After a tumultuous delay, the TOJam registration form is currently live! What was the hold-up? Remember that scene from Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf battles the ferocious Balrog and they wrestle each other off a cliff? Well, imagine that Gandalf is TOJam organizer Jim McGinley, the Balrog is the new database system for TOJam, and i’m a really sexy elf.
Go on: imagine it.
Seriously, if you want to attend TOJam and you haven’t signed up yet, i don’t know why you’re over here reading this crummy blog. Space is limited. Go sign up now. Like, right now. i’ll wait.
Party of One
This’ll be the first TOJam that i haven’t done all by my lonesome. After creating Two By Two, Here Be Dragons, Bloat., and Heads single-handedly, i’ve finally roped someone into spending an entire weekend with me in a room full of sweaty nerds building video games. And better than that, she’s a girl. How did i do it?
i’m her legal guardian.
Behold my progeny!
This year, i’m teaming up with my five-year-old daughter Cassandra to create a game called Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, which is a magical adventure game featuring ponycorns. (At this point, i usually have to stop and explain to people what a “ponycorn” is, which dismays me … a ponycorn, clearly, is a single-horned pony – a pony/unicorn. A ponycorn. You see? Was that so difficult?)
Get some fekkin’ imagination, you freaks.
Cassie, who is a great little artist, will be drawing the game’s pictures in crayon, and i’ll be scanning them in and trying to shoehorn them into a sensible game experience. Because the handicap is so high on this one, i won’t be building the whole thing from scratch. i didn’t approach my first TOJam this way … i was determined to build Two By Two from “scratch”, starting with nothing and using Flash to build the game from the ground up.
Having proven that i can do it, over the years i’ve grown less and less dogmatic about TOJam. For last year’s game, Heads, i used UGAGS (the Untold Graphic Adventure Game System), as a sort of proof that the time and money we spent building the engine wasn’t a total waste. (It wasn’t! Heads was our very first release on the Blackberry Playbook, and we’ve gone on to use UGAGS in other projects). When i got thinking about it, even using Flash is a bit of a cheat. i didn’t write that software, and it does a lot of heavy graphics lifting for me. i also didn’t build the computer, or smelt the metals used in its creation. There’s only so much “scratch” that you can start from.
So this year, Cassie and i will be using the Citrus Engine to make our ponycorn-themed puzzle platformer game. i’m not even starting from scratch with the Citrus Engine – i’ll be re-skinning an existing game that i completed for a client. i’ll even be using some artwork that Cassie already drew months ago, because it’s adorable. (“What’s that, honey? An alien? A slug? A jelly bean?” “No – it’s you and me and Mommy.”) As is required for any weekend game jam, we’re keeping our ambitions reined way in; if we come out the other side of this thing with a title screen and one functional level, i’ll be happy.
i’ve also got Cassie slated to do some voice acting for the game, which will toally rock. Unless someone’s planning to one-up her, Cass will be the youngest developer ever to attend and work on a game at TOJam.
And i’ll be the sexiest elf in the room.