Global Game Jam Presents: The Community Spotlight: Ben Speer

Ben Speer: "Global Game Jam event made it easy to step way out of my comfort zone and into a lifelong dream. I'll definitely be participating again."

Ben took part in the Global Game Jam 2022, on the Oklahoma Game Developers / Oklahoma City University Gaming and Animation jam site. This is his story and greetings to the Global Game Jam Community.

"My name is Ben and I'm a 37 years old programmer who's always wanted to get into game development, but never took the plunge. Late last year, I picked up Unity and in January 2022 I joined my first game jam, GGJ22. I was hoping to learn the ropes from some more veteran people in the industry, but my group was just other new people learning as well. Nevertheless, everyone stepped up and we made a game I'm proud of.

With the theme of Duality, we focused on light and dark. Shadow of the Sphinx takes you exploring through a pyramid where you must stay in the light. Floor panels make the areas of light shift which then help you navigate the maze until you find the sarcophagus. Spoiler alert! When you touch it, you're cursed and must traverse the shadows out of the pyramid. All the areas of light you created are now areas you must avoid as you escape.

Personally, I contributed through some programming and the level design. It was a blast creating a maze that slowly revealed its solution to the player. Even moreso was letting my 8 years old boy play it afterwards. Watching him light up as he figured out the problems was so gratifying. And when he triggered the twist and needed to escape the curse, his little heart fell and then he stepped up to the challenge and escaped the pyramid. It was just a little 10-minute experience, but that cemented my desire to pursue game development.

GGJ22 Ben's boy playing the jam game on pc

I am so thankful to GGJ22 and the site organizers in OKC, and to my fellow jam-mates: Randy, Domino, and Benjamin. This event made it easy to step way out of my comfort zone and into a lifelong dream. I'll definitely be participating again."