Hearth and Home
Reunite your family after your children have been scared off into the dark, cold wilderness. Play as a father coal gathering up his ember children and bring them back to their mother bonfire. Gather kindling to expand your home, and bring your children some marshmallows! Controls use only the joystick or WASD.
Made for the Global Game Jam 2019, on a team of 6 people + music and sound designers.
This game was made for the 2019 Global Game Jam, my second Game Jam I participated in, the first being the 2018 GGJ where I made Galour. This year, I wanted to join a team to come up with a game and make it together, so the first few hours in I met up with a few people and we formed a team around the idea of "home and warmth".
Development Time: 48 hours
Team Size: 6
Role: Designer, Scripter
Platforms: PC, Mac, Browser
Tools Used: Unity, SourceTree, Github
Finding the core
As a team we brainstormed ideas about what that idea meant to all of us, and was felt family and belonging was a large part of it. We decided to include these themes in the game we would make. Bryan Tai (the team lead) had an idea for the game which was to reunite your family together back to your home; that paired with the idea of warmth gave me the idea of having your family surround a campfire. I pitched my idea and the idea gained traction, so we went with it.
The general design of gameplay was to 1. find your children, 2. return them to the campfire, and 3. don't become too lonely by being out on your own for too long. The idea for the "family" being little lumps of coal was to tie in the thought that the campfire was home. You, your family, and the campfire were one of the same, so it felt only natural for you to want to return there.
Early on in the project, me and Brian hammered out a first draft MVP of the game and the necessary components, and decided as a team what we would take to work on and how long it would take. I took on the majority of the scripting, as I was familiar with the Unity framework and scripting in C#. I established the movement systems, child-following feature, and collision for objects.
After the first draft was complete, and our basic systems developed, we reconvened to decide on what was next on the checklist. Since all the basic functionality was made and working, I decided to work more on some gameplay diversity and fine-tune the systems so the game was more enjoyable to play and easier to read with better feedback. I added Marshmallows that some children would require in order to be brought back to the campfire, and wood logs which could be used to expand the range of the campfire which made it easier to progress and gave more permanence. I also fine-tuned the campfire's range to make it challenging-yet-fun and not frustrating, and also made a texture to show the range of the campfire's warmth so know when you are inside it.
The main gameplay element for Hearth and Home was venturing out from the campfire in search of your family. We made this a compelling experience by giving you a limited amount of time outside the campfire, and gradually panning the music from a happy/warm tone, to a sad/cold tone, emphasizing the loneliness you feel. When you reunite with a family member, your loneliness fades away and the tone becomes warm again, and the same happens when you return back to the campfire. All of this put together made a really warm and inviting experience for players to enjoy and bring their little coal ember family back together!
We worked with a composer to create two tracks to achieve this warm-and-cold music pan, and the result turned out great!
The Core Experience
Hearth and Home
By the end of the jam, there wasn't a lot of time left, and we had the game in a state that we were happy with, so I decided to come up with a logo and a name for the game to help sell the idea. I came up with the name "Hearth and Home" as it was a popular phrase many already knew, and translates very well to the core experience of the game. The logo was focused on the campfire and the surrounding wilderness, illustrating warmth, cold, and loneliness all in one image.
After the jam, I created an Itch.io page (rayflower.itch.io/hearth-and-home), and Brian hosted the game on a web browser (teamsupertable.github.io/) to make the game more accessible to play. Overall, the game turned out really well and I am happy with it, especially since I accomplished my goal of working on a team for this Global Game Jam. I can't wait for next year's jam!