The STL site for the Global Game Jam 2012 has 70 people, about 10 different games, a multitude of cables taped to the floor, and seven empty Pointersaurs Pizza boxes (with five more pizzas on the way). We’re taking care of business.
As an onlooker, the scene is quite impressive. The amount of focus, teamwork, and communication is astounding. And the random tidbits of conversations overheard is hysterical:
“What sound does a scorpion make?”
“Zombies, mummies, robots. Oh my!”
“When’s more pizza getting here?”
The UMSL Chancellor even stopped by before we got started. He admitted he didn’t really understand what we were there for, but was still impressed that so many people had shown up. Either way, his support granted him a free t-shirt.
These types of events also surprise me with the different types of people that come. We have professionals, amateurs, high schoolers, college students, “grown ups,” girlfriends that sit quietly in the corner to be supportive. We even have a father and son team. The kid is 7 years old and sure knows his way around audio equipment. Such a unique mix of people.
What I’m finding the most entertaining, is looking at the different groups and trying to guess what roles an individual is playing. The audio guys are the ones that are leaned back in their chairs looking the most relaxed. The designers are constantly amongst their groups or writing/drawing on the marker boards. Now the programmers and artists are pretty similar. They are both hunched over withe their faces very close to the screen. The difference is that the programmer has both hands on the keyboard and the artist has one hand on the mouse and the other on the keyboard.
So we’ve been working for about five hours now and it’s amazing how much some of the groups have gotten done. I can’t wait to see where everyone is this time tomorrow. Until then, more Pointersaurus Pizza just got here!
We are breaking all attendance records! Oh how far we’ve come, from that first jam with a half-dozen scrappy game developers. As of this writing, there are 79 people signed up for this weekend. St. Louis is on the leaderboard as one of the biggest jam sites in the world! And because UMSL is graciously making multiple rooms available, we have room for even more jammers!
Want to be involved? Here are the steps in a nutshell:
* Register at the Global Game Jam site, ASAP!
* Be there (UMSL SSB building, room 410) this Friday, January 27th, at 4 pm. (check here for a full schedule)
* Bring a wifi-enabled computer with you (note, if you don’t have a computer, you can still participate by designing a non-digital boardgame or card game!)
* Be ready with all the programs and utilities you need already installed (trust us, it’s a bad idea to be installing and learning new applications at the jam itself!)
* Read our FAQ!
For more info, just scroll down and read older blogs here, to get more of an idea of what these jams are like! If you need to ask questions, request a ride, equipment, anything like that, you can also join the STLGameDev mailing list, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is going to be one heck of a jam! We’ve got a ton of sponsors, will have free food and drink, and free t-shirts. One caveat about the shirts though, is we only ordered 75! So t-shirts will be FIRST COME FIRST SERVE. Get to the jam on time at 4 pm on Friday for the best shot at getting one!
The Game Jam this weekend is going to be a blast!
Tonight (Monday), the St. Louis Game Dev Meetup Group will be having a pre-jam meetup. This will go over the basics of what the Game Jam is, as well as walk through an example game jam. No, we won’t actually make games, but it will effectively be the same process as the very beginning of the jam, to prepare you for the battle royal that will ensue.
No need to bring computers or anything else, just your willing mind and body. The meetups are great fun to begin with, and with the Game Jam being the topic tonight, it’s sure to be even more fun. So, Join in! You can find the meetup page here. It starts as 7pm tonight (Moday the 23rd)
See you there!
4 pm: Doors open. C’mon in, connect to wi-fi. Don’t worry too much about where to sit, we’ll be rearranging things when teams form anyway. T-shirts will be first come first serve, and we are expecting to run out, so be there on time to ensure that you get one!
4:30ish: General announcements, and show keynote video
5 pm: Secret theme is announced!! Then we break up into brainstorming groups to figure out what the heck to do with it!
6: Re-gather to hear brainstorming ideas
6:30: Team-forming around different ideas
7 pm: Get to work!
8ish: Pointersaurus pizza, sponsored by Simutronics, with sodas sponsored by the Webster Video Game Club (thank you!)
Midnight: Doors close for the night. You can leave some small stuff in the room, but please take anything valuable with you. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ITEMS LEFT UNATTENDED.
8 a.m. – Midnight: Jamming! Meals sponsored by the UMSL Information Systems Programming Club, and Riot Games (thank you!)
8 a.m.: Doors open. Meals sponsored by Riot Games and IDC (thank you!)
3 pm: Games have to be finished, get ‘em uploaded!
3:30: Gather to view finished games, and socialize
5-6 pm: Cleanup, followed by sleep!
Below is a Google map highlighting the Social Sciences & Business Building. We’re in Room 410 starting at 4PM on Friday, January 27th, 2012. Directions:
Parking can be found just south of the building off of West Drive.
A PDF of the campus map with parking can be found here: http://www.umsl.edu/files/pdfs/north-campus-map.pdf
Make sure to print out a parking pass for your vehicle and display it in the driver’s side of the dashboard. There is a separate pass for each day. If you don’t bring one, don’t worry, extra passes can be picked up at the jam itself. Plus campus security has assured us they won’t be super strict about parking that weekend anyway.
We hope the Game Jam is a fun learning experience for everyone. After the jump, you’ll find a collection of free resources we’ve set up or suggest trying out. FREE STUFF ALERT! These are not programs for making games themselves, but are more like tools to ease the process of “jamming” with the rest of your team. Use of any tool is entirely optional, we encourage each team to use what works best for them. Even if it means using lots of crayons and nerf guns.
On to the suggestions!
Try out dropbox for what is essentially an internet thumb drive. If you share a folder across a team, all files are synced in a matter of seconds. Storage up to 2GB is free. Windows/Mac/PC/ENIAC. (Maybe, with some tinkering.)
Shared To Do List
Trello is “frictionless” shared to do list. It takes the concept of Post It notes on a board, and displays them as a webpage that multiple users can access. Use it to assign tasks, keep track of bugs, lunch runs, stolen shoelaces, anything you like. Free, no user or project limit.
Public Domain Artwork
For a first pass of a game, you may need a lot of basic graphics to get the idea across for your prototype. Try out Clker for a very large collection of completely free clip art that is in the public domain (legally use in anything you create for any purpose).
Chat and File Transfer
Simple, easy, and free are a great combo. By adding a group of people to a Skype conversation, you can easy share files of any size, send blocks of text, or chat. The client runs on Windows/Mac/Linux and is lightweight enough to keep open in the background.
Version Control and Bug Tracking
The cornerstone of any professional development team, version control allows you to share source code across team members so everyone can edit at the same time. Having one place to track problems also keeps things working smoothly. We set up a private server for the Game Jam (and a few weeks afterwards) to host everyone’s projects. Sign up for a free Redmine account at http://stlgamejam.idcprojects.com/. Help on how to use the tool is inside (GIT and SVN available). No more excuses for losing files when you pour a full can of Red Bull into your laptop.
Game Jam veterans will be there to help you through the process or offer their own suggestions, and I urge you to contact me personally if you have any questions setting these services up or how to use them. Just ask around for Orlando. The big red guy will likely know where I am (and he’s easier to spot).
It’s almost here! Are you ready? Have you registered at the Global Game Jam site? Do you have a wifi-enabled computer to bring with you? Have you already got it loaded with all the programs and utilities you need? Have you read the FAQ? Do you know how to get to room 410 of the SSB building at UMSL at 4 p.m. on Friday, January 27th? Are you ready for pizza???? (well, we know the answer to the last one).
Want more info? Come to the (optional) pre-jam meetup this Monday, January 23rd, at 7 pm at Simutronics. We’ll be answering questions, and going through some brainstorming exercises to get the creative juices flowing. For more info, check the meetup page.
Let’s get jamming!