17th November 2010

One Time Back At GamerCamp

You know how you sometimes get incredibly motivated after attending a great event? I’ve been seeing that enthusiasm in the twittersphere, only it didn’t start after this particular event, it started well before. The event I’m talking about is the now two year old GamerCamp, which took place in Toronto over the past weekend. The GamerCampcamp was so successful, organizers Jaime Woo and Mark Rabo have announced GamerCamp Jr., which will take place in Toronto in March 2011. They are also looking at expanding GamerCamp events in other cities. I recommend visiting GamerCamp’s web site to see what a great time everyone had at this second GamerCamp event.

A spin-off activity which I have watched take shape on Twitter is the Game Prototype Challenge. Jason Kaplan, who is a triOS College student currently interning at Transgaming Studios, said that he felt so enthusiastic after GamerCamp, he wanted to start working on something, but he didn’t know exactly what that would be. I asked him to send me more details on this Challenge, which he did. Below is what he told me:

“It was the day after Gamercamp, and like many who attended, I was feeling in a game-making mood. After absorbing all the amazing and inspiring talks from the weekend’s event, it seemed only natural to
immediately start prototyping something; but what, I did not know, so I turned to the Twitterverse.”

“I knew I wanted to make some kind of 2D platformer, but was getting stuck on the collectible that would be the critical component in getting the highest score (something like coins in Super Mario Bros.) After considering several ideas and realizing they had all been done before, I put out a public request for ideas. I only got one response, from my good friend Jon Remedios (@JonRemedios on
Twitter).”

Jon’s response to Jason was as follows:

@JonRemedios: “@JasonPKaplan You mean other than fruit? Dreams. So you can collect a pocketful of dreams.”

Absolutely unhelpful, we exchanged some banter and friendly insults, until the following was said:

@JonRemedios: “@JasonPKaplan I’m going to make a game with that and you’re going to brim with jealousy.”

Jason continued with his reasons for creating Game Prototype Challenge:

“It’s hard to walk away from something like that, so I formalized the challenge, and he accepted. I gave it a time line of a week, and cemented the constraints, and realized that this would be more fun if more people were involved, so I coined the hashtag #GamePrototypeChallenge and started tweeting about it.”

GamePrototypeChallenge“I’m not sure why, as initially no one really jumped on board, but I got overly excited about this. I created a separate Twitter page, @GamePrototypeCh, formalizing the event as v1, or ‘Version 1′ and setting it up to run immediately, with the requirement that developers use the themes ‘collectibles’ and ‘dreams’. Working in teams is fine, though we recommend keeping them small, to pairs and trios. As this is a rapid prototype challenge, it is suggested developers utilize software like Flash, Unity, Game Maker, or something similar, but of course anybody can choose any tools they want; the goal is to get people making games, and if other people came away from Gamercamp as excited to do that as I did, then this would be a great motivator to make it happen.”

Later that same night, Jason set up a homepage (there isn’t much on it yet, Jason said that could change soon) and a Facebook page and that’s the state Game Prototype Challenge is in today.

He stated that “It’s been only a few days, but we’ve seen a lot of positive reception so far, and I’m absolutely thrilled to see what games we get next week. The Prototype Challenge is completely not-for-profit and just-for-fun, and if it is received well enough we’ll continue doing new versions, probably monthly. To be a part of the experience, simply make the game under the previously mentioned conditions, make it available online, and tweet a link to it with the hashtag #GamePrototypeChallenge on Twitter.”

“If reception is strong, we’ll take this beyond Twitter, but for now it’s all being organized there. If you wish to do this but flat-out refuse to use Twitter, that’s absolutely okay, and you can email me a link to your game at and I will add the link and hashtag for you (the developer). All links to games will be archived on the site (which will likely get an upgrade after Version 1 comes to an end) so that people can quickly and easily check out all the themed prototypes. GamePrototypeChallenge does not claim any ownership over these–the creators retain full ownership–and since the submitters provide the link to the game under their own hosting control, they are free to take them down at will (so I apologize for the potentially many dead links in the archives in the future!)”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 9:38 am and is filed under Events, Game Dev, National News, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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