As part of my academic studies, I got to learn the basics of developing games. In 2017, a later friend of mine wanted to establish a game developing community based on our Faculty of Computer Science. For this purpose, he organized the first Game Jam in our faculty building, which should later become an annual event. Together with two of my close friends, both fellow students, I decided to participate, although we had no previous experience of what to expect.
Within 48h of game development (including less than 10h of sleep), we developed Neo Puck. It is a Multiplayer Arcade Game related to a conventional air hockey game. Two players compete in a short, fast-paced game. Each one controls a bar to hit a ball and score a goal. However, two features make the game unique. First, the player can not only control their bar’s movement but also their rotation and length. Especially the latter is important, as long bars move much slower compared to short ones. As a second twist, the game incorporates a variety of modes, which change after each goal. In each, some parameters like the ball size, weight, bounciness, … are changed.
We decided to go for this type of game due to time constraints of the GameJam. As we only had a few hours to develop the whole game, we opted for something simple which could later be further extended as time permits. Building upon the Unity Game Engine and its inherent physics, the game’s basic functions were developed quite fast. We tried out different playing fields until we settled upon the 4 goals with the tiny edges on the outer sides. I developed the graphics for the whole game after we agreed on a visual style. One friend, who’s an expert in Shader development, took care of the lava and the overall glowing effect. The other one had to develop most of the game’s logic and composed the music.
After integrating everything into the main game, we came back together and discussed, how we could further polish and extend the game. We envisioned different modes to increase entertainment and fun. We added a start menu, Joypad controls, and more visual effects. In the end, we were pretty proud of the results, especially as it was created within the 48 hours of the GameJam. This was acknowledged as we won the Game Jam’s star prize, which was handed over by a company from Dresden.
We later presented the game multiple times on different public occasions. As the game is simple to understand and to control, we were able to approach visitors of all ages. It seemed like Neo Puck brought entertainment and joy and we always had nice exhibition days.
My friend afterward added even more features and a single-player mode. We decided to publish this version on itch.io . It is a popular online platform for indie games. Developers like us can present their games and sell them (or in our case, ask for a donation). Our game is now readily available as a Windows Standalone. Feel free to try it out under: