GGJ Archives 2009-2012

Grow Up! - developing an art game at FGJ Tampere


Blogging straight from the heart of rapid game development here in Tampere, Finland. It's bit over noon, and things are starting to speed up after a groggy morning. Prototypes all around us seem to be coming together slowly but surely. There are several cool projects being made here, but this blog post is about our game, Grow Up!

Grow Up! is about a seedling buried deep in the earth, and it needs to reach the surface. The player doesn't actually control the seedling, but the earth surrounding it, tilting it left and right to allow the seedling to grow unobstructed, for the earth is filled with rocks that slow down the seedling journey towards the surface. The seedling can also be directed towards small water droplets, which give a temporary power boost, allowing for faster travel and even breaking through the rocks!

We've decided to make our game an art game, and like all the art games, our game has a deeper level of meaning. The pun in the name reflects also the deeper theme of our game. The game is about growing. The growth and the journey of the plant is a metaphor for our own growth from childhood to adulthood. The game also has an environmental theme (surprise!), and we want to capture the beauty and magic of nature. With our abstract and slightly psychedelic art style and evocative music together with our very simple game mechanics, we're hoping to make the game experience meditative, magical, and even hypnotic.

On the list of features we're hoping to implement is an option to accommodate two ways of playing the game: explorative and rushing. Explorative players can go the slow way, enjoying the music, the mood and the almost zen-like growth, while the more impatient can just collect all the water boosts to burst your way through the earth as fast as possible (you can draw your own conclusions on what that represents).

But this game would never be made without the hard-working team behind it, so let me briefly introduce them. Yours truly is the producer in this project. I'm also the marketing department, assistant and occassional runner-to-the-store.

Timo, our audio man, is working on some ambient mood-setting music and organic sound effects. The sound of the plant growing through the earth is pretty damn nifty. Headphones definitely recommended when playing this game!

We also have a couple of talented members from Kuuasema Game Development Studio (http://www.kuuasema.com/). Kosti, our programmer, is working hard to get our prototype up and running. Olli making our awesome, psychedelic art. You can see his work in the two mood pieces attached to this entry, so take a look. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I think these two pictures (though just mood pieces) reflect the nature of our game well.

We're also still awaiting our mysterious fifth team member, Ari, who's supposed to arrive today. No one is sure when, but we're eagerly awaiting to get some more manpower for this project.

We'll be posting some more blog entries later today and tomorrow, so stay tuned! And good luck to all of you fellow game jammers around the world!

Signing off (for now),
Eevi (aka silliet)

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