Global Game Jam is the world’s largest creative event where thousands of people in hundreds of locations worldwide gather at local sites to meet other creative people, artists, programmers, sound designers, writers, and game enthusiasts to build games over a span of 48 hours.
Bellevue College was one of the local sites that held this year’s Global Game Jam. BC welcomed jammers of all levels and backgrounds. Participants could jam solo or with a team of friends. People didn’t have to worry if they lacked a team, because they could form one at the event. Admission was $10 for BC students and $40 for non-BC students, and each ticket included six meals on-site.
The event’s registration opened at 1 p.m. in N building, accompanied by open gaming. At 3 p.m., four different pre-event workshops began; they covered introduction to Unity, Intro to Coding for Designers, Intermediate Unity and Introduction to Design in VR.
The official event started at 5 p.m. in room N 201 with a brief kick-off by Michael Reese, director of the RISE Learning Institute, and Renee Nejo, a game design instructor who attended as a mentor. Nejo said, “One of the reasons this event is so important to me personally is that about a decade ago, when I was a student, I was not succeeding in my classroom. It was very stressful watching my classmates progress so much quicker than me. When I graduated, I still felt remarkably unprepared for the industry. However, what I found is that through game jams, I found myself a safe space to apply my knowledge with very little risk. Successful or not the game jam may be, I came out of it richer in knowledge. …I encourage my students to participate in game jams. You will learn so much in a short amount of time. This industry values experience, and this is the fastest way to get from point A to B. I am so happy to see so many of you here.”
Participants watched a 20-minute Global Game Jam keynote and theme introduction for 2019 in N 201 before pitching their ideas. This year’s theme was “What Home Means to You.” Many of the attendees pitched their game ideas in the front of the room before everyone moved to N 250, which was the main game development area.
Honeylieg V. Wiltse, a student employee from the RISE Maker Space said, “this game jam is a beautiful mix of tech people and non-tech people. You may study music and art and still enjoy this event.”
“It is Maker Space’s first overnight event, and this is the first time participants can stay here 24 hours,” Mohammad Mian noted.
One of the participants, Michael Laplante, said on Friday night, “my team is building a game where you control like a herd of creatures, and when you try to move, you have to move on beep. If you hit the beep, your herd of creatures are going to move forward; if you miss the beep, some of the herd will fall behind.”
Arran Davis, an intern at Microsoft who participated, said, “we are making a multi-players game called ‘Adopt a Dog’. Users play like a dog, and ‘fight’ with other ‘dogs’ to get the spot to earn points. Whoever gets the most points gets adopted and wins.”
After the game jam, Reben Rakete, another participant, said, “one thing I learned from this game jam was that we should have got the game running earlier because we developed everything separately and then tried to put all together at the end. If we put the programs all together earlier and added to that base, the whole process would have been a lot easier and faster.”
The Global Game Jam at BC was a success. Most of the participants were able to showcase what they had built over the weekend on Sunday afternoon.