A Jam of Gamers – 2011

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So what are my thoughts and experiences from GameJam I hear you ask. Well for the most part it was really really fun and an experience I won’t soon forget. To see and download the result of my labours go here

Upon arrival I was greeted by a few fellow faces in a some tutors from Qantm, as well as the friendly face of former GoodGame host Junglist. From here time was mostly spent mingling (AKA scoping out the competition and potential team mates). I soon found a group that I was comfortable with and who hadn’t insulted me my claiming anyone can be a designer (douche, I have a degree do you?) .

My team was (and may be in the future) Matt, Adrian and Paul all champions and all programmers. The theme was extinction so we swiftly began throwing around ideas. We decided on Pluto’s Revenge. (For more on the game itself and my involvement click here)

We decided on Unity which most of us had experience with and pretty much got straight into creating the game. With such programming prowess at my disposal I was able to take on an art role, which I honestly haven’t really had much of an opportunity to do. I was pretty nervous about it but I did much better than I thought here is an example; a texture for earth:

Honestly the next 48 hours merged together pretty quickly; consisting mostly of computer, eat, computer, eat, computer, sleep, computer etc. On the first night I went to (try) to sleep for a few hours at around 3:00 Saturday morning. I pretty much failed and got back to work a mere 45 minutes later . Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep, perhaps 5 total, but I don’t think my or the teams work for that matter was influenced detrimentally.

Eventually the 48 hours past, and all looking worse for wear, our games came under judging. We were soon given the opportunity to come out of our Pluto bubble and see what everyone else had come up with which was awesome (DUAT got my vote for jammer’s choice).  You can find and I think play all of the final games here (filter to Sydney to see just my Jam): http://www.globalgamejam.org/games/2011

In spite of the sleep deprivation, the experience was excellent not only have I learnt a lot about the development process and my skills as a designer but I’ve also met several people with whom I will endeavour to make games in the future. GameJam is a very valuable experience unlike any other which I believe will strengthen and spur on the game development community of Australia. I highly recommend it to anyone seriously interested in making games no matter what skill level or experience you may have.

For those of you who wish to Jam next year or sometime in the future I have a few points of advice:

  • dress as if it’s winter; the aircon is extremely unforgiving
  • bring comfortable bedding as the floor is a brother pucker
  • bring snacks; very lovely meals are provided but you will get hungry between
  • save often; power issues aren’t common but did cause me to lose some work
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