On January 26, Global Game Jam Vancouver returns to UBC for another 48 hours of rapid prototyping, collaborating, and guzzling coffee for game jam fuel.
The annual event brings participants (jammers) together in small groups to create a video game or a non-digital game, such as a card or board game, over the span of two days.
Like MasterChef, GGJ also features a secret ingredient — a secret theme that is only revealed at the start of the event.
The themes are the same for all GGJ sites and are often universal concepts like last year’s ‘waves’ theme. However, the jammers get to dictate how their games reflect that theme too.
In 2012, Dr. Kimberly Voll, a professor at UBC at the time, helped to bring the global event to Vancouver.
Since then, it has grown from a modest beginning of 40 participants to a hearty 200 jammers.
A GGJV 2018 Site Organizer, Michael Liu, told Daily Hive that Vancouver has one of the biggest jamming sites in the world with “the largest one in one room.”
To shepherd the game from concept to completion, jammers often lug desktops, laptops, and even sleeping bags to the venue.
Besides that, there will be some free food and an ample reserve of coffee to sustain jammers’ energies during the event.
Liu notes that some hardcore jammers stay at the site for the full 48 hours, but many leave to rest and recharge.
“I definitely encourage everyone to get at least some sleep every night — no point getting burned out and not have any fun during the jam, you’re not cramming for a project!”
GGJV is many things, but it is definitely not a competition. No winner is crowned at the end of the hectic two days.
Instead, your team’s created game is the prize at the end of the ordeal. You can continue working on these games with your group after the event for a full release as well.
Jammers can also use this short burst of creativity to measure which of their game dev skills are strong and which skills need polish.
At GGJV, you will network with other like-minded folks too, as the chaotic experience makes for a great bonding experience.
While indie game developers and game development students will certainly join GGJV, you’ll also find many participants with zero experience in game development too.
Although knowing how to use Unity is useful, anyone is welcome to jam it up.
For newbies this year, Liu shares some sage on jamming:
“Do not worry about the quality of your game. 48 hours is a very short amount of time to complete any project, let alone one that requires coordination between various disciplines.”
“What Global Game Jam encourages is the complete execution of ideas from beginning to end, and the ability to actually finish making a game is worth more than all the good ideas in the world.”
When: Friday, January 26 to Sunday, January 28
Time: Open for entire 48 hours
Where: Life Sciences Institute, East Atrium, UBC – 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver