Powered by LootLocker: Helping young developers find out who’s the best at falling into honey

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Alexander Bergendahl5 min read
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We caught up with Jonah from JCWYT (pronounced ‘jay-see-wit’) – creators of the game FOOAAAHH! (pronounced ‘foo-wah’). Jonah told us all about his journey into game development, his honey-splatting game, and why he chose LootLocker to help him make it. Make sure to check FOOAAAHH! out yourself on their website.

The game-making background of a self-taught teen

Jonah is 15 years old. He’s from Seattle, Washington. And he’s a game developer who describes himself as ‘really bad at programming’. He works on JCWYT projects with his friend Callum, and gets occasional outside help from some surprising places.

“I’m self-taught,” says Jonah, “through websites like FreeCodeCamp.org. I mostly do frontend web design and graphics, while Callum does more of the fancy gameplay. Callum’s also mostly self-taught – reading a lot of Stack Overflow. I’ve been coding since just before Covid, so maybe two and a half years now? Callum’s been making games for four years.”

“Callum and I built FOOAAAHH! and the website. Our friend William composed the arcade-style music, and one of our teachers did the voice lines. Actually, my friends made fun of how bad my cloud drawings were, so I reached out to someone at the Cloud Appreciation Society and they sent me back the clouds that are in the game today.”

Just to clarify then: the production team for this game was: two teenage developers, their musical friend, their teacher, and the Cloud Appreciation Society. It feels like we should have follow-up questions, but let’s move on.

Terminal velocity and sugary viscosity

If you’ve ever fallen from a plane, you’ll know it’s important to grab as much honey as possible on the way down. That’s the premise for JCWYT’s game, FOOAAAHH! – an acronym for ‘falling out of an airplane and hitting honey’.

It’s a vertical scrolling game where you control a falling man. You can move the man left and right, avoiding obstacles like airplane parts and birds. Your falling speed steadily increases – so the goal is to hit the big blobs of airborne honey, which slows you down because of…physics(?).

It’s a really fun game. In fact, this blog probably would’ve been live a few hours earlier if we hadn’t been so determined to beat our FOOAAAHH! high score. So how did Jonah and Callum come up with it?

Jonah says: “We were coming up with game concepts – just throwing ideas at each other and seeing what would stick (honey pun?). We were focusing on games that had shorter rounds and a relatively simple concept, so people could play more casually when they maybe don’t have a half-hour to sit down and properly play.”

Passions, inspirations, and frustrations

Jonah says his biggest inspiration in game development was the game Sneaky Sasquatch: “It’s a mobile game where you’re a Sasquatch and you have to beat mini plots to save your national park. But you can also just go and explore the massive open map with minigames like skiing or race car driving.”

So what about the best and worst parts of making a game? Jonah says: “We worked on FOOAAAHH! for about two months. The hardest part of game development is simply getting started. When you get a really great concept, that very first ‘let’s sit down and do it’ is the hardest part.”

“But my favorite part of game development is watching the whole game come together. Once we actually focus and get a game working, it’s really fun to start playing the concept you’ve had for so long. I’m proud of how we took a game design and followed through with it, and made a game a lot of people enjoyed.”

So why exactly did we want to cover this game?

When we asked Jonah about LootLocker, he said: “We used LootLocker's leaderboard functionality in the game. We found LootLocker through a YouTube video, and chose it for its simplicity and affordability.”

That, right there, is why we wanted to cover this game. Comments like this are music to our ears. Why? Because we root for young developers like Jonah and Callum. They’re independent, creative, funny, and full of passion for what they do.

When we say ‘what they do’: for JCWYT, it’s not just about games. They have some seriously interesting projects on the go. There’s Barbara: an old-lady discord bot with lots of pick-up lines. There’s also JCWYT’s ‘YouTube Unbl*cked’ tool for getting around YouTube ads. Oh, and they also condensed and redesigned their school district’s website, based on what their friends, teachers, and parents most used it for.

On their website, they say their projects are mostly based on ‘bad ideas they think would be funny or things their friends jokingly said they’d use.’ And the name, JCWYT? It stands for ‘Jonah and Callum Waste Your Time’. (That made us actually lol when we first read it.)

We say no time spent on creative projects is ever wasted. And we’re glad LootLocker could help.

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