Indie Speed Run 2013: “From Strawberry” Dev Post

Indie Speed Run is like a game jam, but slightly different, because one, you don’t have to be at a physical location (which is great, so at least you get to sleep in your own bed, if ever, between breaks) and it has a theme and an element that you need to incorporate into your game.

This is my second year doing Indie Speed Run, last year was my first (also my first ever game jam). Instead of grouping with my friends who were in the Philippines and working together virtually through Google Hangouts like I did last year, I decided to group up with my sisters instead, and we worked on the game together from our apartment. I’m just lucky to be a programmer that have 2 sisters who are artists.

We happened to have a four day weekend, because of the Mid Autumn Festival (it’s a Chinese holiday, where people eat moon cakes, when we were younger, we called it Moon Cake Festival).

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In case anyone is wondering, these are moon cakes, we had a lot of them, and no, they are not shaped like the moon (no idea why).

So picked the middle of that weekend to do our game jam.

Before we started the game jam we already decided that we want to do something with real world objects, and its going to be a puzzle game. My sister suggested that we can have an entire game set in a box.

The Dream Machine had a scene where there is a box, and there are a bunch of stuff in it, like books and other indie game cameos, and you need to find a letter, and that’s like part of the puzzle. We wanted to do something like that.

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Screenshot from The Dream Machine

Another thing we decided is that we wanted to do something that looks different from other indie games (the usual darker theme and visual style).

We wanted something that is bright and colorful, and filtered (as in Instagram filters). We were joking that we want to create a hipster looking game, with all sorts of hipster accessories thrown into the box, like pixel glasses, moustache rings, polaroids etc. I even made a mood board.

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Pictures found from all over the Internet

And then its just press the Go button and see what theme and element will be, and ultimately decide how our game’s gonna be.

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With our This is Sewius duck, Duckles

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Our  theme is Symmetry, while our element is Corgi.

The good thing about Indie Speed Run is that the theme and element are pretty much open to interpretation. There are a few definitions of symmetry, and we decided to go for:

A relationship of characteristic correspondence, equivalence, or identity among constituents of an entity or between different entities, such as: “the narrative symmetry of the novel”.

So in terms of the game play, we decided to do a matching game. but instead of matching similar objects (like cards, etc.) we decided to match different kinds of objects to letters or notes that contain, at times, very vague descriptions of them, since from the definition of “symmetry”, “identity between different entities”.

And then we had to incorporate the element corgi in it, and that part is pretty easy, because we love corgis (or at least we started liking corgis after they made that cameo in that Olympics video).

So since we wanted to make a game with real world objects, the first step is to scrounge our apartment and find and assemble our box with quirky and interesting objects.

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We have a lot of quirky objectsCan you name and identify all of them? (You’d have to in our game)

And then the next step is to take pictures of all our objects.

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My little sis’ camera setup.

We also took pictures of notes and letters.

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And then my big sis was charged with turning them into textured 3D objects.

There were a lot of objects and notes…

And then my lil sis and I wrote out the story in the form of notes and letters.

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My lil sis’ pink desktop

We watched “The Bling Ring”, and it influenced us a lot in terms of “writing” (we like to think we actually don’t talk like that). You’ll understand what I’m talking about once you played our game.

And then my job is to throw everything into our game engine, Unity.

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Our real world objects’ textured 3D models in engine

And to get the filtered effect we wanted, I used Color Correction Curves and Screen Overlay Image Effects. I’m biased, but really it makes everything look so much better.

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Filtered in engine

Albeit a little like pink cotton candy.

And then we needed some background music. Originally, we wanted to just record ambient noise from our balcony, but it was raining, and rain just doesn’t go well with our pink cotton candy.

Thankfully, my lil sis can play the ukelele.

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Unfortunately, she can only compose eerie sounding music.

But we used it anyway. She recorded it officially with my iPhone’s Voice Memo Recorder in our bathroom.

And then that’s pretty much it.

Our game is called “From Strawberry”, it is a story-based puzzle game, set in letters and curios.

Icon followed by some screenies:

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Indie Speed Run Free Play starts October 7, so go try out and rate our game: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/content/indie-speed-run/?game=417

Please and thank you!

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