For the last five years, Birmingham City University has opened their gates as hosts to the annual Global Game Jam, a 48-hour game development event aimed at bringing anyone with a passion for games together to create a game from scratch. The diversity the jam promotes speaks volumes from its 36,000 jammers, 7,000 produced games and the involvement of 95 different countries this year alone.
I had the pleasure of organising this year’s event on behalf of the Computer Games Technology course. While I have planned other events in the past, the GGJ is particularly special to me as it promotes a platform that encourages developers of all abilities the experience to collaborate and produce something they can be proud of in just a weekend.
Being surrounded by an ocean of other passionate developers offers a unique opportunity to get instant feedback from those in similar roles but with a range of diverse backgrounds. Whether there is an issue with their code, a creative block or you’re just particularly curious about something, there is always someone around that can offer their input.
While news spreads across the university year-by-year, the quality of our events attracts students from around the country. From Nottingham to Cambridge, from Reddit to Twitter, the event has spiked in popularity this year, reaching a record-breaking 100 attendees and making this year the most attended GGJ event hosted at BCU.
There was a consistently positive atmosphere, partially lit with the excitement of glow sticks and neon bracelets, even with the wave of exhaustion hitting those attempting to ironman the 48 hours without any sleep.
We also had the honour of receiving Jake Parker and Adam Kaye from fishinabottle as well as Andrew Hague from Very Good Friend, having their expertise in the judging process was a great asset and allowed our developers to ask questions, receive feedback on their games and expand their professional network. See the bottom of this page for links to their studios.
For those who were awake, we also conducted live interviews, even being featured on the official Global Game Jam “Twitch.tv” channel. It was great to see the live progress of the games being produced and the differences in workflows between teams.
After promoting a fantastic weekend of game development and collaboration, I’m incredibly proud of how well the event turned out. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Dr Wilson, our volunteers, and our fantastic guest judges from fishinabottle and Very Good Friend. Most importantly, however, we managed to cultivate a space where our many attendees could work creatively and do so with the support of a local development community.
Here’s to GGJ 2018!