Once per year, Galwegians are invited to gather together to celebrate the life of the company (and its swashbuckling revolutionary namesake). As part of this year’s festivities, the engineering team embarked on an epic race against time in Galois’ first-ever Game Jam!
Each of the nine participating teams was given 24 hours to come up with and create an original game or puzzle. The first eight hours were for brainstorming and resource-gathering, and the final 16 were spent in Galois’s Portland office, bringing the ideas to life.
Let’s take a look at what they built!
The Unclaimed Case
A 5-member team crafted a physical suitcase puzzle box game, “The Unclaimed Case.” The concept artfully melds escape room mechanics with a narrative hook of a mysterious abandoned suitcase at an airport. In the game, players must solve a series of intricate puzzles to unlock the compartments of the luggage, with successful teams unraveling the luggage’s enigmatic backstory.
Building this fantabulous wizard’s box of wonders involved (among other things): Two laser cutters, a 3D printer, both the Bing Image Creator and ChatGPT, acrylic paint and superglue, multiple locks, and duct tape.
Figure 1: The unclaimed luggage.
Figure 2: A team of Galwegians looking over the luggage contents (portions of the image are obscured to protect game secrets).
The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect is a two-person card game that takes players on a time-traveling journey, where their actions are capable of reshaping history in unpredictable ways. Starting with the idea of a time travel-theme, the game concept evolved through brainstorming and rigorous playtesting. Various game ideas were explored and refined, with rules adjusted to better capture the time travel theme, meet desired playtime, and ensure a fun experience. The game also features retro-style artwork generated using DALL-E 3, and after broader playtesting, there are plans for professional deck printing in the future.
The Chronicles of Everest
Cryptography puns abound in this domino-like card game, where links are “blockchains,” deception is key to victory, and every card includes art and a title based on a crypto-related inside joke.
The Skeleton Liberation Front
In this unconventional text-based adventure, players navigate an office filled with skeletons, driving the story forward with multiple-choice dialogue options.
Godot Action Game
A novice Godot team successfully crafted a 2D hack-and-slash game complete with cooperative multiplayer features and bespoke music and sound effects crafted by a team member with synthesizer and sound design experience.
This experimental endeavor pitted a large language model (LLM), trained on a dataset of 1 million chess games, against Stockfish, resulting in a playful yet competitive chess engine. Despite the AI player not hitting grandmaster marks, the project highlights AI’s vast potential and the fun of innovation.
Space Trade Network
This ambitious web-based multiplayer game tasked players with dominating the galaxy through strategic trade. Though the game’s development faced the common challenge of integration within a limited timeframe, using Ocaml, the team was able to successfully create a star system map generator and an in-game economic system involving a thriving trade in widgets, croissants, and sheep.
Engaging players’ vocal cords as controllers, “Serenade Speedrun” explored the inventive side of game input methods. In this proof of concept, the player uses their vocal pitch to control a “character” on screen in short levels. If the pitch goes up, the character moves up. Lower the pitch and it moves down. The goal is to keep the player within certain bounds for each level, which requires lowering and increasing the pitch depending on the position.
A Heartfelt Appreciation
A well-deserved, heartfelt thanks goes to all the participants whose skills, enthusiasm, and collaborative spirit fueled the success of the Galois Game Jam 2023.
Here’s to the many more game-jam experiences ahead!