Crytek entered four teams into this year’s Global Game Jam. Check out game two, Escape Home, and find out about the game jam experience in our interview with the team who made it.
CRYENGINE was proud to sponsor Global Game Jam once again, and staff at our HQ in Frankfurt joined in the event where developers form teams to create a game in just a weekend. The theme for the game jam was “What home means to you,” and you can try Escape Home, a game where you play as a blind teenager, below.
Check out the thoughts from the team in our interview with Junior Software Engineers for CRYENGINE Florian Hoeschel and Joshua Nuttall, QA Tester Aurel Pop, and Amy Ellis who joined the game jam as a friend of the Crytek crew in Frankfurt.
Hey everyone. What did each of you do on the team?
Aurel: I was responsible for the level design. And I constantly reminded everyone not to over-scope!
Joshua: I acted as a programmer for the project.
Florian: I was a programmer for the project and the project lead, although the latter was only on paper!
Amy: I produced the in-game assets.
How did you come up with the concept for Escape Home?
Joshua: We began with a brainstorm to kick things off.
Florian: We started throwing buzzwords around which described what home meant to everyone in the team. From there we narrowed it down to a core selection of points that we wanted to have in our game. And during the game jam, it evolved more and more into the idea of a teenager that wants to get out of their house.
Aurel: At first it was about growing up and taking responsibility. We wanted to expose this through three different mechanics: puzzle (infant), stealth (teenager), and combat (adult). Eventually, we chose only one mechanic, stealth, because of the limited time. With this, our message also changed to the concept of escaping home. Then someone came up with the idea to implement bat sonar as a mechanic, and we instantly liked it!
What advice do you have about creating a game in such a short time?
Amy: Once you have an idea, identify the key parts that need to get done and assign each member of the team a job. Using a project management tool like Trello can help make sure everyone is on track.
Aurel: Prototype the basic mechanic of the game early on. Keep it simple, focus on one feature and make that good.
Florian: Start simple and build it from there as everyone has a different starting point in terms of experience, knowledge, and skills. See what gameplay mechanics can be prototyped quickly and build one after another. It will grow naturally, and you’ll find any gameplay issues more quickly.
Joshua: From the very beginning, keep the scope small. I would also recommend setting several small milestones such as creating a moving player, which will help keep everyone motivated.
What features in CRYENGINE helped you make the game so quickly?
Florian: From the start, we knew that we wanted to use the C# API to create our game. We wanted to show how easy it is to dive in and prototype a new game. As a tip for other devs who want to use C#, I’d say just play around with it, and you’ll find a way to solve any problems. C# looks like it might be limited compared to C++, but it’s much more powerful than you might think. Especially for quick prototyping!
Joshua: C# helped us to build and iterate faster. I’d also highly recommend exposing variables to Sandbox where possible as it allows you to easily tweak features without compiling code.
Amy: CRYENGINE Maya tools, the Designer Tool. If you’re new and you get stuck, use the online CRYENGINE documentation which is simple to use.
What was the best part of your global game jam dev experience?
Aurel: For me, it was brainstorming and coming up with a vision together. I also learned a lot about CRYENGINE from the other members of the team.
Florian: Seeing it all come together. Everyone worked really hard and gave everything to create assets and systems to bring it all together. It’s such a satisfying feeling when the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Joshua: Getting to work with new people and achieving some awesome work.
Amy: I really enjoyed seeing people enjoy other people’s work.
What did you find most challenging about the event?
Amy: Coming up with the initial idea!
Florian: I think the most challenging part was to find the correct scope for the game that we had in mind. 48 hours seems like a lot of time, but those hours fly by like they are nothing. We had to descope the game a couple of times during the game jam.
Aurel: Transforming the idea into a game. In the end, it’s always something a bit different from what you imagined!
Joshua: Coming up with a design that wasn’t overly ambitious for the limited time available.
What would you have done differently?
Aurel: I can QA games, but I’m quite new to using the engine to create them. So I’d recommend completing the CRYENGINE tutorials before your game jam starts. Also, spend more time prototyping rather than planning so you can progress quickly.
Florian: Not much. I think we could have improved by finding a proper scope more quickly. But that will come over time with more experience, as this won’t be the last game jam that we will take part in!
Joshua: We could have spent more time getting the product finished rather than perfecting smaller details like effects.
Amy: I think we could have finished earlier so we would have had more time to solve bugs and resolve any issues.
Full Credits for Escape Home:
Florian Hoeschel, Junior Software Engineer for CRYENGINE
Joshua Nuttall, Junior Software Engineer for CRYENGINE
Aurel Pop, QA Tester
We’ll be looking at another two of the four entries in this year’s Global Game Jam soon and, in case you missed it, you can already check out Homebound from our very own Team Tower. We’ll also be looking to make all the other Crytek entries available on CRYENGINE Marketplace in future so you can check them out in the engine. We look forward to your feedback in the comments, on the forum, and via Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to join the community and CRYENGINE staff members over on Discord.
- Your CRYENGINE Team