Programming Tool: Visual Studio
Role: Team Leader & Project Coordinator
Team size: 5
Development Time: 24 hours
"Mall Rats" is a GameJam entry and winner of the "Best Newcomer" Prize in the Kingston University summer GameJam of 2019. The theme was the shopping centre that contestants were staying in - the Bentall's Centre in Kingston.
Leadership / Project Coordination:
Presented the game to judges and fellow jammers
Led brainstorming session
Kept morale high with teammates
Coordinated team efforts
Leadership / Project Coordination
The team was comprised of classmates from my first year class, some of which I had already worked with in other team projects. Of the competitors, our team were the only first year entrants to participate, meaning we were against much more experienced students from the university (up to Masters level students).
As this was the first GameJam for most of us and only a couple of us had used Unity prior to this, we faced a lot of daunting challenges during the jam period. This included trying to get the files to work on both Mac and Windows computers, coming up with a reasonably achievable idea, and ensuring everyone was able to get some rest! It was also challenging to manage a team of 5, since not everyone could be involved on the project at the same time since nearly everyone was primarily a programmer. We also had not learned about how to coordinate projects with source control software like GitHub, so migrating the same project content between Windows and Mac users caused a lot of grief.
At the end of the jam, all teams presented their ideas to the judges and to the other jammers. Since we only managed to successfully implement some of our intended features, a lot of explanation was needed to clarify the premise of the game and how it fit with the theme of "Night at the Bentall's Centre". Jammers stayed in this shopping centre overnight as they completed the game jam, so we aimed for a fairly straightforward theme for our game.
The gameplay focuses on the player controlling a white rat that must navigate levels of the Bentall's Centre to find other rats. Rats will then follow the player as they traverse the game world and an exit will become available once there's a minimum number of rats in the group.
Mouse traps and security guards patrolling floors will cause gathered rats to die or flee if they are caught in the flashlights. The rats double up as a health bar; the player starts with 1HP as they are the only rat in the group until a rat joins them, increasing it to 2HP and so on. Losing rats to traps or guards causes the health to drop, and if the player is caught when they are the only rat in the pack, they die and its game over.