Last week Ubongo Game Lab, our local game development community, held a week long Game Development Bootcamp and Training Session at Bongohive to give absolute beginners the tools and knowledge they need to get started in Game Development. It was an intense 3 days of learning, modelling and coding that got them ready for the 2 day bootcamp that followed where they competed for prizes and prestige as the newest members of our game development community.
The program for the week entailed a 3 day boot camp followed by a 2 day game jam. Day 1 of the boot camp had our guests introduced to Unity 3D, a popular 3D game development kit. By the end of the first day, all our guests were able to create a 3D outdoor environment with a movable character on scene. Day 2 covered 2D game mechanics with our guests creating their own simple games in C# through XNA Game Studio. On Day 3 we returned to 3D by learning game mechanics for 3D games in Unity as well as user interface creation. By the end of the 3 days our guests were able to create their own simple games that involved item pickups and simple physics effects in 3D. This meant they were ready for the next step – the Game Jam.
As with tradition in Game Jams, the 2 day hackathon had no rules or limitations except that you assemble your game within the 2 days and it follows the specified theme. The theme for the event was ‘Infestation’ which was decided through a random draw of the least picks from the recent Ludum Dare. The participants broke off into teams, one focusing on 2D, the other on 3D. They then had an hour to conceptualize their game.
Team 2D: Alister Mwase Phiri, James Malonda, Mutale Nkumbula
Idea: Mr Square, a stern civilian moves around his neighbourhood destroying hallucinogenic mushrooms with fire before they explode and overrun the world with their evil spores.
Team 3D: Nasseh Banda, Joshua Chipile, Nathaniel Moonga
Idea: A 3D maze game where you must escape a horde of zombies while collecting coins and powerups that strategically slow and defeat the zombies.
The two days were spent with lots of hard work and experimentation to get the results they were looking for in their game. By Friday evening everyone had the most part of their game ready and were ready for Saturday’s early morning judging. During the session we were also visited by Terry Karungi of Kola Studios in Uganda who gave some inspiration to the participants to continue making games and give them an idea of the opportunities available for game development in Africa.
Saturday morning befell the day of judgement. Our participants and the public joined in on the day to watch as a panel of judges scrutinized their work and decide who would come out victorious. The judging was based on 4 factors: Concept, Execution, Fun factor and representation of the theme. Our panelists consisted of our local techies and gamers.
Team 2D came out victorious with their fun concept for Mr Square: The Mushroom Slayer and took first prize with them.
First Prize: One MOJO console, 1 year free Construct/Stencyl licensing fee and a $250 voucher to be spent in the Unity Assets store
Second Prize: One OUYA console, 1 year free Construct/Stencyl licensing fee and a $100 voucher to be spent in the Unity Assets store
Although 2D won took home first, everybody went home a winner. These prizes have been put forth to contribute to the future of these groups in Game Development and there will be lots of opportunities for more people to take part in the near future.