Tip of the Quill: A Journal
Conflict Diamond.

The eagle-eyed among you my have noticed a couple of strange inclusions on my links list from a few days ago. “Why would Geoff suddenly be interested in conflict diamonds?” No, I’m not on a DiCaprio kick. About two weeks ago I was chatting with Philip Tan in the CMS office, and he mentioned the 2007 Boston Game Jam, an upcoming event that was sort of like the 48 Hour Film Challenge, only for video games. As it turned out, my friend Dan Roy was participating in it, and he had an idea for a game that was all about conflict diamonds.
Last weekend Dan and I joined forces – Dan doing the programming and game design and me doing the art – and the output was Conflict Diamond, a ‘games for change’ project that demonstrates that while it may be easier to sell genuiune diamonds, synthetic diamonds have a whole lot less blood on them. Genuine diamonds are often mined by the victims of wars and sold to support the regimes of their oppressors, hence the name ‘conflict diamonds’. In our game, you choose one of two salesmen in a jewelry shop (‘Carbontown Jewelers’, in a throwaway joke). The elderly George is ethical and will only sell synthetic diamonds, while the diabolical Damien will happily sells only genuine diamonds. We didn’t get as far into the development of the game as we would have liked, but it’s definitely playable, and so now we’re trying to figure out what we want to do next with it. I’m tickled with the avatars (mostly), but if we do anything else with it the background art still needs a lot of work. It’s easy to improve the hand-drawn look of avatars by shrinking them down (which smoothes out the rough lines), but hand-drawn background art looks worse because it’s displayed at more of a 1:1 ratio. Ah, well – not too shabby for only 36 hours or so.
In the meantime, the event picked up some coverage in Gamasutra, and the games themselves can be seen on the official event site at bostongamejam.com.
One way or the other, I’ve got another game under my belt – and one for a good cause, no less. Very cool.