Playing the Jam Game @ Talk and Play #5

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Game jamming is hot. All the hip devs do it. In the last ten years, the number of jams has risen to the amount that there's always a jam going on, whether online or local, and anyone is welcome to …

Game jamming is hot. All the hip devs do it. In the last ten years, the number of jams has risen to the amount that there's always a jam going on, whether online or local, and anyone is welcome to join. Lately, even scandals like the Candy trademark and Flappy Bird are popular jam material. But why? Why spend time with strangers, on projects that hardly ever get a release? What is the nature of a jam? And how can we use it to our advantage? Let's take a step back and talk about how we jam.

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  • 1. Sjors Houkes [NL] Playing the Jam Game a brief history the basic rules and some deviations for advanced players
  • 2. what this talk is about something about game jams what jamming has grown into about the why & how taking a step back asking questions making jamming better together Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 3. Who is this guy? (and wtf does he know about game jamz?) • Dutch Game Garden (2008-2011) • lots of events with game devs • Global Game Jam 2009, 2010, 2011 • 140 - 200 participants each • game jams on film festivals • game jams for external parties Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 4. i went to a jam and made this Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 5. and this Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 6. What is game jamming? taking a ridiculously small amount of time which was supposed to be your spare time to work with strangers with unknown skills on a an experimental game prototype that probably never gets released and at the end is unfinished or simply broken. *EVERYBODY CHEERS* Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 7. Then why is it so popular? Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 8. an incomplete history of indie video game jamming 2002: Indie Game Jam, Ludum Dare 2006: Nordic Game Jam, TOJam 2007: Amnesia Fortnight 2008: No More Sweden, G-Ameland 2009: Global Game Jam, BIG Jam 2011: Berlin Mini Jam 2012: Fuck This Jam, Molyjam, 7DRL, 7DFPS 2013: Full Indie Jam, more online jams 2014: Activist jams? get to the choppah: http://compohub.net/ Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 9. activist online jams Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 10. good things • freedom of creation • meeting new people • getting help • learning from others • experimentation • training improv skills • work motivator • good for portfolio • felling connected, also as an industry Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 11. questions • are we doing too many game jams? • are too many people joining? • are we doing too little with the results? • are we fostering a crunch time culture? Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 12. let’s take a step back • What is a jam like? • A jam is like a game • Theme, goal, time limit, etc. • Organizing a jam as game design • But: .. are we gaming or playing? Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 13. what’s jamming? VS MC battle jam session Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 14. back to the jam session “A jam session is a musical event, process, or activity where musicians play (i.e. "jam") by improvising without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements.” Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 15. how to jam (and make uncle bob proud) • “do not come to the Jam with a team.” • don’t prepare, except for materials • do it for fun, not to prove anything • try something new, willing to fail Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 16. jamming is playing • break the rules, experiment • make it fun for YOU • stop when you’ve had enough (sleep) • welcome changes and suggestions • don’t worry about quality • share ideas (+ assets & source code!) Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 17. lessons learned • don’t disturb people in the first few hours • don’t disturb people in the last few hours • appointing roles in a team helps, especially a main game designer • focus on just one mechanic • get play testers in as soon as possible • do something else for a while: go outside • don’t drink a lot of energy drinks • get sleep (when in a multiple-day jam) • talk to people • use deodorant • disregard all the lessons above Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 18. Things to think about (for organizers) Zuraida Buter, executive director of the Global Game Jam Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 19. designing the jam • flavour: what’s this jam about? • logistics: what do you need? • structure: how many rules & guidance? • social: how do you connect people? • challenge: competition, or not? Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 20. Who’s the winner? • if you can afford it, NOBODY. • results = frustration, disappointment • competition = less freedom • less freedom = inhibition, caution • caution = safe, no risks. • highlight unique qualities of games • (and if you do want to appoint a winner, don’t call it a jam. That’s a compo.) Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 21. we need jam innovation as well as game innovation • other types: train jam, C64 jam, riddle jam, applied jam, xxx jams, etc. • reflect rather than improve • more inclusive and inviting • more jams • funky jam costumes • … what do you think? Sjors Houkes Playing the Jam Game
 Talk ’n Play #5
  • 22. Thanks! sjorshoukes.nl ! @bekokstover