Editor’s note: Writing today’s Skinny and filling in for LTW Editor Rick Smith this week is Noah Garrett. You can reach Noah directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The Global Game Jam went down last weekend as more than 30 students and professionals in the Triangle got together to test-drive a few new games and work together to raise the visibility of the gaming industry in the Triangle area.
From 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30 through 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 1, more than 1000 college students, faculty and industry members from around the world participated online for a 48-hour game building marathon. The Triangle gathering all communicated and competed with other gamers worldwide.
Now with more than 20 gaming companies in the Triangle area, this is just the sort of idea to build on the progress while also attracting new talent to the area.
Participants told The Skinny that initially there was a high energy level and the designers were eager to begin the projects. As the weekend progressed, they retained an unbelievable level of focus, drilling down on core ideas and being honest about their successes and failures.
The limited time frame meant that designers had to realistically assess what worked and what didn’t. It’s a principle many in the industry see in the day-to-day workflow for making a real MMO, but it’s increasingly interesting to see how those dynamics play out over a mere 48 hours.
“We were pleased to have so many people come out to the event and represent our area. We believe our industry is growing immensely,” said a spokesman from Fallen Earth, LLC, creator of the self-titled post-apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth, who also sponsored the event.
This is the first time the Triangle game development community has been a part of such an event. While individual and regional Game Jams have been held in the last few years, never has there been one of such massive size and scope as the Global Game Jam.
“Never before have game developers around the world been able to collaborate and come together creatively on such a massive scale, and we (were) proud to add several members of our team to participate in the local gathering,” added Jim Hettinger, chief executive officer of Icarus Studios.
Global Game Jam was the brainstorm of Susan Gold, director of Game Program Review and chair of the Education Special Interest Group of the International Game Developers Association.
“It is all about the games and the ideas that form them. I was looking for a project that explored the incredible innovative and collaborative nature of video games,” says Gold. "I wanted to create the Global Game Jam as a unique idea space and an amazing experiment in creativity.”
As far as games played, the designers broke into four teams to make four unique games: “Robot Love” provided by Team Robot Love, “Breeder” by Team Minions, “SpaceFish” by Carbonated Bacon and “Space Defenders of the 23rd Century” by Team Tether.
Of the four, “Robot Love,” with its unique art style and classic arcade gameplay, drew a lot of attention.
All the games are either available for download or will be shortly from Global Game Jam’s .
The links for the pages of each game can be found on in the “On The Web” section to the right.
During the upcoming Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco on Marc 23-27, the Global Game Jame will share the most innovative games at the education summit.