Pixel Peak – a Teeny Weeny Skiing Game

The start of August this year brought with it the #LowRezJam. A game jam where game developers make games with a size limit of 64×64 pixels. That’s really small. Really really small.

I took part last year, and really enjoyed it, so thought I would join in again. The result of the jam was my game, Pixel Peak.

The Development

The jam was announced a few weeks before it began and besides the size limit there were no rules. Often game jams have themes that are announced the day before they start. This is to stop people from starting work outside of the jam time period. Whilst I didn’t do any work, I did have a think about what I wanted to do and how I would do it.

It took me a while to decide to make a skiing game but once I had settled on it there was no stopping me. I wanted to make it a tile based game so that I could use the Tiled level editor to lay things out, and I wanted to make it a browser game using the PhaserJS game library. Being tiny it had to be a 2d pixel art game, so I used Asesprite for the artwork.

Since I only had 14 days to make the game in – and that was whilst releasing a new theme on wordpress.com and supporting my existing themes – I decided to use my previous LowRezJam game as the starting point. Last year I made a time trial adventure game that was well received and it did some of the things I wanted in this game. Specifically it had the menus and loading code all setup, and it did the Tiled map loading. However the game code actually ended up being more complex. In terms of lines of code, Pixel Peak is more that twice the size of Legend of Dad.

The audio was a bit of a problem. It was the one area I wasn’t able to do myself (or so I thought). I tried reaching out to some musicians who said they were interested in working on the jam but they came back and said they were already working with someone and couldn’t do multiple games. So I was a bit stuck. I considered buying some music but that seemed a bit much for a free thing I was doing for fun. Then I remembered Open Game Art – a free game resources community. Thankfully I was able to find everything I needed there.

Reception

Pixel Peak has been received pretty well. In the game jam it came in at 18th out of 234 entries – which is pretty good I think. Even better it got a special mention on the Itch.io blog.

Pixel Peak forces you to wonder just how great it could be as a full release while you zip down the slopes.

That quote alone made it worthwhile; and I hope that other people like it as well.

What Next?

I’ll be honest. Because I started thinking about Pixel Peak before the game jam started – I did come up with a whole bunch of ideas for making a full size game out of it. I wanted to see how it would be received first but I thought something based on this concept would have a lot of potential.

And I still think that, so I have been spending some of my free time since the jam making a prototype version of the full game. My idea is to make something quite different to Pixel Peak – I shall write more about it when I have things more established.

Posted in: General, Video Games

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