Global GameJam 2013

Anyone else going this year? I’ll see if I’m feeling mentally/physically strong enough to go as Jan 25 approaches.

I’ve been to the Sydney venue 2 years in a row. Obviously this is usually one of the bigger venues and attendance skyrocketed just from 2012-2013. 120+ of us were living in a convention hall by a race course last year. It was pretty nuts.

If you’re at all into game development and there’s a venue near you (and you can spend that weekend on it) I would recommend going because it’s a ton of fun and a great way to meet people with varying skillsets you can draw on later. For instance, people on intfiction are often looking for artists to do stuff for their game. If you go to gamejam and do a computer game, you’ll very likely meet people on your team who can do visual art, maybe sound, definitely programming, etc. After jams, I’ve then worked on projects by people I met on my team, and also had them work on my projects.

I suggested last year that someone may actually wanna do an IF at gamejam. To do that you’d definitely need to take other IFFers with you, as that’s not a skillset you’re gonna find on 99% of teams. In that sense it may semi defeat the quality of just going alone and making teams on the spot.

What I usually do when I go is help with the design of a game and do the sound and music for it. There are usually far fewer audio people around than graphics people.

If I do go this year, what I’ll be pushing for is for whatever team I’m part of to exercise enough simplicity to actually have a finished game, design-wise, by the deadline. In my first year our team did a sophisticated sort of life-sim, but by the 48 hr deadline it was still missing tons of features. Also by its nature, that was a project where the programmers really had control of the design - it was too microscopic in detail to be able to easily discuss all the mechanics. We just had to discuss overall ideas then let the programmers have at it while art and sound departments went off and made the assets.

Last year my team produced the main mechanics of a horror game, and a great big blob of its detail, but the darn goal of the game was left out (the objects you had to collect). This annoys me in retrospect, but it was classic feature creep. One programmer really wanted to add dialogue and voice acting (!), which we actually managed to pull off, but presumably at the cost of the goal. Admittedly doing all this in 48 hours with next to no sleep is probably not conducive to great decision making over time, and I was approached with that particular idea around midnight of the Saturday.

Anyway, with those 2 experiences under my belt, anyone whose team I’m on will find me heavily spruiking ‘simpler, simpler, simpler’.

If you want to try the horror game my team made last year, it’s a 40MB download (Windows only I’m afraid) at …

Considering this was programmed, illustrated and audio’d and musicked from scratch by a team of 4 people in 48 hours, it definitely reminds me of the strong sense of possibility that grows out of focus, motivation and a spirit of cooperation.

  • Wade

Inevitably there is a Seattle arm, and I’d be sorely tempted to summon the awesome powers of the Seattle Massive if I weren’t moving apartments that week. Dammit.

edit: dammit, it’s like three blocks from said apartment. COME AND GAME JAM, SEATTLE, AND ALSO MOVE MY BOXES

Design conference time!

I had no idea this existed. I might go and do audio/music stuff. I’ve actually never done audio work for a game before. But I guess if I bring the gear I’m the guy.

I didn’t see this thread until now!

I went this year (and the year before, for that matter.) My game was Robot Finds Kitten 2(D), based off - what else? - Robot Finds Kitten. The core mechanic is the same - bump into objects, find out if they’re kittens - but there’s a bit more narrative and context than the surreal original, and there’s detailed audio, including a “kitten nearby” heartbeat-purr alert, that allows you to play the game with your eyes shut. Pitching, designing, and programming a game that is both fun and accessible to blind players is something I’m ridiculously proud of.

If you want to give it a try, the installer can be found at Press “space” when you’re stuck at the loading screen. I really wish we’d gotten that into the instructions, but… it was a game jam, and things always slip through the cracks.

On a side note, I’m interested in developing this further and I’m trying to reach Leonard Richardson as a result, but I haven’t received a response to my email. If anyone knows him, could you let him know I’m trying to get in touch with him?