Last month, Full Sail hosted the Central Florida location for the 2016 Global Game Jam. This event brought together participants from different disciplines (programmers, audio engineers, producers, artists) to create a brand-new digital game from the ground up in just 48 hours.
Compared to other game jams hosted at Full Sail throughout the year, this one stands out because it is recognized on a global scale. Participants all over the world are working at the same time to create a game born from one central theme. This year, the theme was “ritual.” Students were randomly sorted into 12 teams based on their discipline, and the madness began.
Over 130 participants (many of whom were Full Sail students, though this event was open to the public) lived in the Entertainment Business building for those 48 hours – brainstorming, collaborating, troubleshooting – and the result was 15 successful games. Even though they were allowed to leave and return at any time, most participants elected to stay on campus for the duration of the event.
“Don’t sleep!” joked Game Development bachelor’s student Yaniel Rivera. “Try to sleep at some point, but know that it’s going to be hard since you’re around so many people.”
Aside from the mostly ignored ritual of sleep, game ideas ranged from the life cycle of an elephant to having to break a spell cast by a witch doctor.
“The hardest part was trying not to go out of scope in order to finish the game,” explained Brittany Ball, a Game Design master’s student and graduate of the online Game Design bachelor’s program. “There’s also always that fear that you will end up with people who don’t do their work when teams are randomly assigned, but we had so much fun together and still got our work done.”
Although game jams can be an intense process, they are a great way to receive insight into the game industry.
“In this environment you have a dedicated person for a specific skillset and can request exactly what you need [for the project],” said Timothy Sprague, a Game Development bachelor’s student. “Instead of dumping out nine boxes of puzzles to find pieces that fit, you just say ‘I need this’ and a team member is able to give it to you.”
All of the games created from this year’s event can be found on the Global Game Jam website.