January saw return of the Global Game Jam at Farset Labs in Belfast. This year was the biggest yet, seeing 15 teams enter under the theme of 'Waves'. Three teams also won tickets to the NI Game Awards show the following weekend. Here is what two of them had to say about the event:
Thomas Hislap; Coffeebox Games & Titanic - Never Let Go
'This year was our first game jam and despite being down a team-member and a severe chest infection, we had an absolute blast making something without the pressure of commercial release. We found the atmosphere of the event to be extremely inviting, and we certainly picked up some new skills watching how other teams worked together.
We went in with the intention of making something silly, this turned out to be the perfect environment for just that! The best part of the Jam for us was getting to see so many devs play our game in person and have fun with such a silly concept. Looking forward to next years Jam already. Big thanks for farset labs and NI screen for orchestrating the event.'
Daniel McDowell - Barbara & Gordon
I was quite anxious about signing up for the Game Jam because I hadn't done anything in the games development space for about 4 years. I was incredibly rusty and I didn't want to hold the team back. Our team was made up of people who had never met before and didn't have a team. Nevertheless, we sat down, discussed ideas and by the end of the first night, I had been introduced to a few new technologies, primarily Git.
The next morning, I discovered our team of 5 was down to 3. Thankfully, this didn't disband the whole team; rather, it made our responsibilities on the project clearer and made us determined to create something. As always, there were frustrating times when we couldn't get something working and had to make compromises due to the time constraints, but we prioritised features and managed to make something we could demo.
Despite our struggles, we won a spot prize for our game. I couldn't believe it! I learned many new things and made some new contacts. I got to witness and play some truly innovative games that use the latest technology and work in the same room as those creators. Initially, I wasn't sure if giving up my relaxing weekend to spend more time staring at a computer screen was the right thing to do, but now, I believe it was. My fire for developing video games is back!
You can view all of the Global Game Jam entries over at Global Game Jams website.