Experiences of a First Global Game Jam

 The annual Global Game Jam took place from the 29th to the 31st of January, 2016 with over 36,000 jammers, 632 jam sites, 93 countries, and over 6860 games made worldwide, this is the biggest Game Jam to date! This year’s jam theme was “Ritual”. We asked a first time attendee Damien Walsh to tell us about his experiences at the Griffith College/Microsoft event.


 

The idea of the jam is to develop a playable game/demo over the course of 48 hours based on a specific theme. Designers, developers and artists form teams and brainstorm on the first evening to come up with their game idea, some had very large teams with whiteboards and diagrams, some sat around and talked through their ideas while graphic artist started drawing character ideas on their drawing tablets, and some…they just developed entire games themselves!

Check out the artwork below by local artist Paul Conway (@doomcube and http://www.doomcube.com/).

GGJam Doomcube

Eoin Carroll said “This year’s Global Game Jam (GGJ) was a great success. The Griffith College and Microsoft site was host to 140 jammers from across the country. This was the largest site in Ireland in the history of the Global Game Jam. This group produced a total of 31 games, which is an amazing achievement. You can check out all of the games from this year’s jam here.

The jammers were a mix of seasoned GGJ alumni and brand new game developers. This lead to an eclectic mix of games and game genres for the jam. There was several VR based games as well as games that had nontraditional controllers, like the sphero robot.

One of my favorite things about the GGJ is that you really see the full range of game genres. Of course there were the action styled games that had 3d graphics and allowed experienced developers to play with the theme of the event, but we also had some wonderful interactive fiction games. Having grown up reading “choose your own adventure” books, these styles of games always have a special place in my heart. I also feel that they allow non-programmers to create something in the weekend without spending most of the event watching YouTube tutorials.

While the event is definitely an endurance event the spirits were high for the whole weekend. Everyone seemed to accept and work with the constraints of the event. I did my best to keep the group fed, we had great support from Apache Pizza, Subway and Broderick’s Brothers which meant that the jammers could stay on site and work away without wondering about where they are getting lunch, etc. Microsoft continued their fantastic support of the event by providing a wonderful venue that is big enough to hold all of our jammers.”

 

group shot

Group Photo: Microsoft & Griffith College, Dublin


 

As an audio guy going to my first game jam, I didn’t really know what to expect, and what would be expected of me. The key thing is to get in with a team early, understand the key game concepts, create your own audio design document with a list of music, sfx and dialogue needed and get to work. In all likelihood the audio will be one of the last aspects added to the game, and the more options you have available when asked, the better it is for the game.

I worked on a game called “Pentagram of Synchronisation” with game designer Richard Fahy as a sound designer, and Gareth Ebbs who wrote the music. The game is a story about a sad boy playing with ritualistic magic who has his consciousness reach a parallel universe where things quite aren’t what they seem. You can download the game here.

 

game jam audioLeft to right: Gareth Ebbs, Kevin Blake, Damien Walsh – all students of Game Music Composition at Griffith College Dublin.

It was a great experience and I will definitely be attending the GGJ next year, and other jams that may come up in Ireland in the interim.

Bio:

Damien Walsh is a composer and sound designer for Film, TV and Games, he has written for a number of films, TV shows and games. He is currently studying composition for computer games in Griffith College Dublin.

You can take a listen to his music at www.damienwalshmusic.com.

 


 

You can check out all of the games from this year’s jam here.

See also #GGJ16DUB and http://globalgamejam.org/

Next year’s GGJ17 will take place from the 20-22nd of January, 2017.

If you attended another GGJ site in Ireland do let us know about your experiences (news@gamedevelopers.ie) and share your images with us @gamedev_ie

Watch the calendar here on gd.ie for more events.

 

 

 

 

Free Racing Zero Released by Six Minute

SixMinute, based in Dublin, have released their latest game ‘FRZ: Free Racing Zero’.

Developed in Unity, and published by Fingersoft, the game reinvents an old school classic racer. Check out the trailer.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3pd3v726fo[/embedyt]

 


 

FRZ: Free Racing Zero brings high-paced retro racing back to the world. It’s time to burn rubber, drift and steer your way to the finish line in this addictive, comic arcade, pick up and play retro racing game! With easy two tap controls anyone can master these retro tracks.

FRZ is no clone and it changes up the formula in some pretty great ways – TouchArcade 4.5/5

Six Minute racing screen322x572

SUPER COOL VEHICLES
– Unlock 8 unique cars and bikes
– Collect awesome racer skins to customise your vehicles
– Upgrade your favourite machine, max out your engine and beef up those tyres
– Learn to drift around tight corners with no brakes

EXPLORE EXCITING LOCATIONS
– 50 heart wrenching tracks that will test your driving skill
– Steer through Desert, Snow and Forest areas, with more coming soon
– Each with different terrain, shortcuts, obstacles and hazards
– Marvel at the slick comic art style

SINGLE PLAYER CAREER MODE
– Unlock new vehicles by completing racing achievements
– Speed through the increasingly challenging tracks and drift your way to victory
– Earn medals against the competition to advance
– Replay levels to win those coveted trophies

MULTIPLAYER MODE
– Global and local leaderboards, for endless competition
– Steer your way to the top and become a racing legend
– Challenge your friends, find out who’s fastest and make them eat your dust
– Can you beat the competition to become the No.1 racer?

CLASSIC MUSIC AND SFX
– Rock out to our original retro 80’s soundtrack
– Rev your engine, speed down the straights and screech round hairpins

 


 

Like them on Facebook and stay tuned with all new games and updates:http://www.facebook.com/Fingersoft

Check out Six Minute – http://sixminute.com/ 

Get the game –

FRZ Racing
FRZ Racing
Developer: Brian O'Donnell
Price: Free+
FRZ: Free Racing Zero
FRZ: Free Racing Zero
Price: Free+

 

Pewter Games Studios at Pax South

pewter games logo

Pewter Games Studios is a small Irish game development studio based in Dublin and focusing on the creation of unique and memorable story-driven games. Read more about them at http://pewtergamesstudios.com/press/

‘The Little Acre’ is coming to PCs and consoles in 2016 and they have been previewing their work recently at Pax south in Texas, USA – (http://south.paxsite.com/) where companies show games in production to the general public. Check them out in their booth!

 

pewter at PAX

 

There is a nice recording of them showing the game and then discussing it via twitch.tv.

Watch live video from Twitch on www.twitch.tv

 

And what was the reaction like?

Well Christopher Conlan told us ‘it was better than we had hoped! Having total strangers seem genuinely interested and enthusiastic about your game is a great feeling, and receiving comments about the story which showed people picked up on the subtle undertones that we tried to convey was extremely satisfying! I said it before, but overall it’s quite motivating to have that sort of feedback as you’re nearing the finish line’.

Sounds and looks great. Looking forward to the release. They have a nice blog up about their experience at Pax South on their website : http://www.pewtergamesstudios.com/pax-south2016/

IrishGameDev Podcast with Vicky Lee

The latest installment in the #IrishGameDev podcast series by Geoff Newman.

This one is with Vicky Lee, event organiser extraordinaire including GameCraft, PyLadies, PyIreland, Coding Grace etc. etc. Vicky is committed to organising female friendly and inclusive tech events.

See http://GameCraft.it for more info. The next event is on the 13th of February. See our events page for more!

For more info about events around Ireland check out the Coding Grace newsletter – http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=8…

 

Fore more podcasts visit

Web: http://www.irishgamedev.com
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/johngeoffrey/s…
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/podcast/i…
Feed: http://irishgamedev.com/feed/podcast/

MindRising 2016 Competition

 

 

MindRising

 

Given the year that is in it this looks like a nice initiative revolving around games and creativity. Last week saw the launch of MindRising 2016, a competition celebrating 200 years of the island of  Ireland.

Teams of primary and secondary school children will work on their digital storytelling skills across a range of media which includes building elements of their projects in Minecraft. They are encouraged to remember the past 100 years and imagine what the next 100 years could bring.

It’s a competition for schools and youth groups, to use Minecraft to digitally tell the past and future stories of Ireland. The project is run in conjunction with MicrosoftBusiness Model Adventures and St.Patricks College DCU Institute of Education.

Take a look at this introduction video.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWFXEAjfcxI[/embedyt]

 


 

Enter The Competition

The MindRising Games competition is now open for applications!

There are two age categories for entrants.

  • Junior category: Primary school applicants from 1st to 4th class.
  • Senior category: Primary school 5th and 6th class students and 1st and 2nd years in Secondary school.

Teachers and group leaders are invited to apply to participate and also be in with the chance of winning of €5,000 for their group! MindRising will be provide packs, teaching plans, examples, tutorials and other guides to help teams over the 8 weeks.

Registration for the games closes on the 19th February 2016 and teams have until the 18th April 2016 to submit their entries.

Register online at www.mindrising.ie


Help Out

 

Volunteers are needed across Ireland to help the teams. If you’re interested in history, technology or design please get in contact with the MindRising team on the website here.

Games and Children discussion on Newstalk

On Sat. the 6th of Feb. some regulars on gamedevelopers.ie, Aphra Kerr from Maynooth University and Jamie McCormick from Advanced Marcomm Services joined with Colman Noctor, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Lecturer in Trinity College Dublin to discuss games, online culture, children and parenting with Sarah Carey on her show Talking Point on NewsTalk. 

The discussion starts off with a focus on Call of Duty and Violence, moves on to discussing chat and communication in games, sexism and the work of community managers.

You can list back to the podcast at https://www.newstalk.com/Gaming-Moral-Panic-Mainstream-Culture-What-to-do  or by clicking below. It is about an hour long in total.