Adventure Jam 2017 – The Artifact Isle

Up to this point I have only participated in one other game jam – the One Button Jam on so when I caught word of the Adventure Jam on GameJolt, I decided to have another go at one. The decision came after playing Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and experimenting with an open world in Unity. I decided I could use what I learned in these experiments to to make more than just a tech demo – an actual game. When I reached this conclusion, the jam wouldn’t begin for another 2 weeks but I was free to plan everything out before then. I really didn’t have an idea for a story at this point, but I knew I wanted it to involve puzzle-based trials (like Zelda’s shrines) so I just had to find a reason for them to exist. I tossed around a few ideas but eventually landed on:

With a basis for a story decided on I set out to design the puzzles and abilities I wanted the player to utilize for them. Having worked on a few 3D platformers meant that I was already familiar with creating a host of platformer-standard abilities: wall jumps, ground pounds, etc. After starting with about 10 or so different ones I eventually worked it down to just 5 as to not overwhelm myself in the 2 weeks I had to make this game – grabbing and throwing objects, double jump, wall jump, ground pound, and gliding. Giving the player full access to them right away may be a bit overwhelming so I took the Banjo-Kazooie route and made the player earn them over time. Introducing them in the trials meant I could force the player to use them in a specific situation as a means to train them for the final challenge where all of the abilities would be needed.

By now the jam had begun, so I set out to create the world. Having played with World Creator previously for my open-world tech demo, I knew that it would be the perfect tool to quickly generate a detailed landscape in an insanely short amount of time – literally only taking about an hour to get a player-friendly layout complete with foliage and trees. With the general story and core gameplay established, I now had the complex task of finding a way to communicate the story to the player. I didn’t want to go the general NPC route as this would require a fair bit of time to implement AI and such. Instead I went with “memory” areas, where the player can activate a camera sequence with dialog explaining the world (and the lack of any other people on the island).

Without giving anything else about the story away, I would love if you would download and play the game below or over at either or Game Jolt!

Game Jolt:

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