At the December 2012 Berlin Mini Game Jam, two of the highest voted themes were “Wait… it’s not what you think it is…” and “Why do people run away from me?“. I have been satisfied of the results when I remix games that are available as open source, because it lets me concentrate on the additions I want to put into an existing design. This time I decided to take Jason Rohrer’s “Passage“, a famous art game from 2007 which was released into the public domain, as a basis for my modification, and combined the two themes together.
“Glass Half Empty” can also be called an artgame, or notgame. The story it tells, however, is very different from the original, even though I reused most of the assets and code, changing only some of the mechanics. The actual meaning of what is happening inside the game is up to the interpretation of the player. As author, I put an intended meaning into it, but I will keep it a secret. I find it more interesting if the players can discuss their own point of view, and maybe someone will bring in new insights that not even I was consciously looking after when choosing the elements I put there.
I also want to mention that I saw a documentary about Philip K. Dick on Youtube the day before the jam, and I think it also influenced me.
Dealing with Rohrer’s code wasn’t too difficult, I must praise it, although there were some problems with the way the pixel information is coded in the different channels (R, G, B), which seems to behave differently in the various platforms I ported the game to. Hopefully you won’t see any color artifacts. What was hard for me, however, was to remix the soundtrack, which is encoded as a picture that I modified using GIMP. Without a musical education, it was a bit problematic to figure out how what I was drawing would sound.
If you don’t know Passage yet, I recommend you to play it first.
- Downloadable game (Windows + Linux + Mac)
- Source code