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The Game Jam That Wouldn’t Die

HECKPOINT began as a game jam, a question. “Wanna see if we can remake an old game in a week? Keep it super simple.”

So we did. We took an old concept, chose an old color palette and made a little world from scratch. This of course was after a long trial run of our first attempt at a platformer game. We kept breaking it. It was pretty frustrating. So, we dialed back and decided to start very simple.

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A week later, we wondered where we could take the idea. Utilizing an engine called Clickteam Fusion, we tried all kinds of stuff in the beginning, . We proceeded to break that engine. Like a lot. A whole bunch. I think I even cried once. We kept pushing the system til we had to stop and change course constantly. We couldn’t stay small for whatever reason. And as disheartening as constant failure can be, some things worked really well in it.


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We were driving around killing bad guys in stealth mode and shooting little pixel lasers. We could even fly a little jet around. It was pretty cool to make, but we all knew something was missing. Then we wondered – Can we destroy the environment? Because that’s what people do.

 

Yeah, now we’re on to something. But we hit a wall. We couldn’t prevent massive frame rate issues. Were we pushing the CTF engine too hard? We didn’t know. We tried and tried and finally it seemed all was lost.

 

Super frustrating.  Hundreds of animations destined for a pixel art purgatory. So we called in reinforcements and switched to Unity. Things began to pick up pretty quickly. We could blow the hell out of the world. We could do pretty much anything now. We still broke stuff but we kept getting better. Then we wondered if we could push the art to a new direction. We did a massive overhaul. Our little 16×16 spaceman went up a notch to 16×32. Something I’d been wanting to do for some time. I love more anatomically correct sprites. Probably from years of drawing sketches and comic book style stuff.  So I took a stab at it.

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Getting closer.

 

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Closer.

 

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Almost got it.

The enemies started taking on new life, too.

We kicked into high gear. If we can destroy the ground and fly around randomly generated levels now, what else could we do? Add in abilities? A shop? How would it work?

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The game evolved daily. We suffered our day jobs (night jobs really) to run home and work on the thing. There was always the constant question of what the game was or what it could be. We were in agreement we wanted something fun, fast, and crazy. Something with that old arcade brutality mixed with a bit of rogue lite and character customization.

We developed skills and passives and combat systems and weapon upgrades and it just kept growing. Make the enemies drop strange matter that’s worth cash. Make their bodies explode like crazy. More lazers. More explosions. More targets. Make different modes. Add in new characters –

Then some old friends you used to be in band with, guys with killer skills in music, started putting tunes to the thing.

It’s almost been a year at this point. We started talking about releasing the game and getting feedback. We’ve got so much we want to add on top of 70 perks  –  couch co-op, boss battles, more character customization, level up systems, different play modes and vs modes and more specials and and and… 

Okay, let’s get it ready. Let’s see what people think. Let’s see if we can grow this thing. Polish the hell out of it and see if any one is interested in helping us make this thing into a beast. Let’s go crazy.

So we did. So we are. JOHN CENA THEME SONG. We hope you guys enjoy this thing. I feel like we’re just getting started.

Check out the trailer!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fua3Yxb1ViQ

2 thoughts on “The Game Jam That Wouldn’t Die”

  1. Pingback: HECKPOINT

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