最近我们参加了Indie Speed Run，即The Escapist成员所创造的新游戏制作平台。而如果接触过其它著名的游戏制作平台（如asLudum Dare或Global Game Jam）的人便会对Indie Speed Run非常熟悉——这一平台提供给开发者一个48小时窗口，让他们能够基于随机生成的主题（和元素）而开发游戏。
Indie Speed Run在传统的游戏制作平台基础上又添加了一些独特元素。在众多游戏制作平台中我们之所以选择这一平台有以下几大原因：
除此之外，Indie Speed Run需要开发者交付25美元的报名费，并有可能中途关闭一些团队的开发窗口，这一规则让我们觉得整个过程更有质感。因为需要花钱才能进入，所以出现在这一平台上的都是真正的开发者。
此外，我们也喜欢横向卷轴视角。因为在这个游戏制作平台上我们可以使用自己的工具，所以我们自然不会放过这一机会。我们最强大的一个工具便是Doll Animation Tool，让我们能够便宜且有效地创造出2d精灵。如果了解著名的Kickstarter投资项目Spriter的人便会知道这个工具。
作为一家年轻的独立公司，我们需要学会如何合理利用时间。如果我们不能肯定这款游戏足以偿还支出，我们也就不会参加Indie Speed Run的开发项目了。正是带着这种想法，我们一开始在设计《Asylum Night》时便明确了手机友好型特性，从而让我们能够将其添加到自己的HTML5游戏组合中。如果你拥有一台Android或iOS设备，那就在浏览器上玩《Asylum Night》吧！你将会感叹其惊人的运行速度！
除此之外，设计手机游戏能够让我们通过使用Ludei’s CocoonJS平台而更轻松地面向Android和iOS发行游戏，所以下次当你再看到《Asylum Night》时，它便有可能是出现在App Store或Google Play中。
Asylum Night: making a tower defense game in 48 hours
by Matt Hackett
We recently participated in Indie Speed Run, a new game jam apparently started by some members of The Escapist. Those who have already been exposed to other popular game jams such asLudum Dare or Global Game Jam may find Indie Speed Run very familiar – developers have a 48-hour window in which to develop a game based on a randomly generated theme (and in this case, element).
Indie Speed Run offered some unique additions to the typical game jam format. Of all the game jams out there, we chose to participate in this one for the following reasons:
Well respected group of judges helped legitimize the contest (also, who wouldn’t love for Notch or Yahtzee to play their games?).
Ability to use your own tools without having to open source them.
Developers choose the 48-hour window that works for them.
Additionally, Indie Speed Run had a $25 entry fee which, while it probably turned off a few teams, surprisingly made us feel better about the whole process. It’s a small amount of money that acted as a barrier to entry, meaning that only dedicated developers would participate.
Our game: Asylum Night
Our randomly-generated theme and element were telepathy and booby-traps, respectively. We looked each up on Wikipedia and dictionaries to ensure that our understanding was correct (and to help give us ideas). One common trait of telepathy is that it can be used to move objects, which plays well with the booby-traps element. So we wanted to make a game where booby-traps could either be set or disabled by using one’s mind.
Though we were obviously on a tight deadline, we knew that allocating several hours for game design would pay off in the end. So we rapidly discussed and threw out several concepts for various games. Pretty early on we settled on a mental hospital for the skin (graphics) of the game. Asylum Night could have been about a telepathic person in a castle or on the moon, but with the telepathy theme it seemed appropriate for the game to exist in a place dedicated to the mind.
We liked the idea of a player trying to navigate through a maze riddled with booby-traps, disarming them with telepathic abilities. But we know from experience that mazes need to be relatively deep and large to be compelling, which meant a scrolling tilemap and time we didn’t have dedicated to content generation. A game where all the action took place on a single screen seemed doable, and we wanted something that simple so we’d have plenty of time to polish it up.
Additionally, we preferred a side-scrolling perspective. Since we were allowed to use our internal tools in this game jam, we wanted to use them! One of our more powerful tools, the Doll Animation Tool, allows us to animate 2d sprites cheaply and effectively. For those familiar with the popular Kickstarter project Spriter, it’s a very similar tool.
After several ideas that didn’t pan out, we settled on a tower defense game. Players would control a telepath kept in an insane asylum operated by murderous doctors. Using their telepathic powers, they could knock out doctors directly or set booby-traps to help protect them. The first day, Geoff banged out the game’s model, I began working on art concepts, and Joshua Morse started composing music.
Geoff did a fantastic job with the game model. On the second night, I was playing through the game and it had a drastic difficulty spike. We wanted the game to be about surviving a week in an insane asylum, but on the fourth day the game became impossibly hard. Doctors would inevitably overrun the player and there was nothing, mathematically, that the player could do about it.
But on the second night, Geoff committed a major update to the model. After three more sessions, I was able to beat the game – but just barely! This demonstrated the game’s depth and learning curve. I think it’s a game now that’s impossible to beat on the first (or second!) play, but can be mastered with practice and learning. This is all Geoff’s doing and I think it turned out great.
Joshua Morse also did a terrific job with the audio. The funky title screen can really get you into the groove! Joshua also took extra care to note when sounds would be repetitive and took steps to make them pleasing when they could easily have been irritating. You may notice while playing: sounds that happen often such as the use of basic abilities or doctors dying cycle through a handful of slightly different sounds. This means that if you kill three doctors in a row, you’ll hear three distinct sounds, which I think makes the game much more enjoyable.
We’re really pleased with how Asylum Night came out, but it took more out of us than we expected. The second night, Geoff and I were both on 4-5 hours of sleep, which bled into the next day. So though we only planned for a 48-hour window, it ended up costing us 3-4 days of lost productivity on other projects. We could have avoided this by scoping the game down even more, or by cutting unnecessary polish.
On the plus side, I think we were able to deliver a very playable game in the allotted time. We also learned a lot in the process, such as when (and where) to cut corners to increase productivity, and the great feeling of motivation that comes from shipping immediately. This was the first 48-hour game jam for all three of us, and it was a wonderful experience. If you’ve been thinking about participating in a game jam but never have, consider this a gentle nudge!
What’s next for Asylum Night?
As a young independent company, we need to be frugal with regards to how we spend our time. We literally wouldn’t have been able to afford to dedicate a couple of days to Indie Speed Run if we didn’t think we could use the game to help pay our bills. With that in mind, we designed Asylum Night from the ground up to be mobile-friendly so that we could add it to our growing portfolio of HTML5 portal games. If you’ve got an Android or iOS device, play Asylum Night in the browser – it runs surprisingly well!
Additionally, designing for mobile will make it easy for us to launch the game natively on Android and iOS using Ludei’s CocoonJS platform, so the next time you see Asylum Night, hopefully it will be in the App Store and Google Play.(source:gamasutra)