Every year Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) organize the unofficial Norwegian championship in gameplay. This is the second year Process enters. Last year we made it to the final, while this year, we made it to the top, and won. More importantly, we have created some fun projects and learned a lot about how we work together as team and how to make the most each other’s strengths.
With this blog post we want to share our experience and what we learnt with you. If there is anything you want to know more about, feel free to ask, and we will do out best to answer.
Creating the idea
With only nine days to create a game, the time you have is precious. This leads to one important question:
- Is it time for a good brainstorming session?
No, it is not. And the more time you spend on it, the less time you will have to execute the idea. However, you still need to make time to go through your ideas. In order to have an efficient brainstorming session we created some rules for ourselves.
- The game must be easy to understand, so that judges and other players don’t need any explaining before playing.
- The game should look good on the main screen, if we get to the finals.
- The game must be fun for us to make and fun to play.
- We will maximum use two days at the brainstorming.
With the rules in place we created boundaries for the brainstorming. This helps a lot because you narrow down the lanes you can go, and you can focus more on what is important. Anything that did not fit into the rules we created was immediately dismissed.
At the end of the second day, we had three different ideas we all liked. To figure out the best idea we discussed each one of them and their pros and cons. How they connected with the theme and how we felt about the game idea ourselves.
Executing the idea
Once we felt happy and confident with the idea, we started the next phase – to execute the idea. During this phase it is all about getting a game up and running as fast possible, so we can test the gameplay and get a feel for it. We do this by splitting up the group, and let people focus on their areas of expertise.
After 2 days, we had a running prototype with all the basic mechanics and three levels. The fact that we enjoyed it when we played, made us feel confident about our idea. Nevertheless, you cannot always trust yourself has a designer, so we asked these questions:
- Is it is only us that enjoy the game
- What if players that have not played it before does not understand the concept?
- Are the controls intuitive enough?
To answer those questions we invited a small test group to the office to play the game. After the session made us confident in our idea. The test group enjoyed the game, and we did not have to explain it to them beforehand. With reinforced confidence, our motivation was high, and we started on finishing the prototype.
Developing the concept and the theme
During the brainstorming session, we did not thoroughly discuss the details of the game concept. Therefore, we had a brainstorming session with the focus of outlining the game environment. We asked ourselves the following questions:
- How can we create rivalry between the “allies”?
- Can we make it stand out visually, and be visually cohesive?
After a short session, we ended up with the idea of the good old James Bond fighting super villains, with big secret bases around the world. With a old school 60s theme-feel we also had tons of good inspiration for high tech devices that were distinctive visually. By making the “allies” different agents from different secret agencies, we could make a natural rivalry between them. They are all after the one super villain, but each agency wants the credit for taking him down.
With the theme ready, Lars could begin working on the music for the game. We decided to post the soundtrack on soundcloud so you can enjoy it.
We won the competition, and of course that makes us very happy! However, even if we had not won we would have been happy with the result. For us, the main goal is to work out methods to create games that are both enjoyable for the players and for us as well.
We would like to thank NFI for hosting this event. In addition, we would like thank everyone that showed up, both audience and developers. We saw a lot of cool stuff there this year, and we hope to see you next year!
Below you can see some screenshots from the game.