Sacrificial Inferno

A procedurally generated, permadeath, hack and slash, retro 2D platformer.

So where did it all begin…

The group, initially made up of the following geeks:

  • Adrian Richie
  • Andy Le Conte
  • Jason Magee
  • Marc Beavan

We are all Guernsey based Software Developers / IT consultants. In addition to dev skills Andy also bolsters the creative side (and by bolster I really mean that he supplies 99% of the artistic side of the project – the other 1% comes from Jason who contributed a green blob which we will endeavour to keep in the game if we can sneak it past Andy).

We came together ahead of the Global Game Jam and met up one evening ahead of the event to meet one another (there were a few longer running friendships but a couple of us hadn’t met before – Guernsey is a huge place you know!). We met initially in Jason’s local pub and discussed different genres that appealed and throw some concepts around.

  • Card game with RFID cards which can be scanned. Mini-games played on screen. Something similar to Cosmic Encounter (3d print some parts).

  • Mario party like game. Actually have a 2d printed board and 3d printed characters, pick up cards, RFID scan them into the computer and play a mini-game to process.

  • Some kind of instrument beat keeping game with a 3d printed controller.

  • Turret survival game.

  • Puzzle mobile game. Could be done to quite a polished level but we’d need a good idea… which we didn’t have on the night

  • Platformer. No specific idea beyond not making it complicated (Braid).

The theme for the event was unknown at this point but it was good to get the creative juices flowing and also find some common ground.

We had a follow up gathering at Jason’s pad over a game of Munchkin which must have been pretty painful for both andy and Jason as Adrian and Marc had not played before and we turned a 40 minute game into a 3+ hour ordeal. Can’t remember who won, but it definitely wasn’t me.

The evening was useful though. We ran through the genres that we had fired around at the previous gathering and filtered it down to a platformer (subject to the theme of the game jam).

With a genre in mind we also talked through the different game engines and tools that we could use and settled upon Game Maker. It was an engine that a couple of us had been playing around with and Marc been pretty impressed. Marc had initially been drawn to it having found out that it was used by vlambeer (legends – http://www.vlambeer.com/) to make its pretty awesome games (Super Crate Box, Serious Sam, Nuclear Throne and others). It looked perfect for a game jam, lending itself to rapidly building out a 2d patformer game. To get up to speed and prepare for the Game Jame we signed up to udemy and took advantage of a firesale ‘get a course for $10’ deal to sign up for the following game maker course. The course was excellent and is highly recommended as a good intro to game maker.

Learn gamemaker

The Global Game Jam kicked off on 29th Jan. After a quick pint at the newly opened Golden Lion we settled in to a corner of the also newly opened ‘Digital Greenhouse’ along with several other teams in preparation for the theme announcement. The theme for this years GGJ was Ritual which we thought was pretty good. We quickly agreed on sticking with a platformer and more specifically a dungeon crawler with the following narrative…

Our hero has had his partner snatched from him, sacrificed in a ritual, and taken down to hell. He decides to descend the many levels of hell to get her back. In order to get deeper into hell he has to slay the many different creatures of hell and free their souls. Collecting the souls allows him to activate and charge the gateways that allow him to head deeper into the pit and get ever closer to the Devil himself. What he’s going to do when he faces the ultimate test he does not know. He’ll figure that out when he gets there!!!

And so the game development commenced.

  • Andy made a start on the art assets
  • Jason and Adrian worked on the games foundations, creating the main character, baddies, some traps and sample levels
  • Marc started work on procedural level generation

More details to follow in later posts.