Last weekend the Scottish Game Jam took place and Guerilla Tea were invited to mentor at the Dundee chapter. It was a terrific event and we all had a great time, made even better by the fact that pizza was provided on the Friday night…
The spirit of turning night into day and developing a game over a short space of time has been in our blood for a while, and after a long evening of talking to game jammers, I jokingly suggested to Alex, our programmer, that it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility for him to finish off his Friday night poker game, go home, crack out the laptop, and have a game done by the next morning.
I left the game jam, went for a Friday night drink, and ended up forgetting about this discussion for the rest of the weekend. On Sunday evening our artist returned from judging the artwork of the weekend’s creations, and told me that ‘Cheese Squares’ is done. It turned out that Alex had taken our discussion literally and had been inspired after a successful poker evening, opting to code rather than sleep. As a result a digital version of the old paper & pencil game, Cheese Squares was now working. I was a little taken aback admittedly but remembered that programming is a form of black magic. (Note from Alex: It is indeed. Programmers used to sacrifice the small rodents that would nest in the computer mainframes to the gods of coding!)
We’ve always known this simple pencil and paper game by the name ‘Cheese Squares’ although if you’re already familiar, you may have another name for it. I think we first talked about creating a digital version while playing it on graph paper on a train journey. It is played on a board of any shape and size, consisting of squares (draw your own boundary for the game space on graph paper). Players take turns in drawing horizontal or vertical lines around the squares, and the idea is to conquer the board by completing squares with the lines you, and your opponent, draw.
We had actually decided that in 2013 we would be aiming to release one small game a month, so this little bit of accelerated development was well timed. Cheese Squares will be the first of our ‘One Game a Month’ policy, released in February, with a different name of course!
The result of the night’s coding was an early functioning version with a basic AI. Here is a screenshot of the game, but since this was a code only effort, it is not too pretty yet:
You can try out our early version.
So what about a theme for the game? One which we are keen on is a cartoony take on the Klondike Gold Rush. By taking over the board you are securing regions of land, claiming gold and gaining wealth.