Blender • Illustrator

48-hour jam project (2022) • artist, designer

DOBIO is a procedural dungeon-building deck builder in which the player takes control of the dungeon itself in order to carve out a path for the protagonist, Lance.

Find treasure to raise your vigor, luck and insight in order to overcome obstacles and defeat the boss (DEFUNCT) of each floor. Use your hand wisely and clear as many floors as you can!

This project was created for the 48-hour GMTK 2023 Game Jam under the theme 'roles reversed'. It plays on the typical dungeon crawler by reversing the player's role in the game: rather than controlling the protagonist, they control the dungeon.

This project was a collaboration between Joshua Tunstall, Elliot G. Mann, Marco Ng, and myself. I was designer, 3D and UI artist on this project, and learned a lot about how to manage planning versus development time. We were unable to complete the project in the 48 hour window, but video of our progress can be seen above, and is playable via

Rapid Development

DOBIO was developed in 48 hours during the 2023 GMTK Game Jam. The theme of the jam was 'roles reversed.' Though this jam wasn't my first, I did find it quite difficult. As a designer, I like to take time to carefully consider what concepts I develop, and try to plan extensively to make development as smooth as possible. The 48-hour development window poses some obvious challenges to this workflow!

Nothing immediately came to mind when the theme was first revealed. I was working as a part of a team of four, along with Joshua Tunstall, Elliot G. Mann, and Marco Ng. Initial discussions revealed that the others also a little stumped, so I suggested we each take 15 minutes or so to write down as many ideas as we could come up with without judging their quality. We did so, and upon reconvening I had a hard time committing to any of the ideas we had written down. At this point, though, the clock was ticking and pressure was on to begin making something.

Eventually, we decided on a dungeon-building deck builder where you have to create a dungeon that the protagonist can progress through. It took me a while to come around to this vision. Before I could start working on it, I started asking a lot of questions about how different parts of the game loop would work, like what would happen when the protagonist needed to backtrack or what was the incentive for entering rooms with stat checks.

I wanted to be sure that the game's foundations were strong before we began building. One way we communicated effectively was through diagrams which demonstrated our understanding of the concept to each other. I created the below diagram to check my understanding of the way tiles disappeared as rounds progressed:

Tile system diagram for DOBIO
Tile system diagram for DOBIO

We broke off into separate text and voice channels on Discord by our roles. Myself and Elliot discussed design for about an hour and a half, covering risk and reward (e.g. including room cards as rewards for clearing rooms), our stat system (vigor, luck, and insight, used for stat checks to determine whether the room is cleared and adding bonuses e.g. increasing max cards in hand), and more. The 48-hour time limit made it all the more important that we considered the development time necessary to incorporate certain features. We then drafted a design document, touched base with the rest of the team, and began developing.

It was uncomfortable to spend such a short time on design, but I believe it was the right decision to begin development at that point. Game jams are always an exercise in time management, and while dedicating more hours to design will likely lead to a better game, it is also important to consider the time required to actually build the game. This is a balance that will be different for every game, and something I'd like to experiment with as I do more game jams in the future. As my development skills improve, I think I will be able to afford more time in the design phase, and be able to iterate on my designs throughout development.

For the remainder of the project, I worked on modelling the room tiles in Blender and creating a logo and UI in Illustrator. I am particularly proud of the logo, as I think it gives an impression of the gameplay without being overpowering. DOBIO's visuals are meant to call to mind a 1-bit computer, as if the protagonist is playing an early text-adventure game and the player (who controls the dungeon) sees from the computer's perspective.

We were unable to complete DOBIO within the 48 hours and our build had a game-breaking bug that we did not discover a fix for until after the deadline. Unfortunately, we missed an opportunity to get feedback on our game's concept. It was the third game jam I have participated in and the third time my team was unable to complete our project. For the next, my goal is to come up with a smaller but complete game!