Global Game Jam is a worldwide event during which game developers and programmers have a set amount of time (usually a weekend) to come up with a totally original game or piece of software. The idea is to allow developers to get as creative as they can over the 48hr period, nurturing teamwork and collaboration with a view to producing original games and concepts.
DCJY: Hi Ross, could you give us a bit of information about yourself and your background in game development?
Ross Kilgariff: Ally [Alastair Low] and I are both game developers from Dundee in Scotland. I'm a programmer and de-facto designer, while Ally is a 3D artist. We work together professionally and run the local MakerSpace in our spare time.
And what's the story behind Dungeon Ross?
The original idea for Dungeon Ross came about in December last year when we decided to participate in the 2017 Global Game Jam, of which the MakerSpace was a jam site for the second year in a row. The event itself happens in late January, so we had about a month to read up and prepare.
Can you elaborate on your inspiration for this type of game?
At first we just knew we wanted to make something for the Dreamcast that would have "couch co-op" gameplay. We liked Zelda: Four Swords on the GameCube and wanted to incorporate similar elements into our DC game. Those were the only thoughts we had going in.
Over the GameJam weekend in January, I spent 90% of my time just working on the engine. When it came time to put in characters, I happened to have a goofy programmer-art version of me that I dropped into the engine as a test. This actually made the game weirdly charming in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, so Ally ran with the style and Dungeon Ross was born.
It was pretty handy that you had the programmer art model of yourself! How easy or difficult is making a game from scratch for the Dreamcast?
The biggest challenge so far has definitely been building the skeletal animation system, which closely mirrors that of Blender (the software we use for 3D modelling and animation). We didn't have the animation system ready in time for the jam deadline, so that was our next big milestone.
Personally, I have nothing but admiration for anyone who has the ability to make games. What are your future plans for Dungeon Ross? Will we see a retail version of the game?
Our plan now is to use whatever time we can find to keep developing the game, maybe running some smaller game jams to coordinate ourselves and possibly get more people involved. I'm very eager to focus on the game design now that the engine tech is good enough to experiment with.
We've spoken about selling physical copies, and that's definitely something we'd enjoy (putting the instruction manuals and dungeon maps together) but we're also planning on releasing the source code to the engine and the game, in the hope that other DC developers have an easier time of it.
If you'd like to get involved or lend you time to helping to develop Dungeon Ross further, please feel free to get in touch! For further information, be sure to check out Dungeon Ross (and grab the game files!) at the Global Game Jam website here, and while you're at it you can find Ross's personal website here and Alastair's personal website here. If you'd like more information about Dundee MakerSpace, you can find their website here.