The Independent Game Developer Association (IGDA) is holding it’s much-admired and extremely successful Global Game Jam, this coming week-end. All over the world at 5pm Friday January 28th to 5pm Sunday January 30th, in 44 countries and at 174 sites which include Schools, Techs, Universities and local community halls; some of the smartest and brightest in our industry will battle it out to create a fully functioning, playable game.
In what has become the 10th biggest site world wide IGDA Melbourne have procured the IT Labs of Melbourne’s La Trobe University. With countless computers pre built and networked the site could not be more prepared. The University will host 80 coder’s, artist’s and innovative gaming enthusiasts from across Victoria. Some of the attending jamer’s will be staff members from the countries most successful development companies, some will be young students looking to break into the industry and want a look into game development in a pressure filled environment. Others will be Indie developers looking for new tech and development ideas and fresh ways of looking at production techniques. Even if you don’t know how to develop a game or have no real artistic or musical talents, you are still encouraged to participate, many of the best ideas come from those not involved in the development side, they just want to be a part of creating a game they want to play.
The Global Game Jam was a concept created by IGDA from the success of the Indie Game Jam run from 2002 to 2006. The concept was simple it consisted of a single game engine hacked for the purpose of 1 weekend of design and development. During the IGJ, dev’s were given a set objective to explore, these consisted of topics like ‘Explore human interaction using 3D characters’ and ‘what can you do with 100,000 sprites active onscreen at one time’. Once the weekend was completed the resulting games were then published, open-source, on the Indie Game Jam web site.
Things have evolved a bit in the tech used and development method applied by our game creators, however most of the innovation has come from work done at events like GGJ and IGJ. The pressure that is put on a team over a short time to develop a game, is in many ways identical to real life pressure placed on development studio’s by publishing companies. Schedules are set and many companies have a monetary obligation to produce the title to that schedule.
The Jury or judging panel consists of highly regarded peers and members of the industry and community. This year at the Melbourne Jam on the panel is Tassos Stevens, Co-Director of Coney (UK), Sam Mayo, the Community Support Coordinator from Firemint; Ben Britten of Tin Man Games; Leena van Deventer, Indie Games Section Editor over at Resolution Magazine, and Donald Duong, co-host of Channel 31’s Level 3.
With 80 eager developers gearing up for this week-ends challenge I encourage you to head over to the GGJ website and try your hand at some of the wares of 2010 (http://globalgamejam.org/games/2010). Also Drop Bear Gaming is looking at having a man in the trenches digging around and bringing you information on this years event. We will look to have Post GGJ review up on the site soon after the event, so watch out for all the news you will need to wrap up the event.