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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chp 473. Game developing: Testing one’s limit

What is more tiring and exhausting than a 48 hours Hackathon contest?

A 66 hours Hackathon contest!

So last weekend, we participated in NASSCOM’s 66 hours Game Development Hackathon contest. Many reputed Indian gaming studios and individual freelancers participated as well, and in the end, 42 games were submitted!

The event started at 6:00 PM last Friday.

As soon as the competition started, we were given two lists of themes. One was the most voted list at the NASSCOM Forum, which were:
  1. Last Man on Earth
  2. Loop
  3. Keys

And the three least voted themes were:
  1. Lies
  2. Mine
  3. Synesthesia

So here’s the catch – For the competition, we were supposed to make a game using a theme from BOTH the two lists! Yes, definitely a twist and a bloody good challenge. We were supposed to take any one theme from the first list, and take any one theme from the second list, combine them and make a game around it!

And so it began…

By Saturday 2 AM, after much discussion and brainstorming (and Old Monk), looking at various concepts we laid on the table, we finally locked on the two themes for our game – “Mine” and “Last Man on Earth”.

After that we started the game concept design and level designing.

By 8 AM Saturday, we were ready with the complete concept. The design team too had zeroed in on the type of art styling we should use for this game. The coders too were busy building the first prototype.

By 6 PM Saturday, we were ready with our first alpha prototype, sans any design or animations.

As our second straight day in office came to an end, all of us we were content with the progress we had made so far. A part of me wanted to watch the Arsenal - Crystal Palace match so badly, but checking the live text updates sufficed. Some of us went to sleep on the chairs, while others continued working (though it was difficult for those trying to sleep because Rob Zombie and Judas Priest were blasting on the speakers to keep those working awake).

By Sunday afternoon, most of the basic animations and design assets were in place.

While the rest were busy coding and designing, those of us with free hands kept ourselves busy recording VO (voice over) audio files for the game. We also made a very amateur teaser video of our game, as none of us were experts on video editing. Below is an extended version of the teaser video, lemme know what you think of it? :)

Sunday afternoon went by quickly, the night came even faster, even though we couldn’t differentiate between night and day anymore, and more Old Monk and Red Bulls filled up the trash bin. We released our teaser video exactly at midnight, with 12 more hours for the deadline.

By Monday, D-Day, 9 AM, our first APK was ready.

Bugs here and there, glitches, incompatibility across some Android models, you know, the usual hell-hole when producing any game. Quickly fixed. More bugs. More fixes.

Finally, by 11:30 AM, Monday, with a good half an hour to spare before the deadline, we submitted our game!

Yes, by then most of us were stinking, smelly, tired, dazed, inebriated, extremely drowsy… but we all felt extremely good as hell because we pushed ourselves to a new limit and came out unscathed.

Our Hackathon game will be published soon on our Google Play page. The result of the Hackathon contest will be announced at the NGDC (NASSCOM Game Developers Conference) to be held at Pune on November 15. Wish us all the best! :)

Below are some of the photos that covered our “four days – three nights” escapade in office.


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