Ali Wallick

Game Developer




February 1, 2013

Global Game Jam 2013: Cor Ex Machina

I regrouped this year with some old team members from Critter3 and a couple of new faces to participate in another game jam. The theme was “heartbeat” and the game we came out with is called “Cor Ex Machina” – a herding game taking place inside of a robot’s heart. The game was developed in Unity3D by 8 developers – 3 programmers and 5 artists, all designing. We ended up taking second place for Atlanta!

This year posed some interesting new challenges. We started off with a ton of ideas, but none of them seemed to come together into a cohesive, basic mechanic that worked so well for Critter3. We finally decided we liked the idea of a ‘herding’ mechanic where you pulled blood cells along a stream with you, helping bring as many as possible as you went. The basic mechanic worked well, but we had issues making the camera, the controls, and the goal feel right. By Saturday evening we decided to scrap all but the basic coding process and start over with the idea of of a steampunk feel in mind. Our result in those final 18 hours was what you see above. The last night was tiring, but due to our amazing team we got something that came out looking awesome!

Overall it was an amazing experience. To me, Global Game Jam is like a motivation jumpstart. When working at my job and on long-term side projects it can seem like nothing is ever getting done, so when I sit down to this, it’s invigorating. Having a game go from nothing to solid playable prototype in less than 2 days is powerful. In fact, since then we have been meeting in an attempt to reboot Critter into a complete game (yay!!), but that is for another update.

Visit the Project Page to learn more.

May 20, 2011

Critter3 and Entelechy

This past weekend I got to attend Savannah College of Art and Design’s Game Developers eXchange (GDX). The conference itself was a lot of fun – very small, but several speakers from large companies (Bungie, Rockstar, Value, Firaxis). The speakers were mostly talking about art-related subjects (as SCAD is an art school), but there were many valuable insights into working in the gaming industry.

Anyways, the main reason I took the four hour trip from Atlanta to Savannah was because one of my games – Critter3 was entered into their annual contest – Entelechy! The contest has several categories such as character design, concept art, installation art (again mostly related to art), but ours was placed into the game prototype category.

So how did I get into this SCAD contest? Critter3 was the game that I created with several others for Global Game Jam this past January. Two other Georgia Tech students and I teamed up with four Interactive Design and Game Development majors from SCAD and created the game in 48 hours (a pretty big accomplishment if I do say so myself!) We ended up liking the game so much that the SCAD students are using it as their senior post-production project. They’re sprucing up the graphics and were sprucing up the game and hoping to eventually release on mobile platforms (yay Unity!) They’re also doing some really neat advertising for the project – creating t-shirts, posters, and business cards (pictured).

Anyways, back to Entelechy. The contest placed us alongside many of the student projects from the past year, and we were finalists! The game was shown at the reception and we had a bunch of people playing it, having fun and giving us some great feedback. It was an awesome time!

Very exciting!! Soon hopefully we’ll get the rest of the world playing too!

May 17, 2011

Ice Climber Hopscotch

So a few weeks ago, for my Game Design as a Cultural Practice class, we had a “chalk games” day. For the duration, I teamed up with classmates Robert Soloman and David Dudley. The actual goal of the game was to create a chalk game based off a digital video game.

We decided to base our game off of Ice Climber, a game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The general concept was a similar game to hopscotch, but requires two players to hold hands while moving from square to squares. Squares were arranged in increasing difficulty for the players to traverse together, and numbered from 1 – 10. Once players reach a higher numbered square, they cannot return to lower numbered ones.

The game became a really cool collaborative experience that we had a lot of fun with! Bernie DeKoven even blogged (more than once) about the class, specifically mentioning our game: “You have to love the creativity – not only of the game, but of the way in which it is played. There’s a real problem that has to be figured out, a strategy that has to be developed – what’s the best way – or any way – for us to get from place to place to place. Partner hopscotch – a concept that I’d like to see in every street and playground, wherever hopscotch is played. What a gift! ” (Hopscotch & Beyond, cont’d by Bernie DeKoven).

I really enjoyed the exercise (and the result itself) – coming up with an outdoor game like this, limited by your pieces of chalk, is really great for any game designer to play with!

May 6, 2011


So it’s been a while, but not for lack of new things to add! I’ve been CRAZY busy this semester with class and finishing my undergraduate career forever!

That’s right, I’m graduating in 2 days!

It has been a crazy ride, I can’t believe it has already been four years since I first got here. Wow. I’m really gonna miss this place.

Anyways, expect a lot coming soon – I’ll be adding four new games and a research project to my site! I’ve got three Unity games. The first is from my Global Game Jam submission (see previous update). The next two are from classes – my senior design project (a game that networks the iPad to four iPhones for a cool multiplayer experience), and an augmented reality game for the Android phone. My fourth game is my first Flash game! I’ll also be updating my research project – this semester I worked on a tabletop polling app being developed for Turner.

I can’t wait to show them off, check back soon!

February 3, 2011

Global Game Jam!

This weekend I was part of Global Game Jam. The basic idea behind it is to create a group with new people and make a game based on a theme in 48 hours. It’s supposed to be tough – participants usually get very little sleep and spend their waking hours constantly making the game. And that was basically our weekend!

Our team, “Team Pandas is Stupid” was formed from 3 Georgia Tech students and 4 SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). I didn’t know the SCAD students, so I was happy to end up with an awesome group!! We all worked very well together and each person had their part – 3 programmers, 3 artists, and a technical artist to bridge the gap.

The theme for the year was “extinction”, and our take on it was to create a cube world in which animals inhabiting each side of the cube require different resources to survive. To solve this puzzle, the player must balance the elements on all sides of the cube so that each animal is happy. The game has two modes: easy (with 2 elements) and hard (with 3 elements).

In the future, we hope to expand the game to create a tutorial and more difficulty modes. Eventually the team would like to release the game on the iPhone and/or Android platform!

I’ll be making a page on my website soon, but in the mean time, check out the game, Critter^3 at the Global Game Jam entry. Instructions are on the page, and download links are at the bottom! Enjoy!

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