Break

Side-Scrolling Puzzle Game

WINNER - SCAD Global Game Jam competition 2012

Winter 2012
Role: Programming and Technical Design

Break is a side-scrolling puzzle game produced for the Global Game Jam, 2012. It centers around a mental patient named Robert, who attempts to escape captivity along with a disembodied being of light named "Christopher." Because Robert has his arms bound in a straightjacket he must depend on Christopher to interact with objects and switches for him. However, Christopher depends on energy that must be collected by Robert. This cyclical interdependency was inspired by the theme of the Game Jam, which was simply an image of the Ourobouros symbol. Break is meant to be played with two players at the same machine: one controlling Robert via gamepad and one controlling Christopher via the mouse. The main challenge of the game is thus that of communication as the two players work together to navigate Robert to freedom. Surprisingly, many of the players who sampled our work found even these very simple puzzles very engaging.

As the programmer I was responsible for integrating my side-scrolling platformer script with mouse pointer code, while also maintaining technical direction and consistency over the project's 48-hour period. I didn't oversee the design of the game's level, but I did oversee the technical implementation of its various puzzles and features. I was personally responsible for the final puzzle, and supervised three level designers in the implementation of the others.

SCAD holds a localized competition during Global Game Jams, wherein a set of judges (mainly professors) get together and judge which project is the most complete and playable. This year, my team was the winnner, with a provision from the professors stating that we put many full 10-week studio 2 projects to shame. I was unfortunately unavailable for the group photo with the trophy, as I had to immediately board a plane after my job was done, but the group was kind enough to photoshop me (creepily) in.

Were I to re-design this game I'd drop the supernatural prison break angle and instead focused on a relationship between a secret agent and a hacker. I feel that this would provide more opportunities for interesting interactions than Break's presently nebulous (if more artistically unique) concept. In the future I may pursue a concept like this for a mobile game.