Vancouver – We dropped by SFU Harbour Centre on Saturday afternoon to check in on the local entries for IGDA’s Global Game Jam event. There were 26 entrants for this inaugural competition, which was opened with a Keynote address given by Kyle Gabler (World of Goo). This was followed with the reading of the competition’s constraints and team formation.
The smallest team, Scorched Physics, was comprised of just 3 members, while One Tonne Punch weighed in with an 8 member team. Several participants came from UBC, SFU, VFS and the Masters of Digital Media programme at GNWC, while several were recent graduates now working in the
game development industry at studios such as Relic, Radical and Deep Fried Entertainment, with one competitor hailing from Seattle, who works at Satori Software. The only female competitor, freelance artist Rachel Curtis worked on The Treelings’ team.
Several mentors volunteered their time and knowledge throughout the weekend to assist the development teams; Mitch Lagran of Koolhaus Games was on duty while we were there, and he stated that there were “some cool ideas and a good mix of teams and game styles.” Other mentors included Sebastian Enrique, David Rutter and Dan Taylor of EA Canada, Delna Bhesania, CEO Bardel Entertainment and Pat McGee of BCIT.
It was very interesting to see how far each team had gotten in just the few short hours in which they’d been working. Every game started with an idea, a pitch and paper protyping before moving on to the digital pipeline. Each team had its strengths and weaknesses, and it was important for each group to compensate for those weaknesses with their strengths, while making a stab at the areas in which they lacked expertise. This weekend saw the rapid development of several viable game ideas, from timed platform level games to physics based space shooters and block-pushing puzzlers – however, the weekend would not have been complete without the requisite zombie game, which was developed by Team Blob Boy.
Development time ended at 3pm on Sunday, when all of the game prototypes had to be handed in. This was followed by presentations, critiques, prizes and a reflective discussion on what had been accomplished over the competition time period. The feeling I got from every participant when we were there was that they were enjoying the whole process of searching out unique ideas, making new friends and rising to challenges while following the protocol of a typical game development production plan. I think that the supporters, organizers and participants are to be congratulated for their efforts, and I hope that many more of these types of events will be held in the future.
Please visit the official Global Game Jam Vancouver page for a full listing of the final games, playable files and critiques.