Global Game Jam – 2013

Posted: 29th January 2013 by Peter in Irish Games Industry News

global-game-jam-2013Finally I have time to blog about my experience at my very first Game Jam. It wasn’t just any old game jam, it was THE game jam event of the year – The Global Game Jam!

I joined my fellow creative and games enthusiasts at Griffith College, South Circular Road, Dublin in ‘The Bunker’ for much of the 48 hour event. This was one of two registered sites in Ireland, the second was in Tipperary.  Around 50 people attended the event at Griffith College (of around 11k participants globally), and I have to tip my hat to lecturer Eoin Carroll for organizing and managing the weekend. This can only be a good thing for Griffith College’s game and computer sciences profile.

This being my first game jam, I was going in alone and not too sure what to expect. The vast majority of developers there were students (mostly from my good old college in Ballyfermot, the rest from Griffith College, some from Pulse and so on). I think there were a handful of non-students in the mix too.  Luckily I’d made contact with Mariano from Bright Head Games Studio a few months before the jam, via I met Mariano for the first time on the day, and he generously invited me to join his team. Great guy, as are the other guys, Ed and Zafer from Bright Head and the rest of the team.

The global organizers of the event provided simple title for the theme, ‘Heartbeat’. Our group came up with various ideas for the game, choose one and got to work. I worked mainly on 2D artwork and learned a lot from the other more experienced guys on the team. We used GameMaker to build the game, which is great for fast development for multi-platforms. Other groups used Unity3D and UDK, maybe other software too. 

Unfortunately the servers couldn’t handle the amount of game uploads hitting it when the event reached the final minute of the 48th hour! However, we proceeded with the presentations and all teams showed their work on a projector screen, and explained the process behind their thinking and work. All feedback was constructive and positive.

gamejam2013I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in game development (student or not) to attend other game  jam events that go on throughout the year. This is a highly creative,  fun, and co-operative community that freely share knowledge and their passion for game development with each other. The participants included a cross section of programmers, artists, game designers, and at least one VERY busy audio guy (I’ll have to get his name and link here). Looking forward to future game jams!