I was fortunate enough to team up with Sarah and Ben Morgan once again, this time for the 2019 Global Game Jam. This year was an absolute blast, thanks to a really clever theme and a killer team to work with.

The 2019 Global Game Jam theme, which every game has to adhere to in some way, was:

What Home Means to You

So, naturally, we made a game about a hermit crab who finds a new shell, decorates it, and then moves on to a new one.

Home is, like most fundamental things, surprisingly complicated when you start thinking about it. We had all moved a fair bit in our lives, and we were discussing themes like wage stagnation versus the always-rising cost of housing and the elusiveness of affordable home ownership. And rather than get all bummed out about it, we decided to make something a little more lighthearted and charming.

Hermit crabs don’t always keep the same shell throughout their lives — they can change multiple times per day, even. (Thanks, Wikipedia.) But no matter how fleeting your time in a single house may be, you can still make it a home, and it’ll still be there after you’re gone.

I’m particularly proud of how many things we managed to bring together in such a short period of time, especially considering that I spent literally eight hours of the 48-hour jam diagnosing incomprehensible C# and .NET errors. (Turns out the C# plugin for Visual Studio Code can’t read key files if they’re housed in a folder with an “é” in the name. Seriously.) The movement feels pretty good, the animation on the grab and item highlights is clean and fun, and the audiovisual consistency (thanks entirely to Ben and Sarah’s collaboration") is some of the best I’ve ever worked with. This is a game that I feel great about as-is, but it’s fun to think about where a game about creating homes and then leaving them behind could go from here.