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Posted by patrickklepek (3478 posts) -

This is the second of three stories about my time at the Molyjam. Yesterday, you read about the one man army that is Juan Rubio, who created Bowl or Die! solo. Tomorrow, learn what Peter Molyneux thinks about...well, all of this.

--

Not everyone is Juan Rubio, a veritable swiss army knife of game development. When husband and wife collaborators Cody and Kari Clark showed up to What Would Molydeux? (aka the Molyjam) just a few weeks ago, Kari’s artistic chops and Cody’s design concepts were not enough to complete a game all on their own.

So, they found programmers. Two programmers, actually. Their names don’t matter, as both left the newly formed ensemble by Saturday morning. The Clarks found themselves without anyone to code their ideas into reality.

By then, just about everyone else at the jam had found a home. Cody hopped into the San Francisco Molyjam livestream chatroom desperately looking for programmers, and I tried to help over Twitter. There were no bites.

“This is what we call our panic moment,” said Cody. “Our first response was to go back to sleep.”

Kari couldn’t sleep. She rolled over, and tried to motivate Cody into action.

“I said, ‘Come on. Get up. We've got work to do!’” she said.

You have Cody to blame for the excessive amount of puns during Molyjam presentations.

Getting out of bed is the easy part. Soon, they were faced with the harsh realization that Molyjam’s first night, which many teams spent implementing their design ideas in a very basic form, was gone. Perhaps more importantly, neither of them had actually made a game before--that was the point of participating in Molyjam. Their sum total of time with development software amounted to zero.

Cody's a quality assurance manager for a mobile and web games company in Oakland, California, and had mulled over which tweet made the most sense at work the day before.

He eventually settled on the following piece of total insanity, which he'd codenamed The Mrs. Doubtfire game for a bit:

“Imagine if you had to secretly support your family via complex ventilation passages in your large industrial home?”

The name they settled on is incredible, too: Secret Dad.

Cody and Kari, married just over a year, had no hesitation about partnering up.

“I mean, sure, there was always the chance we could end up bickering about something,” said Cody, “but the whole event promised to be something really laid back and I didn't see that being a possibility.”

The next 36 hours would prove stressful and challenging, and alternatives were considered. The prospect of driving back into San Francisco and finding a team for Kari to work on made sense. While the design boat may have sailed for Cody, at least Kari could get some experience, one of the original reasons for participating in the jam.

Instead, Cody poked around some more, asked others for advice, and eventually settled on GameSalad, a middleware software specifically targeted at game designers without any programming experience. While Cody downloaded and installed GameSalad, Kari had booted up Adobe Illustrator and was drawing away.

Once GameSalad was ready and Cody saw the interface appear, there was not a sense of relief.

“I'm thinking ‘What is this I don't even.’” he said. “I put the deadline out of my head almost immediately. I knew if I didn't have anything playable, I just wouldn't present. But the thing that kept me driven was aiming for something that I could show people. I wanted to be able to say that we overcame the odds.”

Two hours of experimentation, Google searches and YouTube tutorials later, stuff was on-screen. It wasn’t much, and it was pretty crude, but compared to staying bummed out and staying in bed, it was huge.

“Even if we didn't finish anything, I didn't want to throw in the towel and walk away,” said Kari.

This is the basic but playable version of Secret Dad that Cody and Kari showed at the Molyjam.

But Secret Dad didn’t have a crucial ingredient: gameplay. There was an overhead map, characters drawn by Kari, collision detection, a bit of animation, and a single object to interact with. Even as it became clear there wouldn’t be much to Secret Dad when the deadline rolled around on Sunday, it didn’t matter.

“There wasn't much fear of failure for us,” said Cody, “because we were just having fun with the struggle.”

Some teams worked offsite for the Molyjam, but that wasn’t the norm. Most worked together while the CBS building was open, then shuffled to a local’s apartment. Cody and Kari had been working from home all of Saturday, but made the decision to come back into San Francisco on Sunday.

Being around everyone, as the whole room crunched towards the deadline, proved very motivating, even if Kari’s contributions to the project were now over, and all the pressure went over to Cody.

While Cody finished work on the game, Kari drummed up this terrific sketch of the game jam.

The goal for Sunday was to give Secret Dad a mechanic, the game’s basic stealth gameplay.

Work continued as the day pressed on. The submission deadline was pushed from 7:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., but even after 7:30 came and went, Cody kept working. At 8:00 p.m., when presentations began, he finally turned off GameSalad. The moment was here.

Near the end, almost three hours in, it’s Cody and Kari’s turn. Unfortunately, the archive of the very end got cut off and I’m still tracking down footage of them. It exists, I’m just waiting to get it.

“I was trying to stay calm and not be nervous,” said Cody, “but I knew at that moment that the most important thing was going to be explaining our situation to everyone.”

Some of the biggest applause of the evening was saved for them, as they recounted their sordid tale. The response was deafening.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘We DID it! We really did it!’” said Kari. “And it didn't suck, and everyone seemed to enjoy our effort, and I am so proud I can't even believe we did this on our own.”

Mission accomplished.

And like yesterday’s Bowl or Die!, the amazing thing is that you can download Secret Dad right now.

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3478 posts) -

This is the second of three stories about my time at the Molyjam. Yesterday, you read about the one man army that is Juan Rubio, who created Bowl or Die! solo. Tomorrow, learn what Peter Molyneux thinks about...well, all of this.

--

Not everyone is Juan Rubio, a veritable swiss army knife of game development. When husband and wife collaborators Cody and Kari Clark showed up to What Would Molydeux? (aka the Molyjam) just a few weeks ago, Kari’s artistic chops and Cody’s design concepts were not enough to complete a game all on their own.

So, they found programmers. Two programmers, actually. Their names don’t matter, as both left the newly formed ensemble by Saturday morning. The Clarks found themselves without anyone to code their ideas into reality.

By then, just about everyone else at the jam had found a home. Cody hopped into the San Francisco Molyjam livestream chatroom desperately looking for programmers, and I tried to help over Twitter. There were no bites.

“This is what we call our panic moment,” said Cody. “Our first response was to go back to sleep.”

Kari couldn’t sleep. She rolled over, and tried to motivate Cody into action.

“I said, ‘Come on. Get up. We've got work to do!’” she said.

You have Cody to blame for the excessive amount of puns during Molyjam presentations.

Getting out of bed is the easy part. Soon, they were faced with the harsh realization that Molyjam’s first night, which many teams spent implementing their design ideas in a very basic form, was gone. Perhaps more importantly, neither of them had actually made a game before--that was the point of participating in Molyjam. Their sum total of time with development software amounted to zero.

Cody's a quality assurance manager for a mobile and web games company in Oakland, California, and had mulled over which tweet made the most sense at work the day before.

He eventually settled on the following piece of total insanity, which he'd codenamed The Mrs. Doubtfire game for a bit:

“Imagine if you had to secretly support your family via complex ventilation passages in your large industrial home?”

The name they settled on is incredible, too: Secret Dad.

Cody and Kari, married just over a year, had no hesitation about partnering up.

“I mean, sure, there was always the chance we could end up bickering about something,” said Cody, “but the whole event promised to be something really laid back and I didn't see that being a possibility.”

The next 36 hours would prove stressful and challenging, and alternatives were considered. The prospect of driving back into San Francisco and finding a team for Kari to work on made sense. While the design boat may have sailed for Cody, at least Kari could get some experience, one of the original reasons for participating in the jam.

Instead, Cody poked around some more, asked others for advice, and eventually settled on GameSalad, a middleware software specifically targeted at game designers without any programming experience. While Cody downloaded and installed GameSalad, Kari had booted up Adobe Illustrator and was drawing away.

Once GameSalad was ready and Cody saw the interface appear, there was not a sense of relief.

“I'm thinking ‘What is this I don't even.’” he said. “I put the deadline out of my head almost immediately. I knew if I didn't have anything playable, I just wouldn't present. But the thing that kept me driven was aiming for something that I could show people. I wanted to be able to say that we overcame the odds.”

Two hours of experimentation, Google searches and YouTube tutorials later, stuff was on-screen. It wasn’t much, and it was pretty crude, but compared to staying bummed out and staying in bed, it was huge.

“Even if we didn't finish anything, I didn't want to throw in the towel and walk away,” said Kari.

This is the basic but playable version of Secret Dad that Cody and Kari showed at the Molyjam.

But Secret Dad didn’t have a crucial ingredient: gameplay. There was an overhead map, characters drawn by Kari, collision detection, a bit of animation, and a single object to interact with. Even as it became clear there wouldn’t be much to Secret Dad when the deadline rolled around on Sunday, it didn’t matter.

“There wasn't much fear of failure for us,” said Cody, “because we were just having fun with the struggle.”

Some teams worked offsite for the Molyjam, but that wasn’t the norm. Most worked together while the CBS building was open, then shuffled to a local’s apartment. Cody and Kari had been working from home all of Saturday, but made the decision to come back into San Francisco on Sunday.

Being around everyone, as the whole room crunched towards the deadline, proved very motivating, even if Kari’s contributions to the project were now over, and all the pressure went over to Cody.

While Cody finished work on the game, Kari drummed up this terrific sketch of the game jam.

The goal for Sunday was to give Secret Dad a mechanic, the game’s basic stealth gameplay.

Work continued as the day pressed on. The submission deadline was pushed from 7:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., but even after 7:30 came and went, Cody kept working. At 8:00 p.m., when presentations began, he finally turned off GameSalad. The moment was here.

Near the end, almost three hours in, it’s Cody and Kari’s turn. Unfortunately, the archive of the very end got cut off and I’m still tracking down footage of them. It exists, I’m just waiting to get it.

“I was trying to stay calm and not be nervous,” said Cody, “but I knew at that moment that the most important thing was going to be explaining our situation to everyone.”

Some of the biggest applause of the evening was saved for them, as they recounted their sordid tale. The response was deafening.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘We DID it! We really did it!’” said Kari. “And it didn't suck, and everyone seemed to enjoy our effort, and I am so proud I can't even believe we did this on our own.”

Mission accomplished.

And like yesterday’s Bowl or Die!, the amazing thing is that you can download Secret Dad right now.

Staff
#2 Posted by MatthewTheBeast (156 posts) -

Going to try this right now.

#3 Posted by mlarrabee (2886 posts) -

I'm going to not read the article and instead assume that Secret Dad is some alternate form of secret families.

#4 Posted by The_Reflection (241 posts) -

that is so cool that they did this. good job.

#5 Posted by StarvingGamer (8007 posts) -

Good read.

Also

said:

"Cody's a quality assurance manager for a mobile and web games company in Oakland, California, and had mulled over which tweet made the most sent at work the day before."

#6 Posted by BeachThunder (11702 posts) -

Is it Cody or Codi?

#7 Posted by probablytuna (3539 posts) -

Can't wait to check this out, GG.

#8 Edited by Cheeky (13 posts) -

That atmosphere and the level of support that was shown to these guys during presentations was --without intention of hyperbole-- overwhelming. The fact that they stuck it through and did their best to just enjoy the weekend and get something done, says so much about both the two individuals and the feel of the jam itself. The raucous whoops and laughter of appreciative co-jammers made me feel joyously positive about the whole event --and i wasn't even there. It really was an emotionally powerful moment.

One of the most wonderful things is that in the few days that followed, the pair received a host of requests from game developers around the world asking to be allowed to work with Cody and Kari to help turn Secret Dad into a finished product. What a great little story!

#9 Posted by stinky (1544 posts) -

got an Arrested Development vibe

Online
#10 Posted by geekbot (110 posts) -

Any chance someone could explain to me how to run the game? All I can manage to do is open up a bunch of folders and find files that aren't executable. :/

#11 Posted by celegorm_menegroth (63 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: Three original words typed. Two words complimentary. One conjunction. Zero sentences.

Four words emboldened to criticize someone who writes for a living.

Impressive.

Patrick, I enjoyed the article. Why so many people take it upon themselves to publicly, and in a negative way, belabor under the premise that they are your editor, I have no idea.

Thank you very much, Patrick, for telling the rest of us some positive news, rather than focusing on the negative aspects of what goes on around us. It's really nice to read these kinds of stories in an industry that's filled with bitching about endings, cancellations and firings coming down the pipe on a regular basis.

#12 Posted by stinky (1544 posts) -

@geekbot said:

Any chance someone could explain to me how to run the game? All I can manage to do is open up a bunch of folders and find files that aren't executable. :/

worked on my mac, .app

Online
#13 Posted by geekbot (110 posts) -

@stinky said:

@geekbot said:

Any chance someone could explain to me how to run the game? All I can manage to do is open up a bunch of folders and find files that aren't executable. :/

worked on my mac, .app

Is it Mac only? I'm on a PC.

#14 Posted by heatDrive88 (2268 posts) -

Such a cool story.

#15 Posted by serverfull (56 posts) -

Should be mentioned it is Mac Only.

#16 Posted by StarvingGamer (8007 posts) -

@celegorm_menegroth: Defensive much? Who says I'm criticizing? If I wrote an article that included a typo I'd fucking want to know so I could correct it. Fucksakes.

#17 Posted by Seb (358 posts) -

So cool.

#18 Posted by NipCrip66 (123 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: that was my first thought too.

Online
#19 Posted by JayCee (568 posts) -

These stories have been great Patrick, thank you for sharing them. So wonderful to hear the personal stories that have emerged from the Molyjam and I am glad that the community gave them so much love for their hard work.

#20 Posted by slyin (9 posts) -

@StarvingGamer: calm down princess

also,

good article.

#21 Posted by MrMazz (921 posts) -

Been digging these stories out of MolyJam

#22 Posted by CottonWolf (88 posts) -

Loving these stories.

Also, this needs to forever stay on the front page so I can always 'Dig Deeper into Peter Molyneux.'

#23 Posted by patrickklepek (3478 posts) -

Guys, pointing out a typo is fine. I prefer it in PM, but a comment is okay, too. Chill!

Staff
#24 Posted by SurferZ (92 posts) -

Nice story. Excited for Molyneux's input.

#25 Posted by vonFlampanker (327 posts) -

I've been using GameSalad since Patrick mentioned it on the post-Molyjam Bombcast. It's a godsend for a guy like me: Game design in mind and an understanding of the overarching concepts of programming but missing the ability to get the syntax quite right. You can see it building loops and functions and if-statements without having to worry about every last semicolon and bracket.

It also illustrates the importance of a good title: "Secret Dad" is a flat-out winner.

Digging these stories quite a bit. This one's especially inspiring and I'm glad it turned out so well for them.

#26 Edited by CptBedlam (4449 posts) -

Great stories. Much kudos for everyone who participated in this endeavor. I didn't expect any playable result tbh but I was proven wrong.

I can see this being an annual and growing thing. There is just so much creative "spirit" out there and Molyjam is a great outlet for this spirit. And it sounds hella fun ...despite it being a whole game development cycle condensed into three days, including crunch-time.

#27 Posted by eccentrix (1504 posts) -

"“I said, ‘Come on. Get up. We've got work to do!’” she said." I love this sentence.

#28 Posted by vinsanityv22 (1064 posts) -

I thought you guys were going to do Quick Looks about these games. I don't wanna read a novel about them.

#29 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@vinsanityv22 said:

I thought you guys were going to do Quick Looks about these games. I don't wanna read a novel about them.

Cool story, bro.

This story is truly inspiring.

#30 Posted by Sveppi (126 posts) -

What was the name of them game where the tutorials came after gameplay?

#31 Posted by Draxyle (1793 posts) -

Love this story. I've always wanted to get into game design but I long since decided that it was far too complex for me to handle. Maybe not so much anymore, with enough time devoted to it.

#32 Posted by patrickklepek (3478 posts) -

@Sveppi said:

What was the name of them game where the tutorials came after gameplay?

Nebulous Hero.

Staff
#33 Posted by Megasoum (351 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

Guys, pointing out a typo is fine. I prefer it in PM, but a comment is okay, too. Chill!

How about clicking on the spellcheck in Word? Or you know...reading your article before putting them up? It's not like you are writting a 1000 pages long book.

#34 Posted by Sveppi (126 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

@Sveppi said:

What was the name of them game where the tutorials came after gameplay?

Nebulous Hero.

Thanks a million, and keep up the great work :)

#35 Edited by Bollard (5256 posts) -

@celegorm_menegroth said:

@StarvingGamer: Three original words typed. Two words complimentary. One conjunction. Zero sentences.

Four words emboldened to criticize someone who writes for a living.

Yo, it wouldn't be as much of a problem if he didn't do this nearly every article.

Proof reading Klepek, goddamnit.

But these stories are real good, tis a shame it seems there might only be three of them! I could go for more, that's for sure.

#36 Posted by fishmicmuffin (1041 posts) -

That was a fun story. Thanks, Patrick.

#37 Edited by Brighty (251 posts) -

@Megasoum said:

@patrickklepek said:

Guys, pointing out a typo is fine. I prefer it in PM, but a comment is okay, too. Chill!

How about clicking on the spellcheck in Word? Or you know...reading your article before putting them up? It's not like you are writting a 1000 pages long book.

Jesus Christ man, stop being such a condescending dick. I'm sorry you're bitter and jaded at the world around you, but manifesting that teenage angst and lashing out over the internet over typos on a news article won't solve anything. All it does is just make you look even more pathetic. The delicious irony of it all is that there are nearly half a dozen grammatical mistakes in your three sentences alone that are complaining about there being grammatical mistakes.

Anyway Patrick, keep up the good work.

#38 Posted by porr (178 posts) -

Good goin!

#39 Posted by chrismafuchris (1088 posts) -

Will there be any word on the other competitions?

#40 Posted by Megasoum (351 posts) -

@Brighty said:

@Megasoum said:

@patrickklepek said:

Guys, pointing out a typo is fine. I prefer it in PM, but a comment is okay, too. Chill!

How about clicking on the spellcheck in Word? Or you know...reading your article before putting them up? It's not like you are writting a 1000 pages long book.

Jesus Christ man, stop being such a condescending dick. I'm sorry you're bitter and jaded at the world around you, but manifesting that teenage angst and lashing out over the internet over typos on a news article won't solve anything. All it does is just make you look even more pathetic. The delicious irony of it all is that there are nearly half a dozen grammatical mistakes in your three sentences alone that are complaining about there being grammatical mistakes.

Anyway Patrick, keep up the good work.

Wow really? lol... Who's condescending and "lashing out" here?

Did I do something to you in the past that I might have forgotten? I killed one of you puppy or something? Wow wtf...

#41 Posted by dannyodwyer (354 posts) -

Much respect to them both. The first time programming a game is so daunting, I can't imagine even trying to create something worthwhile in 48, let alone, 36 hours. Gratz!

#42 Posted by Picsl (201 posts) -

cool

#43 Posted by Sharpless (457 posts) -

I swear, this is one of the most bitchy, ungrateful communities I've ever seen.

#44 Posted by insanejedi (655 posts) -

@Brighty said:

@Megasoum said:

@patrickklepek said:

Guys, pointing out a typo is fine. I prefer it in PM, but a comment is okay, too. Chill!

How about clicking on the spellcheck in Word? Or you know...reading your article before putting them up? It's not like you are writting a 1000 pages long book.

Jesus Christ man, stop being such a condescending dick. I'm sorry you're bitter and jaded at the world around you, but manifesting that teenage angst and lashing out over the internet over typos on a news article won't solve anything. All it does is just make you look even more pathetic. The delicious irony of it all is that there are nearly half a dozen grammatical mistakes in your three sentences alone that are complaining about there being grammatical mistakes.

Anyway Patrick, keep up the good work.

It's his job. If we were paid to post comments then that would be different. We should not hold Patrick's writing to that of the writing on Giant Bomb comment posts.

#45 Posted by Phoenix87 (472 posts) -

I already played this games, but it was originally called "My Childhood". I always wondered where my dad was, but apparently he was just in the air vent all this time. Thanks Molyjam, now I can stop crying myself to sleep every night.

#46 Posted by Gee_rad (61 posts) -

@Megasoum said:

@Brighty said:

@Megasoum said:

How about clicking on the spellcheck in Word? Or you know...reading your article before putting them up? It's not like you are writting a 1000 pages long book.

Jesus Christ man, stop being such a condescending dick. I'm sorry you're bitter and jaded at the world around you, but manifesting that teenage angst and lashing out over the internet over typos on a news article won't solve anything. All it does is just make you look even more pathetic. The delicious irony of it all is that there are nearly half a dozen grammatical mistakes in your three sentences alone that are complaining about there being grammatical mistakes.

Anyway Patrick, keep up the good work.

Wow really? lol... Who's condescending and "lashing out" here?

Did I do something to you in the past that I might have forgotten? I killed one of you puppy or something? Wow wtf...

Dear Megasoum,

I respectfully request that you stop being such a jerk. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Gee_rad

#47 Posted by kmg90 (415 posts) -

Here is a link to the live demo

#48 Posted by Y2Ken (1072 posts) -

These are pretty damn inspiring.

#49 Posted by beard_of_zeus (1670 posts) -

Their experience sounds stressful as fuck. Honestly, the whole game jam experience seems incredibly stressful. I already have a tough enough time getting programming done on far more lenient schedules than a couple days.
 
Mad props to these two for being able to put a game together like this, hopefully they are very proud of themselves (as they should be!).

#50 Posted by Kovski (169 posts) -

I think the whole MolyJam would have been hundred times awesomer, if they didn't have had to make simple games out of the ideas, because in those 48h or whatever it took most games is bounded to end up way to simple for the awesome ideas and creativity that is behind the project itself. Like I would have been totally fine if these too just made a really awesome pitch. Because in the end isn't it more true to the Molyneux spirit to showcase awesome ideas without actually any finished gameplay?

With that said, I love every tiny bit of MolyJam and what game jams do, even if the games themselves are not much of games and some are barely playable, they still showcase lots of ideas, creativity and potential!