RE: Jörg Müller (Game Jam Graz) on the Game Jam results

Posted on Thu 08 November 2012 in university

Game Jam Graz’s organizer, Jörg Müller, on the results of the first Game Jam (German link)

I will be doing this Evade & Counter a bit differently than usual since I’m not willing to translate the entirety of Jörg’s post for you. I’ll be summing up a few key sections and comment on those. You should look at the linked article nevertheless since it has some screenshots of our work.

The teams from the idea finding phase more or less stayed the same for the final teams, since you’re obviously more motivated to contribute to a project for whose idea you’re at least partially responsible.

Not so sure. Certainly you having contributed to a project’s initial vision gives you some sense of motivation but I’m tempted to say many of the Game Jam’s participants just chose the project they found to have the best possible chance for them to contribute in their specific field of work. I’m willing to bet that’s the reason our team (‘Escape’) attracted so many sound designers.

Escape

I’ve already talked about most of our struggles at length. There’s a lot we could’ve done better and some lessons were learned. I’ll probably post my own piece with a little conclusion in some time.

Lecture Hall Games

Lecture Hall Games felt like the most feature complete project to me during the presentation. They had their work in a state which was stable enough to allow a hands-on demo. Other Game Jam participants with Android phones were able to join the multiplayer demo during the final event.
Their code is already on github and they’ve shown they are fast coders and made the right choice in technology for their project.

Pandemic Solars

I like the idea of having to prevent a solar system from the corruption that overpopulation may bring and their space simulation feeling. The graphics for their planets showed good level of detail and even though none of their devs had worked with the Unity engine before they showed considerable progress in those three days.

Pushback

On the technical side I kind of envy them for their usage of Python. Using Python and the Panda3D engine from the start may have made things go a lot easier for my team too. Unfortunately I failed to ask whether any of them had already had experience with said engine before. No offense here, but this kind of casual, competitive game bores me.

Organizational efforts

Have a short list of the entire staff:

  • 14 developers
  • 8 sound designers & musicians
  • 6 graphic artists
  • 2 writers
  • 2 people on the documentary team (filming, interviewing)

Next time we’d like to use the third floor of the building instead of the second one, since no one used the computers provided by the university.

Yes, I totally agree. First, there are sofas. Nothing beats sofas. In addition to that there are no computers provided by the university at the third floor, which further lowers the possibility of other students invading our territory during the event. Furthermore everyone either brought their laptops or desktop machines. I’d say this had to be expected since it’s hard to get used to a different desktop environment, setup or even operating system and still work under time pressure. Most people brought the setup they were already familiar with and worked productively. Those that didn’t because they had no chance of getting familiar beforehand suffered - like our devs. Other devs were more flexible and showed talent in compensating the unfamiliarity.

The participants were eager to have the next Game Jam. It should already be a ‘real’ Game Jam with both a given topic and the competitive aspect. There should already be the option to sign up as teams.

Amazingly, that’s not the impression I got from the feedback at the presentation on Saturday. I think there are still people who are not sure what they are going to do if the registration is team based because that implies that you should already have found a team for the event beforehand. I’m also not sure that turning everything into a competition yields more promising results than our current model - but on the other hand I was also skeptic of that.
Nevertheless many people will be pushing themselves harder if there’s a competitive aspect. This time everyone got at least nearly enough sleep. No sleeping bags or hammocks at the event. I doubt that will stay the same if there’s heavy competition between the teams.

The next Game Jam will be October 2013 or later due to personal reasons.

We’ll see. I would be massively disappointed if there was no such event during the next term at university. Currently I’m asking around and looking for help, maybe even some ideas for workshops and lectures we may offer as well as trying to come up with possible dates for a Game Jam. I don’t like the thought that the whole idea is on hiatus because our current organizer is not available.

It will probably be a lot of work but I’m willing to look into that in order to try and enable a biyearly schedule for our Game Jam.