Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Just a few more days until our 4th biannual Game Jam!!! This week Cindy was kind enough to give us some few tips on how to get the most out of Game Jam.

  1. Talk to people who have participated before and try to find a group with them. Think of it as if it were a 42 hours apprenticeship.
  2. Make sure you don't try and create Starcraft 2. Focus on a game with a small enough scope that you can get it working. Then you can add onto that if you have time.
  3. Eat the free food.
  4. Make sure to pace yourself. Don't try to stay up 42 hours programming because you'll start making terrible mistakes.
In addition to that Cindy played some Papers, Please. She actually did really well, and though one of her children got sick and her family had to go cold and hungry some nights, they were still alive by the time the meeting ended. While on the job she was hit on by women going to diva shows, she conformed to peer pressure on whether to deny or admit, and had her character randomly threatened.


Below you'll find more information on the Game Jam written by our founder, Livio De La Cruz. The dates have been updated.

Once every semester, the GameDev Club holds an epic, multi-day, game-making marathon known as a game jam. During this event, students from all sorts of different backgrounds and majors come together to form teams and make an entire game in a single weekend. The game jam is definitely one of the most fun things you'll do all year, and it's a great excuse to broaden your skill set. Plus, there's free food all weekend.

Our next game jam will be on the weekend of April 4th, and this time the event will last for 42 hours so that you can have time on Sunday to get plenty of rest and catch up on any homework you might have.

  • Starts: Friday, Nov 7th at 5:00pm
  • Ends: Sunday, Nov 9th at 1:00pm
  • Location: Electrical and Computer Engineering building, room 105
  • As usual, it's a good idea to plan ahead so that you can minimize the amount of classwork that you'll have that weekend. For more information about the event, please read the rest of the post.

How does the Game Jam work?

Because the purpose of the game jam is to encourage students to improve and learn new skills, the game jam is open to anyone from any background and level of experience. For instance, the game jam is a great opportunity for artists and musicians to work on a game project and to see what it can be like to be part of a game development team.

In order to prevent people from starting their games early, every game has to be made around a theme, which is revealed at the start of the game jam. These themes are usually vague and open ended, so you'll have plenty of room to come up with something creative. Some examples of typical game jam themes are: evolution, color, artificial, etc.

If you want to get a much better idea of what the game jam is like, click here to read about how our previous game jam went.


Friday, Nov 7th, from 4:00pm to 5:00pm: many people will be transporting their computers, monitors, musical instruments, drawing tablets, etc., into the room. If you want to bring anything earlier, please contact Jonathan at jonwrightcs@email.arizona.edu

Friday, Nov 7th, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm: we're going to have a "social hour." During this time, participants will get a chance to eat dinner, talk to other participants, and most importantly, form teams. People also use this time to prepare their workspace so that they can work more closely with their team.

Friday, Nov 7th, at 6:00pm: the theme is announced and everyone gets to work. This is when the 42-hour countdown begins, and then everyone's games will be due at 12:00pm on Sunday.

Sunday, Nov 9th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm: At this point, everyone's games will be due! We'll present everyone's games and then the community will vote on which game they think was the best. After this, everyone will be free to go home, unless they want to help us clean up. After cleaning up, many of us will be going to eat lunch together at some restaurant, so you're encouraged to join us!

Most people will go home during the first night so that they can get some sleep, and this is especially convenient for those who live on campus. Some participants, however, like to bring in sleeping bags and toothbrushes so that they can sleep in the room. We will have multiple officers on duty throughout the entire event so that we can keep an eye on everything and to make sure that nothing gets stolen or damaged.

Important Tips and Advice

Important: Please put the room's phone number into your phone contacts: (520) 626-7324. If you ever get locked out of the building during the event, you can then call this number and we will send someone to let you in. We will likely have poor cellphone reception throughout the event, since we will be in what is essentially the basement of the ECE building. This is why we insist that you call the room phone because that will be the most reliable. Also, the poor reception will eat away at your phone's battery, so you might want to bring your charger.

You should be able to get free parking in the parking lot next to the ECE building starting at 5:00pm on Friday. Parking on campus is usually free during the weekends, unless there's a big event such as a home football game.

Also, please plan to take a lot of breaks. It's not healthy to sit in front of a computer for more than a few hours at a time, so use this as an excuse to get up, go outside, and get some sun. Having your entire team take breaks together can make for some great team-bonding moments since you typically spend that time having fun.

And finally, don't get discouraged if you don't have a lot of experience! Usually half of our participants are new to making games, and the game jam is actually a great environment to learn how to build your first game. The constraints of the event will teach you how to focus on the most important parts of your game, and you'll get to more clearly see how your work gets translated into the final product.


If you have any more questions, please ask Cindy at cindytrieu@email.arizona.edu