PROTEGA – Co-op Spaceship Action for 4 players.

Protega was my entry for the 48 hour KADK Fall Jam 2015 at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Design School.
The game won an award at the event but I forgot which one (there were about as many awards as there were participants so it probably doesn’t matter that much).

That said, this was the most fun I’ve ever had working solo* at a game jam.
*I had wonderful testers helping me out throughout the jam.

The theme of the game jam was Out of balance.
Downloadable at for PC and Mac

About the game

Protega is a cooperative spaceship game where each player controls a different part of the spaceship. The four players must work together to navigate the ship around in a maze full of asteroids, in order to collect all stars. The players has sixty seconds to get from star to star, requiring teamwork in order to win.

Each player controls one specific part of the ship. Blue player controls the large thruster, green player controls the rotation of the ship, yellow player controls the small thruster and the pink player controls the laser gun.

Each of the colored bits on the gray spaceship represents the role of a player.
Four players (fellow students) having a tough but fun time working together to win the game. I remember them being super proud about winning on their second attempt, and them actually having to communicate and be coordinated. They were proud of themselves when they won, and that meant the world to me.

(On the left is my now close friend and long time colleague Joachim B. Gerber).

This took place at The Royal Danish Academy’s School of Design in Copenhagen in what we dubbed the Game Loft. This a corner of the space in which we studied game design.
This is a shot of the start scenario. You are told that you have exactly one minute to navigate around the space maze and collect all of the stars in order to win. A seemlingly simple task at first glance, but a daunting one once you realize that not all players are in control of the ship’s movement.

The stars you need to collect are the green ones (like that one in the bottom right half of the screenshot).
There are 5 in total I believe.
The ship shoots an asteroid at close range. So close in fact, that it almost collided with the ship.
A prime example of players working together to align the ship and shoot asteroids at a safe distance.
Trust me, aligning the ship and telling the gunner to fire at the right moment is lot harder than it sounds.

Protega has a special place in my heart as a game for these reasons:

1. Protega was made in a very short amount of time by one person: myself. That put a ton of confidence in myself. When I saw the players’ reactions I was mesmerized. Especially considering that I spent the first half on the game jam on a prototype for a different idea that I trashed completely, mainly due to testers not having fun. That was a tough lesson but an extremely important one for me at that point in my life.

2. Protega showed me that you don’t need deep ideas and complex systems in order to make people have fun and add depth to the ways your game can be played. This demolished an illusion I had: that games must be complex or “deep” in order to create deep and varied emotions in the player. I saw a ton of different feelings and emotions through only 60 seconds of four people playing this game. A game that I spent such a short amount of time on, and had so much fun making.