The fated hour has finally arrived!
A large number of game developers all over the world, may they be students, professionals and/or independent, have gathered in their country’s game jam locations to take part in the biggest game development marathon of the year: the 2012 Global Game Jam. Roughly a hundred participants in the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and more than thirty in the University of the Philippines ITTC have signed-up toÂ take part in this exciting two-day race to create a fully-functional game.
Will they make the cut, or will they crash and burn? Back2GamingÂ covers the events as they unfold! Read on!
From all around they came; a brilliant procession of bright minds converging to weave dreams in the span of two days. Students, professionals, independents, you name it: these guys are here to create a game in the event known as the Manila Game Jam.
For those who are not familiar with the event, here is the description from the official Global Game Jam site:
The Global Game Jam was the brainchild of IGDA Education SIG director, Susan Gold, in collaboration with active IGDA members Gorm Lai and Ian Schreiber. GGJ was founded in 2008 as an IGDA event to broaden the outreach of the game education and the goals of Curriculum Framework while giving the world an opportunity to create games in the worldâ€™s largest Game Jam to date. The GGJ prides itself on collaboration, both in organizing as well as making of games. GGJ was inspired by and modeled itself after the Nordic Game Jam.
The 1st Annual Global Game Jam was held January 30-February 1, 2009 to much critical acclaim and success. With over 1600 participants in 23 countries, and a theme of “As long as weÂ have each other, we will never run out of problems,” the GGJ produced 370 games. In 2010, the number of participants increased to over 4300 with 900 finished games on the theme of “Deception”, and in 2011 there were 6500 participants in 44 countries, who created over 1500 games!
GGJ is a volunteer-run organization, built upon the very hard work of its leadership, site organizers and of course the participants.
Okay, back to my adventure!
5:00 P.M., De La Salle-College of St. Benilde ampitheatre
I arrived at the College of St. Benilde‘s ampitheatre at around five in the afternoon, thirty minutes late for the opening of the event. Excitement flowed through my veins as I gazed uponÂ the huge number of participants, all geared up for the upcoming task. This is the biggest jam I have ever seen since my participation in the first Game Jam back in 2010, and it looks promising.
I caught the latter part of what seemed to be a Unity 3D presentation, an appealing development tool for those who wish to create rapid prototypes of their game due to its functionality and ease of use.
After the presentation were the CSB house rules, given by sir Norman Lee, head of the Game Design and Development department (CSB-GDD) of Benilde.
What followed was a lengthy keynote presentation by various development icons such as Gordon Bellamy (IGDAÂ chairman), John Romero (former Ion Storm CEO), and Will Wright (creator of The Sims).
Other individuals were presented as well in the video such as BaiyonÂ (a multimedia artist from Japan) and Gonzalo Frasca (founder of Uruguay-based game dev company Powerful Robot Games). Each shared their insight on particular facets of development (collaboration, inspiration and innovation, to name a few).
After the keynote was the moment everyone was waiting for: the announcement of this year’s theme. Due to the time difference between other jam sites, we are not allowed to post the theme of the event for now.
I got to talk to some of the student participants in the event:[/caption]
These “focus groups”, as discussed in the event mechanics, will collaborate to create three ideas, commonly known in game dev as a “pitch”. They will be then tasked to present those said pitches to the crowd at around 8:30 in the evening.
Each team is comprised of roughly ten members each, a good mix of experienced and non-experienced developers.
While the participants brewed their ideas, I interviewed Paul Gadi (current chairman of the IGDA Manila chapter) regarding the Manila Game Jam and its nuances:
I then took off to see the next jam site: UP-ITTC.
10:00 P.M., University of the Philippines ITTC
It was already dark when I reached the second jam site all the way in UP. The number of participants in the location were few, but don’t let their numbers fool you: they’re seasonedÂ veterans.
It was reported that By Implication, the team responsible for Wildfire (the winner of the 2010 Imagine Cup) and Scram, were present in the location, as well as some guys from Anino Games, two ofÂ them being past Game Jam winners, namely Jayson Gavarra (the guy I worked with on Crease, Manila Game Jam 2010’s top game) and Marnielle Estrada (developer of Speck, winner of theÂ 2011 Manila Game Jam). The location was quiet, but there was a subtle aura of intensity in the air.
I interviewed the location organizers, ladies from DevCon Philippines. Apparently the team compositions for this particular location are not randomized, and they are also expecting a few more participants to arrive the following day.
This marks the third year of the Manila Game Jam, and things are definitely looking up. I wonder what kind of games will come out of the minds of these brilliant individuals? All we can do is waitÂ until Sunday when the awarding ceremony commences. Until then, stay tuned to Back2Gaming!