You Are Trash! was born as one of the games of Project Gamerama 2009, organized by PUC-Rio Arts and Design professor and Donsoft Entertainment's Arts Director Guilherme Xavier. The teams were meant to choose 3 game style concepts and apply them to the game design, under the proposal of Sustainability. The concepts chosen for our game were: Plataform, Jigsaw (or Puzzle) e Shooting.
You Are Trash! meets sustainability using the idea of recycling, but not on a usual approach. We decided to run away from the common thinking of making a educational game about recycling and trying to go through an edutainment proposal, instigating the self-education of the player via tangential learning. In You Are Trash!, facts and ideas about recycling are presented to the player throughout the game as cutscenes, not forcing the player to advance in the game by learning. Recycling is also part of the gameplay, but in a fun way, not like in a school textbook.
The gameplay is divided in two parts. The first is related to the Puzzle concept, recyclable trash blocks drop from the top of the screen and the player must rotate them to match the bottom of the blocks with the top of the recycling bins in the lower part of the screen; The second part relates to Platform and Shooting aspects, where the stage is a reflection of the Puzzle part, wich means that if the player got the trashes in the right recycling bins there will be items for him to collect, otherwise there will be hindrances to his advancement to the door leading to the next stage. The cycle repeats through the last stage.
Screenshots comparing an earlier version of You Are Trash! with the final version
For Project Gamerama 2009, it was decided that the development platform was Java for it's multiplatform characteristics, although in the end we had some problems in MacOSX and Linux operating systems (wich suggests that some Java libraries are not so portable as we'd like them to be). As Project Gamerama demanded a short development time until we could get a playable demo, our team decided to use an open-source game engine, GTGE, wich served our necessities well and made possible the first playable demo to be done under the time constraint.
After the Project Gamerama 2009, this game project was carried on by us in our spare time. It was submitted while not completed to SBGames 2009 and now that it is finished, we have submitted to SBGames 2010. You can compare some changes in gameplay and user interface with the videos below.
Arthur Protasio and I wrote (each from their area perspective) a post-mortem about You Are Trash! development process, both in Brazilian Portuguese, though. Arthur's is more broad on the coverage, having a global look on the production process, team management and the game design and can be accessed in his personal blog. Mine is more restrict, focused on the programming aspect of the game and is available at the Gamerama Collective blog.
Word about You Are Trash! has been spreading through some channels. You can see what people are talking about this game and know more about the other people who made it reading some interviews and some site reviews linked below.
Indie Jogos - http://indiejogos.com.br/game-you-are-trash-ludobardos/
Indie Games Brasil - http://indiegamesbrasil.com/entrevistas/sustentabilidade-reciclagem-diversao-conheca-you-are-trash
UOL Jogos - http://jogos.uol.com.br/videos/player.jhtm?mediaId=sbgames-2010-you-are-trash-04029B386EE0B92307
We guest starred at Baixo Frente Soco's podcast about indie games, and they made a nice image with Bananixo.