Rocketbeans Beansjam

2017 is the year I managed to check one thing off my bucket list – standing in front of a camera with the Rocketbeans! I have been watching their show since it was called Game One when it was still running on MTV and Viva.

My favorite rubric back then was “Eine Stunde mit”, a one-hour-long gameplay session of any recent game. It was this series which made me buy Far Cry 3 which then became undoubtedly my favourite game until today.

As a fan I always wanted to be part of their show in some professional way. So on the 19th of May this year I finally managed to do so. They were looking for participants for the Beansjam 2017, meaning a team that would develop a game within 48 hours in the Rocketbeans studios for their 24/7 live online TV show. I have participated (and organized) Gamejams before, so this was a perfect opportunity for me. I simply applied to the Facebook call and soon got the confirmation that I was in.

Super excited I packed a bag and hopped on a train to Hamburg. As soon as I arrived I met my five fellow team members and the moderators of the Gamejam Daniel Budiman (Budi) and Simon Krätschmer. The Gamejam started off by presenting possible topics to the audience of the livestream and have them vote for one. The topic ended up being “Space Mafia”. The Gamejam was open for public, so while we worked in front of the camera, the viewers could participate by developing their own games and submitting them to the Beansjam Gamejolt website.

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We started discussing within the team which art style and game engine we should use and overall how to use our skillset in the best possible way. We decided to go with pixel art and Unity. For the gameplay we chose to have a character being chased by the Space Mafia, while gathering fuel by collecting “Raketenbrause” (Rocketbeans own trademarked energy drink) to hop from planet to planet to escape. We weren’t asked to include any Rocketbeans branding but we thought it was fun, as well for us and for the community who was watching.

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During the Beansjam with more than 5000 active viewers

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I started drafting out some planets, backgrounds and possible obstacle assets, which the player has to overcome by flying around them. I had a lot of fun just sketching out hats as decoration for the player’s character. This went on for a while until eventually it became a running gag between me, the team and the Twitch/ YouTube chat which the audience uses to communicate and interact with the livestream. We decided to include the hats as a gameplay element by which the player can pick up different hats on every planet, which then transform him/ her to a different character from the “Boniversum” (the Rocketbeans universe) and provide special abilities. So if the player picks up Eddy’s cap for example, the controls will be inverted, because Eddy is left-handed. Or if the player picks up the “Captain Captain, Captain of all Captains” hat (a super badass character from the Boniversum), it will make him/ her invincible.

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The hats I created for the player’s characters
Some of my “Mafia” related obstacles
Some of my planets and backgrounds

Aside from our own work, we tried to include the input from the viewers as much as possible. We asked for feature ideas and assets and the audience responded on Twitter and Email, sending us supportive texts, ideas and assets. This is what made this Beansjam so special and fun and any other Gamejam in which I participate in the future will have to live up to this experience. Someone (@Cube1992 on Twitter) even created me as a character for the game and it can be unlocked by entering the famous ‘Konami Code’ ↑, ↑, ↓, ↓, ←, →, ←, →, B, A, start, select.

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The Leonie bean!

Whenever we were not working on the game we either munched down the delicious burgers that were provided by the Rocketbeans team or catched a few hours of sleep in the folding beds that were kindly set up for us in the studio offices. At this point I really want to thank all the people behind the scenes for providing us with food, water, rooms to sleep, advise, tech and help! I’ve hardly met any other people who treated me so kindly and respectfully and just were happy for having us as guests, while I felt like it’s an honor for me to even be there. During the whole Gamejam I felt so unreal to actually sit in the Rocketbeans studio and meet all those cool and kind people.

After 48 hours the Beanjsam ended on Sunday at 21 pm. Tired but very happy we uploaded our working prototype called “Mafia Ballern Fliegen” to Gamejolt and called the Gamejam a success. The game can be reviewed and downloaded here:

Overall this Beansjam was an amazing experience and it meant a lot for me to be able to be part of a team of developers and work together with the Rocketbeans at this crazy event. I keep looking back at my teenage self and how much I have grown from then to this moment. Thanks again for having me!

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The team, Dima, Budi, Simon and me.