UFG at the Vancouver Global Game Jam

January 30, 2016. D Himbeault

Vancouver Global Game Jam 2016

What a terrific way to kick off the year; we attended the Vancouver Global Game Jam at the University of British Columbia from January 29 to 31.

This worldwide event brings people together from all aspects of the gaming community to sit down and hash out a game—from a blossoming idea to full completion—all within a 48-hour window. And this happens simultaneously in multiple locations all over the world. This year’s theme was “ritual”, so the game jammers were further challenged with creating a game that fit within the parameters of this subject.

As first-timers at this event, we weren’t really sure what to expect. The Vancouver Global Game Jam is the third largest event of its kind in the world, but it ranks first, in terms of the highest number of people in one location simultaneously. So when you find yourself in a hall filled with over 300 people, laptops (and a few desktops) whirring, snacks crunching and lots and lots and lots of coffee flowing, it can seem a bit overwhelming. As a new sponsor of this now-established event, we had a booth set up to show our support for the community, and answer any questions the jammers might have about UFG or our games.

UFG sent a few of our own to the jam, and we were sure to cheer them on over the course of their crazy two-day development cycle. But this isn’t a competition; it’s a really supportive experience. So we found ourselves cheering on all the participants. People came by our booth, and were really excited to show us their work-in-progress, and we were just as excited to see the awesome ideas they were coming up with. Those of us at the booth even found our own way to get involved: our own Twitter hashtag for the event—#GGJpoems We solicited poems from active jammers about their experience over the weekend. You could say we got pretty into it.

In the end, there were some real works of art that made it out of this wild ride of a weekend. We saw some really great games this year, and you can check them all out here. Team UFG split up and made two very different (but equally awesome) games, in cooperation with non-UFG staff members: Ritual Cop, and Sisyphus: Ritual of Futility.

And what was the point of all of this?

Smashing a full development cycle into a 48-hour period is a learning experience for anyone, no matter how much experience they have in the industry. Some people went outside of their comfort zones for the weekend—programmers focusing on audio, and world artists filling the coding roles—while others just did it for fun!

Witnessing the constant camaraderie and positivity that was present throughout the weekend was an amazing reminder of why we were supporting this event. There is a really great Game Dev community here in Vancouver. We are so glad that we can be a part of it, and we can’t wait to do it again. See you next year!