This January, I spent 48 long hours at 804RVA working on my very first video game– Menagerie. You begin life as a small creature, unknown to you what it is because of the forced 1-person perspective. Using WASD controls, you soon discover a giraffe. You click or press the E key to “shoot,” and discover you’ve warped to the perspective of the giraffe! Looking down, you see that your old self was a turtle. You can inhabit several different animals in the game to gain new perspectives and unlock new areas of the zoo. I won’t spoil any more, but the “bonus” level in the parking lot is an absolute thrill.
Of course, none of Menagerie would be possible without our wonderful programmer, David (his indie game Another Castle is AMAZING, check it out!). He did all the magic that lets you zoom from one creature to another. I was so excited to meet him & all the other developers there! My friend Tyler Rhodes did the incredible models & walk cycle animations for the giraffe, lion, and elephant as well as the terrain. Having Bethesda Games QA Cory on our team was really helpful too; he helped me a lot with Maya and provided insight on the gaming industry (as well as finding the obnoxious accordion music and the title). Dani and Shariq helped with the level design, and I did the environmental objects and the rest of the animal models.
We went for a low-poly look because it was quick and easy, so we could generate a lot of animals and objects in just 48 hours. I was a bit rusty at Maya, so doing animation and textures was challenging for me. The game is super funky and bizarre, and I love that I could support my team with creating all sorts of odd objects like hot dog stands, a swarm of Trabants, and a giant gorilla.
The theme was “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” I’m proud to say I came up with the concept for Menagerie, but really it’s the entire team that wrote the game. We took my idea and pared it down to the essential idea (seeing things from different perspectives) and spent the next 48 hours coding and churning out 3D models.
— RVA Game Jams (@rvagamejams) January 27, 2014