So I’ve been following different indie game developers on Twitter for a while now. I’ve felt like an imposter or like I was party crashing listening to them talk about their work. A few of these people on Twitter announced that they are putting on a ‘Salvage Jam‘ for old unfinished projects. I decided to sign up to force myself to actually finish something. I don’t want to be ‘faking it’, I just want to be ‘making it (the game that is)’.
I picked a game I started for my thesis. It was called Research Rush and it would give the player assignments to find a book in a library. The player would then race to the shelving location to find it. It was going to be a four-floor library with a computer lab. The player would just need to play for 10 minutes but it would just keep giving them tasks indefinitely and tell the player their time on the task.
The thing is, the game really wasn’t that new or different. It was just the first thing I really figured out game-code-wise that was my own (mostly). I watched maybe a hundred tutorials to make enough code to get started. Picking up and stealing different things to piecemeal the thing together. While I was working on the backend, I just made these terrible scribble sprites to be stand-in animations. One thing, though, is that I forgot to fill them in. So when I tested it, you could still see things behind them. I really liked this art style because it reminded me of my doodles in the margins on my legal pad. So I added a background that was yellow and blue lined.
This really stuck with me even after I had to change the project. I leaned into this trashy aesthetic but it just kept getting cuter in my opinion. While playing it, something just clicks with the art ideas for me. I want to do something to make a complete idea of what that click is. For the jam, I want to remake Research Rush in Unity but as its own game. I think it’ll be a classic 2D platformer with some adventure-lite elements.
When I presented my proof of concept to my thesis committee, they didn’t really think that the gameplay was inline with what I was studying. The game needed to be about ‘information literacy’ whereas Research Rush was more about just book retrieval. This wasn’t wrong (I completely agreed) but starting over I was completely lost on how to make it work. I ended up buying the YoYo RPG project. I liked what they had made but it never really had the same magic for me.
So, now that I’m done with grad school, I want to go back and finish this idea. The Salvage Jam is being hosted by James Earl Cox III on itch.io and was inspired by trashymctrashboy (I love the internet) or @moshboy on Twitter. I want to do things I love doing even though I’m not good at them and I curse wildly while making.
Try out my proof of concept here: