06 Feb 2018

Global Game Jam 2018 - Sofia Almqvist's diary

Last weekend saw the 10th Global Game Jam (GGJ). It is the world's largest game creation event taking place at physical locations. As with last year, The Great Northern hosted a GGJ event.

The weekend creates a global creative buzz in games. It explores the process of development, including idea creation, programming, iterative design, narrative exploration, soundtracks and artistic expression. This is all condensed into a 48-hour development cycle.

 The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity. The structure of a jam is usually that everyone gathers on late afternoon on Friday, watches a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers, and then a secret theme is announced. 

All GGJ events worldwide are then challenged to make games based on that theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon. This year there were an incredible 42,792 participants who made 8,597 games at 803 sites in 108 countries.

 And here is the diary of one of those participants, Sofia Almqvist, who took part at TGN.

 

Day one - Introduction

 SA: We are introduced to the secret theme which is "transmission" and divided into different groups. In my group there is also Bilal Zubeidat, Khoubaeib Klai, Jonas Roininen and Dylan Johnsson - three programmers and two graphic artists. And Mathieu Keith who makes the music. 

We start by reviewing different game tutorials and ponder how to best use the theme. I have an idea of ​​making a drawing program. But because the game mechanics become unclear and difficult to implement, the search continues for an even better game idea!

We finally fasten on to a game that is a combination of several of our team members' ideas. Our final idea is a space game where aliens realize that the Earth is about to be hit by an asteroid - but Earth’s population do not know! Your task as a player is to guide a laser beam containing a warning message through different satellites and space stations to Earth.

 We get busy!

 And among the other teams there is also much going on. Everyone chooses to interpret “transmission” in different ways, with everything from submarines to radio-controlled dogs. It will be exciting to see work continue tomorrow!

 

 Day two - Game creation is under way!

 Now we are fully working with our game. Bilal and I have begun drawing satellites and planets, Dylan, Jonas and Khoubaeib are doing the programming. The work goes well during the day, we work hard but also take time to eat snacks and sandwiches. And of course we also discuss our favorite games!

 I also take time to check out the big screen where a stream is showing GGJs from other parts of the world. It's so fascinating and fun that people are sitting and making games right now, just like us!

 I'm looking forward to trying some of the games when the event is over. In the evening, we eat pizza together with everyone and then take a group photo. It's hard to fit everyone in the picture because there are so many of us - wow!

 We work a few more hours, and then go to bed.

 

 Day three - The finale

 We gather at half past ten on Sunday and go through what's left to do. Bilal and I finished a lot of the graphics yesterday, but we still have buttons, credits and a game-over screen to design. The others continue with the last programming. We suddenly realize that we need to simplify part of the game and the pressure is intense. 

The 15.00 game submission time is approaching and we need to upload the game to the GGJ website. But it’s not easy because so many want to upload their games and the GGJ page loads slowly. Finally, we are able to upload the game, but it turns out that the game can not be played on anyone's computer except Dylan’s! Oh no!

 It was, of course, a pity, but we still had fun on the game jam, although not everything went as it should. But we will try to complete our game at a later date instead! The day ends with cleaning up and then taking a quick review of everyone's projects. Now the game jam is over and I'm home - it's been a happy weekend and I'm looking forward to the next GGJ in 2019!

 

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