From February 14th to February 21st, we at Lone Pine Games tried something completely different. We joined the Brackeys 2021.1 Game Jam, made a functional game prototype start to finish in seven days, and played musical chairs with our assumed positions on the team. Our objectives going in were fairly straightforward: leverage the game jam as a team-building exercise and a palette cleanser of sorts while taking advantage of the opportunity to try our hand at skills normally outside of our comfort zones.
The decision was made early on to stick to 2D art, as that was an area of opportunity for our team. And Gainos really stepped up to the plate. Lone Pine and Swordless_Mimetown took to some 2D art as well in addition to handling the elemental game design and worldbuilding, while I stayed behind-the-scenes with programming. For me, it was an opportunity to build confidence with multiplayer and all its component parts while working with a different engine than the one that powers NewCity.
On all counts, the game jam was a remarkable, resounding success.
Imagine you’re hacking your way through the thick and tangled underbrush of a jungle with a machete. When you started your journey, you were on a hill, and could see over the tops of the trees to the destination in the far distance, partially obscured by clouds that heralded a coming rain. But in the thick of the jungle, you don’t really have any idea where you are. Are you off course? Have you made as much progress as you hoped?
The game jam was an excellent opportunity for us to find another rise from which we can get our bearings and enjoy a brief respite on the path to NewCity v1.0. To recharge our creative batteries, as it were, and prepare for more heads-down development with a renewed sense of camaraderie and a more practiced and diverse set of skills than we set out with.
It’s powerfully motivating to grind out something playable from raw code and art in the short span of a week. The game we made — more of a prototype if we’re being honest — has the working title of Fragments. It’s a multiplayer co-operative arcade shooter with a card-driven inventory system.
In the words of Experiment 626: “It’s little, and broken… but still good.”
And what’s more, it’s ours.
I’m incredibly proud of the work my fellow teammates put into Fragments. I feel like it’s proof positive that more than NewCity developers, we’re game developers. NewCity will reap the benefits of our renewed morale and confidence in the present. But the future is ours to discover.
As Supersoup has detailed in his section, we recently participated in a game jam. The game jam lasted for a week and it was a great learning experience. We are currently trying our best to improve some rough edges around NewCity but we still had to showcase things here about that one week experience since I believe it was very fruitful.
First of all, I truly believe in the idea of Stronger Together, and not only to tackle world-wide issues. On the week of the game jam, all the members of the team tried their best to be as available as possible. That means we chatted, quite a bit. Or, well, I did. Yeah, I’m sure Supersoup is tired of hearing me ramble.
EDITOR’S NOTE: supersoup is in fact not tired of hearing Gainos ramble, and welcomes more rambling as the situation dictates
Now, don’t get me wrong, the team gets on chat very often and we do our best to make all important decisions into a team effort. But on the game jam, we had no time to second-guess ourselves so real-time feedback from others was needed.
I’m a fan of 2D art but I’m usually not as confident in it as I am in 3D, and with a reason. I have years of experience and quite a few projects where I was able to practice making 3D characters and props, but my 2D skills are somewhat unrefined. On the game jam week tho, there was no time to create excuses, only to actually get some work done, so I did. I made a few pixel-art characters, including animations and tried to spruce up our basic environment with props, including but not limited to a dancing lamp post!
Now, back to NewCity, the week before the game jam I overhauled a few building designs to make sure that they are more consistent with the amount of families, value and density requirements. With a few designs overhauled, I mean many. Hundreds. It was ok.
Now, the fun thing is that as I went over those designs, I had the opportunity of removing quite a few legacy decorations and replacing them with my own, custom made ones. Not only that, but I’ve also replaced some of the “awning” decorations with the roof-only structure feature Lonepine added some time ago.
With the new stats, several other design changes (we have a new cafe!) and more, mayors should see their cities looking surprisingly fresh. Triangle by triangle, along with the community, we are hoping to build a nice and cozy New City.
Questions? Comments? Feedback on the game? Sound off on our Discord.
As always, we’re incredibly thankful for our great community across the web. We love seeing the hard work and attention to detail you pour into your cities, and it inspires us every day to keep building. Thank you again for your support.
If you want to play the game and haven’t got it yet, head over to our Steam page. We’re also on Reddit and Twitter. Give us a follow if you haven’t, and we’ll keep you up to date on what’s new with NewCity!