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/).
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 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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and share your images with us @gamedev_ie
Watch the calendar here on gd.ie for more events.