This guest article was written by Jupiter Hadley, an enthusiastic and active member of the indie community. More about her and links to her other content can be found at the bottom of this article. I'll let her take it from here! -Shaun
The ever-growing community of GameMaker developers over on Reddit at the /r/GameMaker subreddit have hosted another one of their quarterly game jams called the gm(48). This game jam is specifically for GameMaker developers, and it challenges them to use the engine to create a game in just 48 hours around a specific theme voted for by the community. The theme for this gm(48) was “One Health.”
The rules to this jam is quite similar to the Ludum Dare. Developers must build a whole game, including audio, artwork and code from scratch, and then submit the game to www.gm48.net, all within the deadline. After the game jam ended, the community could then rate the submitted games to determine the winners. YoYo Games have graciously and regularly supported the jam by providing prizes via module giveaways for GameMaker: Studio.
Mr. Kichigai's Final Exam by Lelouche, six-demon, J>K, Seint
Mr. Kichigai's Final Exam is a very well made typing game with quite the tense atmosphere! You are a student who is trying to take their final exam. Your teacher has become psychotic and has turned your final exam into a game show where you must fight for your life. You have already made some mistakes, so you are down to your last life. You must type words that appear on the screen before the timer runs out. As you are typing, the chamber of a revolver spins around. If you make a mistake and the arrow is pointing towards a bullet, you will be killed instantly. If you are lucky enough to make a mistake when the arrow is not pointing towards a bullet, you will survive a bit longer. The words you are typing are based on a subject. After typing a few out your teacher will talk to you and switch to a new subject, adding another bullet to the gun. This game is relatively challenging with the pressure of a clock, a gun to your head, and the letters slightly shaking on the screen - these small details really add to the atmosphere of the game. If you manage to make it through the test, you will receive your final grade and survive.
Jam! by wenbeiss
Jam! is a Guitar Hero-esque game where you must play astoundingly good music, as your life literally depends on it. The gameplay is pretty simple to grasp. You need to push the correct keys in synchronicity with the notes, which come in the form of circles, arrival at the bottom of the screen. In between bits of the game, there is a narrator psyching you up to play music, then telling you the vital but grim detail that if you fail once you will die. The beginning of this game is a sort of tutorial that introduces the narrator and gameplay. Once you have mastered it, you will be taken to the title screen and the real game begins. Jam! is very challenging, as one mistake forces you to restart from the title screen, even if you were just seconds off. As the music increases in complexity, it's very hard to keep up the pace. If you do manage it, you will get to experience some top quality music as you game! This game does have a story line, as mentioned above, that consists of the developer’s past gm(48) submissions, so it may be worth checking out their other entries before diving into this game if you’d like a better understanding as a whole.
Trench Raid by IDoZ & Phops
Trench Raid is a side scrolling shooter that you has you fighting your way through the enemy’s trench! In the heart of the battle, you jumped into the enemy trench thinking you could get an advantage on your enemy. You misjudged the fall, barely surviving, so now you only have one life in an area full of enemies. You must use your pistol to gun down everyone you find, hoping to survive until reinforcements make it. As you explore the trenches, you are able to kick boxes, in order to move them, and pick up different enemy guns from fallen soldiers. The boxes are used for cover, as well as sandbags that cannot be moved. Enemies get much stronger the farther into the trenches you go - trained with new weapons like shotguns, grenade launchers, and flamethrowers. Some flags are also dotted around, occasionally granting you a checkpoint for when you die. If you do happen to die (and trust me, you will at some point) you will get to see a seemingly random, sometimes quite funny meda,l that you were awarded before restarting at the last checkpoint. Trench Raid is full of challenge, different enemies, and tons of fun.
GameMaker makes it easy and fast to compete in game jams like the gm(48). Whether you are an experienced GameMaker developer or just starting out, you should definitely check out this game jam and the community of helpful and creative people around it. The gm(48) is a quarterly jam, and the next one will be held April 15th, 2017.