Wave Panic

This year, we participated on the epic Global Game Jam. I believe this is the biggest game jam in the world. Let’s talk about numbers: more than 36,000 participants in 702 sites across 95 countries, over 7,000 games created.

Like every year, all people should stick to the jam’s theme: waves.

Yeah, waves. However you want to interpret it. This means, it could be waves on the beach, water waves, sound waves, sin/cos graphs… or the typical mexican wave:

So, it began…

The image above is one of the early paper designs. It’s funny because it looks pretty close to the final result.

This is an early to-do list. All the game’s concept was too abstract. We needed to land all the ideas into detailed descriptions, models, diagrams. We divided the work: Vincent was creating the character’s models meanwhile I was developing a proof of concept of the game idea.

It’s hard to code without any direction, so I like to draw class diagrams. It doesn’t matter if the game is simple, it helps me to have a better idea of what I’m doing, it also improves my memorization. Did I mention I have fish memory span?

The next pic is a last minute to-do list. We had a harsh time looking for sounds & music. Vincent is an 3D artist, I’m a coder, our team didn’t have any musical talent. The bunch of numbers in the bottom part are my calculations, we added eye tracker device compatibility.

At the end, we came up with this videogame:

More information about this game is available here.

Visit our Global Game Jam entry to download this game.

If you want to know more about Vincent’s work visit his facebook profile, he has a lot of cool models made.

Playing with Tobii EyeX

One of the perks of being a GGJ organizer is that, sometimes, sponsors provide cool tech toys to your jam site. One of this year’s sponsors (Tobii) sent us a Tobii EyeX to play with… for free.

How cool is this? I meant, they give you a brand new piece of tech to mess with, for free, no hidden points, no scams. We received the gadget in our homes because they are cool.

Tobii Eye X is an Eye Tracker. You are able to integrate a new input to your applications. Not the mouse, this is obsolete; nor the keyboard, the primitive bunch of legos. You can track what your users/players are seeing in any moment. Woot!?

The best of this, is that SDK is pretty easy to use. They provide you several integrations, so if you are using any modern game development framework (Unity or Unreal) you are covered. They also provide .NET and C/C++ libraries, just in case you want to build something bigger… or custom.

New gaming laptops nowadays are integrating this technology (Alienware, MSI, Acer), as well gaming monitors (Acer). For whom already has its gaming gear bought, there’s another option: get your Tobii device for a low price (around 120 usd per unit).

From a developer point of view, and as I said before, their SDK is easy to use. I tried with the Unity integration. The input is read as another mouse, with a sightly difference: a mouse’s position is a Vector3, Tobii’s Vector2. Nothing harsh.

And that’s all. In less than an hour (considering I had to read the script reference) I managed to create this demo for jammers from my local site:

Please note that the wandering spotlight is following my gaze.

I’m developing more videogames with Tobii integration in the future for sure.