The Institute of Digital Games is once again organising the Malta Global Game Jam and while many of you may already have been waiting in gleeful anticipation, allow us to briefly explain what the Malta Global Game Jam entails for the uninitiated. Registrations are now open!
The Global Game Jam is a creative event where you team up with other people to make a playable game in 48 hours. The 12th GGJ will start at 5pm (in your time zone) on January 31 and goes for around 48 hours through February 2nd 2020. The structure of a jam is usually that everyone gathers on Friday late afternoon, watches a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers, and then a secret theme is announced. Come with a team or on your own to meet your team on location. Come with an idea or come to experiment. It is all welcome at the Malta Global Game Jam. The best way to understand how it works and what it is, is to check out last year’s interview with Malta Today.
A game jam is the perfect opportunity to make your first game from start to finish! You'll team up with people with different skills (programmers, artists, designers, musicians, etc.) and various levels of experience. There is always work to do that you can do. Don’t get hung up on coding, you don’t need it to make a game.
There are many engines that allow a designer to make a game without much coding knowledge such as Gamemaker, RPG Maker, and GameSalad. The Malta Global Game Jam also welcomes board game designers and we have a box full of prototyping materials: dice, playing cards, and lots of paper.
This year we are excited to have Kari Koivistoinen a Senior Producer at Machinegames who has just shipped Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Kari has 20 years experience in the Game Industry. Producer/Co-Founder/Mentor/Advisor. He provides an interesting blend of experience working on AAA videogames as well has having started his own studio. He has worked with games like Alan Wake, Quantum Break, Crossfire X and Downward Spiral: Horus Station.
Downward Spiral: Horus Station was nominated in two categories in The Finnish Game Awards: Best Creative Achievement of the Year 2018 and Big Screen Game of the Year 2018.
2017’s keynotes Emily Short, Matt Binkowski, and Mike Cook are available on the University’s YouTube channel: Emily – Matt – Mike. In 2018 we had Tomasz Kisilewicz - Lead Artist at 11 bit studios keynoting our Game Jam. His keynote Creating Meaningful Entertainment. How do Art and Design come together to question your morality discussed how we tackle moral dilemmas in video games. And how Art and Design departments can learn and benefit from each other to deliver unique experiences. 'This War of Mine' and 'Frostpunk' served as case studies diving into the world of hard choices, dark moods and moral dilemmas in a pursuit of the light of hope for the video game industry.
We also have a great video where Jupiter Hadley plays all of the games made at the Malta Global Game Jam 2017:
Game Jam Ludum Dare is a pretty popular game jam, but we like to think that the Malta Global Game Jam follows pretty closely. In all seriousness, our jam is a small but fertile and creative ground for teams to get together and actually produce a game. In some cases this can be developed further, as for example, ‘...and then we held hands’, born at the Malta Global Game Jam went on to be a $60,000 success on Kickstarter. The turnout has been dramatically increasing and as can be attested to in last year’s post-mortem, we barely have place to fit all the jammers.
We've come a long way from our very first game jam in 2013, evidence of which can still be dug out from the dustry ruins of the interwebs.
We have consciously removed the element of competition in the hopes that it will encourage experimentation and free people to take more risks. That being said we do have a popular vote winner at the end of the game jam. Last year’s popular vote winner was a team that included two MSc in Digital Games graduates. Check out their game Cpl. Cottontail & the HMSS FriendShip in: Space Panic! and all other games made last year at the Malta Global Game Jam. In the 2019 Game Jam the winner of the popular vote was "Room with a View", their game later went on to be a finalist in Red Bull's global design challenge.
When can you start? Registrations are open now here and keep an eye out on the Malta Global Game Jam Facebook, for real time updates and tips on surviving the game jam. As usual we invest a lot in making an amazing poster to promote the Game Jam, this year the spectacular Image comic artist Dani made our poster:
So prepare your playlist and come to the Institute to make the game you’ve always wanted to make, or at least a smaller version of it. It may take a while to craft that perfect playlist, because 48 hours included a lot of songs and don’t even think about allocating time for sleep. I’m joking, getting enough sleep is a tip often stressed by veteran jammers.
We hope to welcome you here at the Institute of Digital Games in January!
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