learned.
We wouldn't be the Games Development Society if we didn't hold a Game Jam! Game Jams are short competitions where participants must make a game based around some constraint. This year we decided to go with a very innovative style of game jamming – the ‘Art Kit Game Jam’. Instead of a common theme, participants had to use art assets from a provided kit in the most creative way possible. For our Fall-O-Ween Jam, we were very lucky to have one of our members create a custom Halloween themed pixel art sprite sheet specifically for the jam. Ranging from flying witches to grappling hook adventures, the games that were submitted were a lot of fun and they really pushed the limits of creativity. You can play them here: https://itch.io/jam/fall-o-ween-2020/entries.
As of writing this, we are currently holding our second 24-hour-over-the-week game jam. We have already had a mini-jam event where we got together to play some games and have fun. Now we are eagerly looking forward to seeing what games our members come up this time. By the time you read this the jam should be finished so you would be able to check out the results: https://itch.io/jam/gds-winter-game-jam-2020/entries.
There are fresh and exciting challenges and more game jams coming in the second term! Join us now on Discord at http://bit.ly/GDS_DISCORD or Facebook http://bit.ly/GDS_FB
To find out more about the Games Development Society visit their website www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/gds.
There are 42 student groups associated with the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. To learn more about their projects and activities head to www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps-societies.