City Pulse – Global Game Jam 2013

In January I participated in the Global Game Jam at the Vancouver location. I worked on a game called City Pulse with Shane Morin and Mex Hsu. Shane  pitched an idea where you revive a dead city by moving pulses throughout the area using pumps. It took awhile until we were able to concretely define the gameplay but we finally settled on using energy towers that send out pulses that degrade over time. The concept was inspired by Space Chem but the final version turned out to be more action oriented than puzzle focused.

What went right

  1. Choosing Unity – I’m fairly confident in using Unity and Shane also had worked with it before. We didn’t have much trouble getting the game running.
  2. Creating levels – My other game jam games either had a single level or procedural levels so I was looking forward to having multiple levels in this game.
  3. Last minute sound – Gordon McGladdery did a fantastic job creating some quick sound effects hours before the deadline. It turned out to be a great collaboration because I was accustomed to adding audio at the last minute in Unity.

What went wrong

  1. Missing visual feedback – The directional towers didn’t have an animation to indicate they were charged. It was also hard to see which buildings were the critical ones that needed to be lit up.
  2. Everyone wanted to tap the heart – We designed the heart to emit a pulse when there is no pulse or tower left with a charge. It’s automatic but players continued to tap on the heart even when we told them it did nothing.
  3. Slow start – We weren’t able to start programming until late the first night. The Ethernet ports weren’t working so Shane and Mex couldn’t connect to the internet to activate their Unity license.

Overall it was a really fun project to work on. Since then I have fixed a few bugs and made it easier to see which buildings you need to power. You can play the game in your browser if you have the Unity Web Player plugin installed.

Play City Pulse