From Parody to Production

From Parody to Production: How @petermolydeux inspired a wacky weekend game design marathon. @PeterMolydeux is a Twitter parody account that takes Black & White and Fable designer Peter Molyneux's penchant for ambitious, industry-changing game concepts to ridiculous extremes, with ideas like turn-based fighting games where you "have to level up individual bones and set which order the joints are moved and rotated to create attacks", ultra-realistic co-op military shooters where "if your partner dies you have to spend 30 minutes digging a hole to bury them before you can continue."

Hundreds of game designers will try to bring some of those ideas to life this weekend by taking part in the “What Would Molydeux?” Game Jam, a 48-hour group game design and programming marathon based on the idea of bringing the Twitter account’s often-ridiculous ideas to life.

  1. I’m excited about this. It looks like I may even make something for it, too.

  2. For something that seems to have so much traction, there are shockingly few ‘signups’ , at least, according to their page.

  3. I did make something for it, and missed out on Internet April Fool’s day as a result!

    Maybe you would like to play These automatic arms.? (Windows executable, 35MB zip file).

    First game ever for all three of us, but I think we’ve made something hopefully not uninteresting. It’s a bit of an action game, so maybe a touch against the spirit of the event. Unsure.

  4. (Oh, it looks like Terry Cavanaugh posted my game on his site. That’s pretty gratifying.)

  5. (And now Rock Paper Shotgun says “These Automatic Arms has the best of all names and is a thoroughly entertaining take on the tweet.”)

  6. (And, for the theoretical person who stumbles upon this and is interested, but who doesn’t have a Windows machine, it looks like someone posted a playthrough video to youtube.

    It also looks like the game is 5 minutes long, not the 15 we were estimating, and that the extra tin-foil piece I added to the fifth room, worrying that it was too much of a hint but seeing from playtesting that something was necessary, is in fact not a large enough hint at all. The person who made this video did it the hard way, which I’m a bit surprised is even possible. The easy way is excruciatingly easy, but I guess more obscure than I thought. If you watch the video, you’ll probably recognize the easy solution as they’re leaving the room.

    (Also, I guess the child character still can get stuck on the doors in the in-engine-sort-of-cutscene room toward the middle, but luckily I added some protections for that so it’s not a game-ending bug. What’s dumb is that I even coded — but didn’t use anywhere — invisible barriers that bystanders bounce against but bullets and the player pass through, and totally should have set those up there to keep the child a block away from the fully opened door position. Oh, well. 48 hours. And first game ever.)

    I’m also thinking of adding two more game mechanics and maybe just releasing a set of stand-alone bonus levels, but we’ll see if that happens. Typing this here for motivational purposes.

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