thatgamecompany’s 24hr Game Jam

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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!

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7 Author Replies

  • That…is….AWESOME. Release it for like a dollar on the PSN, as long as it doesn’t crash the system, I’ll freakin buy it.


  • Hahaha, that looks like great fun!

    I miss those sort of games.

  • Looks interesting. Will you make this available as a download from the PSN?

    • I\’m responding here, but I want to thank everyone for requesting a downloadable version! Here are some hurdles:

      – Of course, we don\’t want it to crash your PS3, but the formatting and QA process will then take time, time=money, and that means Sony will want to charge you something for it, which sucks a bit of the fun away.

      – We\’ve also heard here at Sony \”maybe you could add some art, make it look a little nicer…\” No way! This takes away from the fact that it is a 24hr Game Jam. We make the game knowing the game at 10am Sunday is whatever it is. If we change this basic rule, it will change the way we approach the whole thing. 24hrs… that\’s it! ….Okay yeah, but we would change the audio so Nintendo doesn\’t sue us =)

      Thanks again for all of the requests to play it. Hopefully your demand will help remove these hurdles. Some people have mentioned a subscription service… that sounds like an interesting idea! Especially if other studios get in on making 24hr games… that would be so cool!

  • That looks pretty cool, especially for only 24 hours of work. Nice use of the “invincibility” music from Mario ;-)

  • Hey do I detect a audio clip from “Rolling Thunder, via “welcome to your doom”?
    You folks at thatgamecompany should release these every Thursday. This game looks fun as hell. You know what they say, it’s not about the graphics, it’s about the FUN! can I work for you, I have great game ideas. I have a great one in pre-development now.

  • Hahaha! That was so amusing, and pretty well executed for 24 hours! Will you be shaping into a full-fledged title for the PSN at any point? (I wasn’t quite sure what “we lock it up” meant.)

  • 360 fanboys are gonna have a field day with this……..

  • That is hilarious!
    Dude, you have to get that on the PSN for like a dollar or something. I’d definitely buy it.

  • hell no sorry ill pass on this one

  • wow u guys must have been good at waiting until the last day to write a paper in school….was that a mario theme i heard in there towards the end?

  • Looked to be an interesting time. With time for an extra bit of cleanup (and replacing some of the sounds/ music- i noticed the Altered Beast “rise from your grave” and the Mario invincibility music in there) this could turn into a popular multiplayer title on PSN.

  • It’s things like this that make me really want the PS3 dev program opened up for us amateurs. Imagine lots of awesome things like this!

  • Nice concept. I’m pretty sure as a developers, this activity is a great way to blow off some steam/pressure.

    Its pretty impressive to see it being made in 24 hours too.

    Nice to see you guys can have fun as well, after all, thats what gaming is all about.

  • Love the Altered Beast sound bites, good times.

  • Nice work, hope to be able to play this some day. Looks quite entertaining.

  • Looks like a lot of fun!

    ….shoot with right bumper….

    are you guys playing on the “other system” because over here on the playstation side I always thought it was called “R1”.

    j/k you guys should do this for the PSN every week or even a monthly contest for people to submit something similar

  • those games where programmed using C/C++ ,Python (Pygame) or what other library/language ???

  • Yes Release it!!! I don’t mind if it’s a dollar, hell, free would be better. Pleaaase.

  • looks wicked fun. id love to kill some zombies. if you guys released for dirt cheap then you have my money. I will gladly support anything that comes out of thatgamecompany (i purchased flOw and intend to buy flOwer whenever you guys release it. I can’t wait. can you give any new news about a release date or more details about it? rock on guys!


  • I’d like to see this on the PLAYSTATION Network too!

    The PS3 has support for up to seven controllers so it would be awesome for local matches with friends as well as Online Play of your game.

    Release for a couple of bucks and I will pay for it!

  • haha that was cool. should release it on the playstation store.

  • throw some cell shading and clean up the textures, voila! You’ve got a 3.99 PSN Title..You guys are a great company and we are all looking forward to your next release, flower!!!

  • haha nice. I enjoy oddball stuff like this. Wouldn’t pay much for it, but I’d buy it for dirt cheap.

  • Very cool.

  • This is awesome. As it was mentioned before on post #1, release this game as long as you guys know for sure that it wont crash the PS3, I would indeed buy this game. If you were to add online multiplayer it would make that much more awesome.

  • seriously, release this in some shape or form. Dirt cheap or refined with the dirt cheap version being unlockable. Perhaps subscribe to a 24 hr Game Jam service for like $1/month to get access to these games. But that looks really, really fun.

  • you should tottally releace this game for download.

  • #26 has the right Idea, I would pay $5 a month to have access to cute fun little games like this. maybe make it a part of Home as a DLC for it so you can have multiplayer at your home apt/house/condo/mansion/island/continent, the list goes on. This is what “casual” games is about. Bravo! I commend you.

  • I Am Legend – The Game

    wow that was fun and it’s incredible you pulled that off in ONE day..

    i really couldn’t tell what exactly was going on, but the graphics look incredible.. Take that uncharted!!!!

    That had to be 1080p 60fps right.. amazing, EA takes 1 year to make a port and it ends up looking just like that game anyways..

  • This is great, for only 24 hours’ work. You should release it on PSN. Free would be nice, but I wouldn’t mind paying a dollar for your efforts, provided it’s in working order!

    But I really think the idea behind is neat. You guys should consider turning it into a full game with proper characters and level designs instead of moving pixels, even if they are all 2D. Make it remote play capable too, and it’s sold.

  • yeah put it on PSN for $2 or so, ill buy it. nice pick up n play game.

  • Include it as an unlockable in flOwer :)

  • hey maybe you could have a contest that you put the things to make a game and put it for download and then submit it to you guys. that is nice “RISE FROM THE DEAD” is so funny yo the song is funny too. just because of that and my desparation to have a job in games i would love to have a job in games.

  • 1) Change the audio
    2) Skip the QA process and release it as is with the disclaimer: This game was created within 24 hours so needless to say it may crash your system. Play at your own risk.
    3) Charge .01 for it
    4) ?
    5) Profit

  • edit. i meant a job with you guys(but of course im too young)

  • nice 2 minute game to play before i go to school

  • o yeah addin it to flower or something would be cool.

  • I think I recognize the developement time and the graphic engine. Admit it, it’s another Go! Sports game!

  • Release it on psn for free when you buy another game.

  • I would by it! Killer fun.

  • lol i was about to ask for it to be a downloadable game but you beat me to it by answering that already.Also i want to thanks you guys for flow i just love the game and because of how much i love flow i will be buying flower within an hour of it going up on the store i promise you guys that.Also i think that idea about it being a subscription base service would work well if it not too last thing and please answer back since i only gotten responed on this blog once my question is do you guys at thatgamecompany have a game you guys are looking forward to playing this year.

  • how long did it take for you to come up with a zombie game???
    And how is your new project Flower goin,any info,release date wise??

    • Q1: I dunno, five minutes? I mean, this game practically writes itself! =)

      Q2: Flower is going great, but nope, no more info as of now. We have a facebook page and a mailing list though(sign up on our website), and as soon as something is released you will know!

  • That game looks awesome, and it’s criminal of you to tell us all about it, and then tell us that Sony won’t let us play it. =(

    I can be counted as one of the votes for Sony to lighten up and let us get some more informal games like this, since I’d buy it.

  • @ksantiago RE:#3

    Thanks for the response.

    As long as the 24hour games were stable, I would be willing to pay .99 for each one. I think that would be a great addition to our PSN games.

    I say leave the games as is. If they were meant to be created within a set of rules, then release them as they were finished. No need to “perfect” anything as perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

  • This furthers the point that the PS3 needs to be opened to indie developers…

    picture this:

    1: have a seperate download network for indie games (like a “iPSN”), all games will have a disclamer that says that ESRB have not rated them and they have not been bug tested (or this could be done through a peer review process, whatever works)
    2: have Sony setup developer contest like this that allow the indie crowd to create a game (with or without a theme) in 24-48 hours. The winners (top 3-5) will be able to charge for their game (something around a dollor…trust me it adds up) and the rest become availble for free.

    This would create a huge pull toward the PS3 due to the massive amount of content that will become availble for it. Sony has always been a company that has listened to its consumers, it would be nice if they listened now and brought some love to the indie game programmer crowd…

  • i agree with comment 45,really good idea.or atleast for god sake bring it to the store..

  • the most I would be willing to pay for this would probably be 99 cents. And as long as it has the online multiplayer attached to it then I’d probably buy it. But yes, would be better if it was free of course. I can see it now – a whole range of 24hr game jams at 99 cents a piece..(once again would be better free).

    It would be retarded of Song not to release this on the playstation store. This is a pretty simple and good idea for psn games.

  • wow sorry about that..should read:

    “It would be retarded of *Sony* not to release this on the playstation store. This is a pretty simple and good idea for psn games”

  • Thanks for the post Kellee. Would you please update everyone on the progress and future for Flower? I loved flOw and similarly fell in love with the trailer for Flower – which I’ve watched many times since it’s all we really have about the game.

    Can you tell us more about what Flower is about? Can you tell us a projected release date? If not, can you tell us when we’ll start hearing more about Flower?

    Thank you and keep up the great work!

    – Scott

  • Have you guys considered putting in the mother of all game voices.. “Run, Coward.. Run!” from Sinistar!

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