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Mar 10

Mar 10

thatgamecompany’s 24hr Game Jam

Kellee Santiago's Avatar Posted by President and co-founder of thatgamecompany

Hello, I’m Kellee Santiago from thatgamecompany, creators of flOw, and currently in development on Flower. The fine people at Playstation.Blog are good enough to allow me to use my first post here to let you all in on a little thing we have going on here at thatgamecompany call the 24hr Game Jam.

Championed by our lead engineer John Edwards, the 24hr Game Jam was created as a way for us to do something quick, dirty, and fun … and maybe let out a little steam in the process. The goal is always to make a game, from start to finish, on the PS3 in 24hrs. We go from 10am Saturday to 10am Sunday, and then whatever we have, we lock it up. Future Game Jams might have more specific goals, but for this first one, we just wanted to see how much fun we could make in a day. Oh, and our game designer Nick Clark wanted something that was multiplayer that we could enjoy in the office.

So welcome … to Game Jam 0: Gravediggers


  • To see how much fun we could generate in 24 hours.
  • To make something multiplayer we could play in the office.



You are a gravedigger. There can be up to 6 gravediggers competing against one another locally. You move with an analog stick, jump with the “X” button, and shoot with Right Bumper. Oh yeah, you are a gravedigger with a pistol.


You are killing zombies. There are lots of them. More specifically you are collecting zombie heads. When you kill a zombie, their head pops off and you can collect them.


In order to get a point for your head, you must deposit heads into a crypt. There are two crypts on the level, but they can move around in the middle of a game.


You can shoot other players, and collect their heads. Their heads are worth more. In addition, you will be able to collect all of the zombie heads they have gathered so far.


If you are shot by another player or a zombie chomps you to death, your head will pop off and you will become a zombie. (“Rise from your grave….”) You can still chomp other players, but you can’t deposit heads, and you will remain a zombie until you find your head. If another player deposits your head in a crypt, it will pop up somewhere else on the level.

The ground is very soft. If it’s in your way, I suggest shooting a path through it. It’s a lot more fun. Every level is randomly generated.

Along the way, you might pick up special weapons:

  • Uzi (fast pistol)
  • mines (explode on impact)
  • satchel charges (detonated on command)
  • the uber-weapon, the shotgun.

If you pick one up, it will automatically become your new default weapon.

The first player to deposit 50 heads wins. Below is a play-through with five players.

And there you have it! The product of 24hrs straight work on the PS3. I’m not sure if it plays well on video, but I gotta tell you the game is large amounts of ridiculous fun for us to play. Maybe you have to be there. At any rate, I’m looking forward to reporting back from our next Game Jam, and I hope you all got a kick out of this one!

Add Your Own

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EvoAnubis said:

March 11th, 4:41 pm

Just read this on kotaku. I think it’s really quite cool.

rakinupdapoints said:

March 11th, 5:05 pm

Very great idea and it looks like a great game from the good old days.

I wish we were able to play it. I understand that you were doing it for your company. Why would you show it to us if we can’t play it?

spynose said:

March 11th, 5:30 pm

Kellee Santiago replied on March 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

On the PS3 or just in general? In general, you can use any language you like!

And on the PS3?

Ar-Pharazon said:

March 11th, 5:36 pm


I think it was so we could vicariously enjoy their bleary-eyed craziness. I enjoyed it on that basis.

spike021 said:

March 11th, 5:54 pm

It would most definitely be for other platforms, but for PS3, I wouldn’t be able to do that, of course. Although, I guess, I could do it as a PSP ‘brew game, but thats kind of illegal… so probably for Mac OS X.

And I took a look at the blog, that looks pretty interesting, and I’m sure that I will take a more in-depth look.

firen said:

March 11th, 7:30 pm

You should seriously disregard the negative posts. I think what you’re doing is an excellent idea. In my college we have a game dev club and these are the sort of things that really inspire me to create games! Please continue to show games that you quickly put together, or just works in progress. It’s really fascinating seeing what kind of projects your working on and how a game studio works.

Keep up the good work and I hope to hear from you again soon!

TheN1Armyguy said:

March 11th, 7:36 pm

I’m not trying to down you guys at thatgamecompany or anything, but I really don’t think there is a point to this post. I honestly don’t care about a game that I will probably never get to play, and that you guys get to play it everyday without us.

I’m not discouraging you to do this, I’m just saying that there is really not point in posting this if it doesn’t effect us in anyway.

But other than that, you guys did a good job and everything.

WHAT said:

March 12th, 6:34 am

Everything is kind of up in the air right now. Let me get back to you. ;)

ANUBIS209 said:

March 12th, 7:02 am

Dont get me wrong I love my PS3 but showing the power of the PS3 with graphics and gameplay of the atari days is not my taste sorry :(

Ar-Pharazon said:

March 12th, 8:37 am

@110: That wasn’t the point.

OrganicShadow said:

March 12th, 9:24 am

@Kellee: What is this Cloud you speak of??? :D

    Kellee Santiago's Avatar

    Kellee Santiago said:

    March 12th, 10:47 am

    Cloud is the student project from USC that many of us worked on, and is what got publishers interested in us in the first place. It\’s a free PC game:

    Remember, though, it was a student project!

firen said:

March 12th, 12:52 pm

Sorry for the double post


I hope you guys continue to do these sort of posts. I really enjoy it and im sure there are more people like me. Most people don’t get the point of this post but that’s okay, you should continue to post this anyway.


firen said:

March 12th, 12:54 pm

Sorry for double post

I really hope you continue to post these sort of projects. I am sure there are people like me who appreciate what goes on behind the scenes and would love to see quick little games.


alballam said:

March 12th, 2:42 pm

To Kellee:
nice to see you so active in the blog =)

not-buying-incognito said:

March 12th, 8:18 pm

I’m pretty sure you guys did alot in them 24 hrs… but i would rather play maybe a 48 hr game that i could see whats happening on

JaffaBoy said:

March 13th, 8:18 am

Great to see the ksantiago replies to some comments here.

Was this written from the ground up or using some existing libraries, i.e. things like multi-player support, “graphic” libraries etc..

jcasanova said:

March 13th, 5:18 pm

are there ps3 developer tools available somewhere?

the 24hr idea is great, it should be like a contest!!

bobtheduck said:

March 13th, 8:27 pm

@jcasanova at the student portion of GDC, one of the lecturers said that Sony is the best place for indie devs because PSN is sort of empty right now, and Sony’s itching for new content. All you have to do is say you’ve got a team together, and talk to Sony about the devkit, or at least that’s the impression I got…

I doubt a PSN devkit is gonna be THAT expensive, although I know the Wii and DS devkits are famously cheap, but I haven’t found any info on the price of the PS3 devkits. I do know they come with Havoc, so you can do ragdoll stuff right off the bat.

T-P-M said:

March 14th, 12:30 pm

Why not make this game with better graphics/sound/etc. and have the original be included as an extra? That way everyone would be happy.

From the sounds of it you’re planning on having more 24hr jam’s, any chance of an invite if you do? :)

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