Astéria – A 2D Game Design

Overview

Global Game Jam (#GGJ)  is an event where volunteer-led teams around the world came together to design games over the last weekend of January 2020. Northumbria University, Newcastle hosted a physical event with various multidisciplinary participants within and beyond the school. 

This year’s GGJ theme was ‘repair’, sparking interest in participants’ imagination to design a game aligned to the theme. Our team consisted of four developers, two designers, and a creative lead. I worked in the project’s narrative, branding, and graphics. A full beta version of the game is available here.

Design Process

The creative lead came up with the initial idea, drawing inspiration from ancient Greek mythology. The first evening was dedicated to refining the concept and organising roles and responsibilities. We split into three sub-teams: developers, designers, and writers. The developers were entrusted with finding a suitable engine and setting up the GitHub repository. Designers and writers came together to refine the story, brainstorm characters and doodle initial sketches. After a few hours of work, Astéria was a full concept featuring Urania, a Greek muse whose task was to repair the broken constellations from an evil god.

Game screenshot

Worldbuilding

I worked with Gaëtane Yvonnou, an incredibly talented designer and illustrator to craft the whole world in which the game takes place. We split the workload into two parts. She designed the background and the main character’s animations, while I produced all the world’s assets and marketing materials. We chose pixel art to emulate a classic 2D game look-and-feel.

Story

Georgina McKeever, creative lead, conceived the story of Urania and the different levels, including the various obstacles and clues that the character encounters. The game unfolds in three stages with the player aiding Urania in collecting stars from a horizontal map. Each star paints a new constellation in the background. 

Astéria’s promotional video.

Learnings

GGJ was a perfect creative opportunity to turn around a project in a 48-hour span. The time pressure enabled us to accelerate and learn from the progressive design phases. We took quick decisions, tackled problems collectively, and supplemented each others’ skills. In my view, the game jam also gave us a safe space for trying new techniques and collaboration methods. I am thrilled to have worked with Georgina, Gaëtane, Adam, Sylwia, Andrew, and John on this project. 

Astéria is free to play on Google Chrome: click here to play de game

Controls: 

< > move left / right

^ jump

^^ double jump

^^^ float

v pound

Asteria’s background artwork by Gaëtane Yvonnou

Tools used

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