XpoNorth: How a solo developer won the 2015 Moray Game Jam

Application and software development student Corrie Green tells us how he conquered the Moray Game Jam single handed

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 02 Jun 2016

Do you always support the underdog? If so, you’re sure to warm to 19-year-old Corrie Green, the ultimate dark horse in video games design.

Let’s rewind 12 months to last year’s Moray Games Jam, an annual event where teams of game developers from across Scotland gather for an intensive 48 hours to create a working game prototype on a given theme, which for the 2015 Jam was 'now you see me, now you don’t.'

Teams usually consist of up to five members with complementary skills. Motivated software development student Corrie Green thought that was overkill. “There’s usually five in a team, but you get people partnering up and they split the work 50:50 – an artist and a programmer is all you need really,” he says down the phone from Aberdeen.

This was Green’s plan for the 2015 Jam, but his partner backed out at the last minute leaving him the sole single player out of 14 teams. He wasn’t too worried, though. “I’d been making my own games for a while, so I was quite used to developing on my own. I was just looking forward to taking my mind off everything else to binge out a project on the weekend.”

Two Earth orbit later, fuelled by free pizza and very little sleep, Green had created Absorb, which he later renamed The Edge: Isometric Survival. “It’s exactly that, an isometric survival game where you’re a cuboid and you’ve got to go attack other cuboids that are coming towards you.”

The unlikely inspiration, he says, was the hundreds of hours he’s clocked up on Nazi Zombies, a game mode that first appeared in the Call of Duty franchise. The difference being that instead of fighting the living dead, you’re battling other geometric shapes. As well as being easier to design, the "minimalistic graphics allow the user to identify with the character in any way they want,” notes Green. The result was a clean-looking, sharp design.

Not only did Green managed to create a working prototype in 48 hours, he also impressed the judges. They loved his simple but slick game and declared it overall winner.

Part of the prize was the opportunity to develop the game with Elgin-based games studio Hunter Cow, and four days before we spoke to Green, The Edge had been released to market. “It’s been well received so far,” he says. “So well received, actually, that I need to hurry up and get it out on iOS in the next week or two.”

And how was the return to Game Jam earlier this year as reigning champ? Were competitors looking over his shoulder? “None of that,” says Green. “It’s competitive, but in a fun way. It’s just a completely relaxed environment where you can be creative. As soon as you have an idea you’re more than happy to share it with other contestants.”

Read more about XpoNorth 2016:

• Art and design: XPoNorth's design programme
• Books: LG Thomson on Northern Noir
• Fashion: Jewellery designer Heather McDermott
• Film: Filmmaking in the North of Scotland
• Music: Lional on swapping Inverness for LA
• Tech: How a solo developer won the 2015 Moray Game Jam

XpoNorth runs 8-9 Jun, Inverness: xponorth.co.uk

If you want to try out The Edge for yourself, head to Green's website: corriejgreen.co.uk