A short platformer about love and anxiety
Making Lovebird Submerged has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. It is the product of open, non-hierarchical collaboration with several incredibly talented, thoughtful, and cooperative people whom I have the honor of calling my friends. When we agreed to team up for a game jam, we had no idea what we wanted to make. We threw ideas at the wall and saw what stuck. The core experience we decided to build on was that of drowning in the 90’s Sonic games, scrambling anxiously while increasingly tense music heralds your impending doom. We though we’d make it about birds, because everyone on the team loved birds. We made the birds gay, because most of the team was gay. One of the team members worked at a post office, so we tossed that in, too. From these disparate parts, we figured, we would assemble something harmonious.
Although we found a way to reasonably unify our ideas, we still lacked a clear central vision, a sense of what Lovebird was about at its core. The pieces were all there, but there was no direction. This proved to be a challenge — but an important one. It was a game jam, after all. It was supposed to be about learning. In the end, since I was the sole programmer and therefore the party responsible for making everything come together, I volunteered to take responsibility for directing the game, ensuring that all team members were on the same page, and coordinating with them to assess and address assets needs. While I originally meant for this game jam to help me learn about Unity, the most important lessons I learned were about myself: how I work with my peers, how I approach (and, contrastingly, how I should approach) power and control, and where the limits of my energy and abilities lie.
When My First Game Jam 2018 concluded, Lovebird’s core mechanics were in place, and we submitted a demo featuring a sample level to show them off. Since then, the game’s systems have been refined and expanded, but we’re still in the process of designing levels. Even though Lovebird remains in production, I’m very proud of what we have created, and especially of the work done by my talented and very dedicated teammates, without whom this game would be nothing.
You can download the Lovebird Submerged demo on itch.io. Full credits on itch.io page.