Dare to be Digital 2011 team Rebel Donut talks exclusively to Develop about working on their entry title Plunder in the Jungle.
The first stage of the application process for Dare was fairly straightforward, where we had to submit detailed documentation on the game we wanted to make and artwork to show how it would look and play. We worked for several weeks on refining our idea and tried to meet up as often as possible to discuss the game mechanics and art style, and were still working on the submission until a few hours before submission.
Then came the painful waiting to see if we had managed to secure an interview. We were quite confident in getting an interview as we had put a lot of work into the application, but there was still a lot of uncertainty.
The day eventually came and we received an email to confirm a place for an interview in London – there was a lot of excitement as we were one step closer to Dare. The weeks that followed involved taking everything that we had put into our application, refining it more and placing it into a presentation, where we would have 15-20 minutes to impress a panel of industry experts. We had all performed presentations before for our university courses, but this was a lot more important.
Traveling to London to the interview, we had not had as much time to practice as we had wanted and sat in Green Park in Piccadilly eating lunch whilst doing a last minute run through of the presentation. We arrived at the BAFTA headquarters in London and were welcomed into the interview room to set up our presentation before we began. We were very lucky to have three great interviewers who were friendly and had a great time talking through some of the ideas behind the game.
Leaving the interview everyone was very relieved, and we felt it had gone extremely well, though we had no idea how the other teams had done in comparison.
Just less than a week later we received an email congratulating us on being selected to participate in Dare 2011, the shock of which stayed for a few days after, and then came the rush to organise transport. Organising a trip for several people with picking them up with all their belongings is never straightforward. We have not traveled the furthest to be here, but from southern Wales to eastern Scotland is quite a trip, which was filled with rain, singing along to ‘80s music, and traffics jams. Arriving in Dundee via some misguided navigation around the ‘scenic’ route we unpacked and settled in to the accommodation.
We are all very excited to be here at Dare and are extremely grateful for the experience to work in this environment, as well as have one on one time with a multitude of industry experts.
So far our game is progressing well, the concept itself is a 2D platform game that brings together elements of puzzle and strategy, giving players control of Apollo the Lion, Mo the Monkey, Molly the Giraffe and Isaac the Elephant. Each character has their own ability, and only by working together can they progress through the jungle in search of the striped swindler, a dastardly thief who has plundered the characters’ possessions.
Along the way there will be danger where Apollo can use his mighty roar to scare away enemies, there will be places that only a nimble animal such as Mo can reach by climbing vines, Molly can reach very high and may also aid other animals by lifting them up, and while Isaac is quite slow his ability to project water at the environment will come in useful.
The puzzle elements of the game will pose an increasing level of difficulty, with a similar design idea as the river crossing test, where you would have a river to cross with one boat and limited options about who can operate it and who can be left on each side of the river. Our game will give a similar challenge, where to progress it might mean going forward and backwards to get everyone through the level successfully.
Working together has been an extremely enjoyable experience. Everyone on the team is contributing a lot of work time and putting a lot of effort into the game design and creation.
There were some initial milestones of playing about with the physics engine we are using, and trying out different animation techniques to get the one that will produce the best results in the quickest time.
The process has been a big learning curve in many ways, the largest being team work. We have all worked on team projects before, but never with this level of pressure or self-reliance. It is extremely fun to be working in a group of people you can communicate with and discuss ideas through. We have already massively adjusted the game in many ways since our first concept, either for logistical reasons or because we have re-designed it to play better, but all these adjustments have come from the team working together.
Everyone is now very excited for ProtoPlay, our game is coming along well and we really want to see others play and enjoy it.
Team information and videos can be found on the Dare to be Digital team profile.
Also, we have a team Twitter account: @Rebel_Donut