There were over 40 teams competing for the top prize at OGPC, and there were some great contenders. Which is impressive, considering the theme was released only a few months ago. But on top of that, a lot of the teams didn’t unite and register until the end of March, so they had about a month to make a computer game. If you’ve ever tried to get a big project done under a tight deadline, you know the pain almost every team at OGPC felt.
It seems there is a theme, with every cool nerdy event, of unique team names: Apocalypse, Awesome Socks, Epidemic, Jellybean Dragons, Marshal Explorers, Spartan Code Warriors and almost 40 other teams competing to win the top prize. If only public schools were as creative with their team names—we might have some more interesting mascots.
Besides the great teams, there were some impressive speakers, too. My favorite was Robert Green. He’s a good fellow from Portland who had some good stories to tell about indie game developing. He’s been working on coding for smartphones. His brand’s website.
Every team was proud and confident of the work they did. And though a lot of the teams at OGPC have trouble meeting deadlines, some of these games were startlingly complete and really great. And having a finished game isn’t even the important thing. It’s having a polished game. Something with the big elements that make games good:
- immersion and involvement
- challenge, but nothing insurmountable
- flexibility—more than one way to win, with different challenges
And most of the games at OGPC had those. And there were a lot of unique approaches to this year’s theme, too. One game where the player was responsible for vacuuming tornadoes and putting out fires, while saving citizens and rebuilding a city, and another where the player had to decontaminate a dark and mysterious dungeon.
Of course, there’s the obvious one: with a theme like disaster response and recovery, just how many computer programmer types won’t think to themselves, at least once, “Wait a sec, a zombie apocalypse counts as a disaster, right?”
It gets even worse when you look at the detailed instructions on this year’s theme:
- emergency evacuation, quarantine, mass decontamination, etc.
- mobilization of necessary emergency services
- search and rescue
- emergency housing and provisioning
- supporting and rebuilding society after natural or human-made disaster
[I don't blame anyone who made a zombie game. Honestly. I would have]
Edit: here is a playable demo of one of the OGPC teams’ games. It’s called Dead Apocalypse, and is in the 1.4 beta phase. Simple, but it’s definitely got a solid foundation! Some of the sounds might sneak up on you, so make sure your speakers aren’t on full-blast.