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Mr. Flatland Wins RPI Game Jam, "Best Game Overall" and "Most Fun"

Just before the end of the 2008 Spring semester the RPI Game Development Club hosted a Game Jam. Brian McDonald, Peter Mueller and I formed a team to develop a fully functional themed game in eight hours.

The announced theme was “digging”; our answer was Mr. Flatland, a Tetris-esque arcade style game. Mr. Flatland is a digging creature who longs to keep the ground above his head… you guessed it, flat. The game speed (difficulty) increases logarithmically as the player’s score increases. Falling bricks, which are “undiggable” at first disrupt the flat horizon. The user gains points and “undiggable” bricks become “diggable” whenever a flat horizon is achieved.

Brian and I spent the first half hour talking about ideas and then another hour fleshing out the details for Mr. Flatland. We developed the game using PyGame, and we started from the example source code from Chimp Line By Line slowly transforming it into our game. When we started developing we used solid color bitmaps as sprites. Four or five hours before the end of the competition Peter (our team artist) arrived and started making real sprites. We used every last minute of the allotted time for development and testing, and I must say it was quite a fun experience. While Peter was drawing, Brian and I chipped away at individual tasks. I found that we frequently used the pair programming technique.

At the end of the competition all the games were judged by a panel comprised of industry professionals. I can’t remember individual names but I do remember that representatives from 1st Playable and Vicarious Visions were judging (among others).

I’m happy to share that Mr. Flatland was selected as the winner in the category “Most Fun” and was selected as the “Best Game Overall”.

Check out the gameplay demonstration video, and feel free to download and modify the game as you wish… we released it as open source!