A few months ago, I attended the ICT Game Jam here in Wichita, KS. I met many enthusiastic, aspiring developers from all levels of skill. When grouped into teams and given a prompt and a few days to work together in peace, some very interesting games were created. At the end of the jam, many teams promised to stick together, talk again, finish their games, or otherwise use their newfound knowledge and connections to continue the foray into game development. I was happy to discover, a few weeks ago, that at least one team kept that promise.
Quick Draw Games Studio, creators of Opossum: The Power to Play Dead at the ICT Game Jam, stuck together, adding one other member from a different team to their ranks. They have a big vision for game development in the city. I met up with them at a local pub, the Hopping Gnome Brewery, to check out their nearly-finished title made specifically for the brewery. Brian Foster, Nicolas Gallo, and Cody Harryman met me, beers in hand, in front of a large TV screen set up in the brewery. On screen. four colorful gnomes were bouncing around on platforms, rolling barrels, and stomping on each other’s heads.
That’s the idea behind Brewery War, an adorable brawler made especially for the Hopping Gnome, where four players can get together and stomp on each other’s heads repeatedly until one gnome reigns supreme. With each stomp you dish out, your colored meter fills a little more. The winner is the first to fill his or her (there are both male and female gnomes now!) bar completely, and the prize is (if your buddies are willing to pick it up) a mug courtesy of the losers:
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Brewery War is currently playable and fun, but Quick Draw has plans for some tweaks: they want to add new maps, some different animations and voices for the gnomes, and more obstacles, such as beer-spewing barrels and really big gnome hats. While I visited, they had a camera set up for people to record their thoughts on the game and make suggestions for additions, and even added sound effects between playthroughs. Their goal is to make a polished product to set up in the brewery as a special attraction for patrons, before moving on to other local businesses and customizing games based on their mascots. They already have their eyes on a donut shop next door, whose mascot is a rooster.
Since I visited, it looks like they’re working on a new level, too:
Quick Draw is a shining example of local development working to transform a community. In just two months, they’ve created a playable, enjoyable experience that’s bringing traffic to a local business, and are progressing rapidly on a plan to expand further. Though Wichita may not be the first stop on anyone’s world tour, those visiting would do well to check out the Hopping Gnome and Brewery War. From a community that, until a few months ago, sported very little in the way of game development and opportunities, Brewery War is an impressive feat. Three cheers to Quick Draw–I’m looking forward to enjoying a pint with the finished product soon!