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Stories from the Game Jam

The last post reported on the DDS experience at this year’s Global Game Jam. Today we have stories from two of the students who took part…

Sophie’s Story

Sophie is a student enrolled on the MSc Medical Visualisation & Human Anatomy

For me this was the first global game jam I’ve been to, so I completely had no expectations –it was even the first time I’ve heard of it And because I wanted to feel really nerdy for 48 hours, I talked to some of my student colleagues and four of us decided to participate. And although we had mixed feelings when we received the time schedule, we persuaded ourselves to show up on Friday

It turned out to be a lot of fun! We had quite a big group  which meant: a lot of ideas, a lot of brainstorming, and a lot of jokes in between which freshened up our minds. But lots of people also meant a need for good management. Fortunately one of us, Daniel, kept it organized and called us to regular meetings inside our „Thinking Pad“ which basically was a green Little hut where all the inspirational discussion-magic happened 😀

Besides living the nerdy dream, I wanted to strengthen my coding skills, which I was able to do, because we had a programmer, Victor, on board who answered all of my annoying questions And since game does not just consist of coding, but as well of other very important tasks, I was able to watch all the team members contributing to our game with their special skill. So by watching and talking I got insight into the various areas such as game design, where Sandy was our group pioneer, and graphics, where our great designer Jen showed us some tricks in Illustrator. So these sleepless nights actually broadened my gaming horizon quite a lot!

Oh, one bad thing: the Internet was not working well at all on our side of the hall, but there was a good thing about this: People actually TALKED to each other And also in the middle of the night, when I wanted to lie down on the couch, someone else was lying there and we actually started TALKING. So the game jam is not only about sitting in front of a screen. No, people in our group actually got to know each other, and there were lots of possiblities to talk to people from other groups and I have to say, the community was really chilled and  humble and nice.

When I came back home to my flatshare, the first thing I told my flatmates was: „I like nerds “ ..and they said: „Ok cool, Sophie, but how was the coding? „

Haha so yes, it is a lot about the project, but it is also about getting to know the people and the community and enjoying a weekend full of nerdiness and trying to get the most out of it.

I loved it! #greatexperience

Alim’s Story

Alim is enrolled on the MSc in Serious Games and Virtual Reality. His team’s game won ‘Best Gameplay’ from the Scottish Game Jam participants, plus public votes for best game at IGDA Scotland play parties in Edinburgh and Glasgow following the jam! More here.

Participating in the Global Game Jam for the first time, my main reason to participate in the Jam was to build up game making experience and push it to the limit. In the first day, Alex, Calum and me agreed to keep the team small, only three of us, and see if three Masters students of GSA’s Serious Games and Virtual Reality can take the challenge.

I was happy enough that our game was finally finished on Saturday night and readily playable, it turns out that the game surprised me more by making it to be awarded as Best Game Play.

Having said that, the best moment for me during the Jam was when Daniel’s daughter playtested our game by repeatedly playing level 1 of Curvish over and over again and she seemed to really enjoy it. Afterwards, I asked her about “how do you like the game so far?”, she replied “this is the most awesome game ever!” with sincere wide smile in her face. That moment made me feel good as the game at least gave one player a very joyful time.

After all, a game is just a box of happiness packed in many forms and being able to bring the happiness to player is a tremendous achievement.

Winning Gameplay – DDS at the Global Game Jam

A bunch of DDS staff and students took part in the recent Global Game Jam – an international weekend of mayhem as developers around the world get together to try to make a game in under 48 hours.

The local game jam was hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University, under the leadership of our good friend Brian MacDonald. DDS staff and students formed two teams and produced two games over the weekend – Curvish by Serious Games & VR students Alex, Alim & Calum, and Cherry Bakewell’s House of Delight by staff (Daniel, Sandy, Victor) and students Jen, Sophie, Rebecca, Roxie – plus Alison who snuck in to help out, and Victoria from UWS. Great fun was had, cake was eaten, and two playable games were made.

Cake was eaten
Cake was eaten

Both games were inspired by the Game Jam theme of ‘Ritual’ – in Curvish this is manifested through the need to collect items in a specific predetermined order in a rotating platformer game.

For Cherry Bakewell, the group started with two different ideas of ritual – obsessive cleaning and Satanic rituals – and smashed these ideas together to create a game where the player is the new housekeeper for Cherry Bakewell. Cherry is the nation’s favourite baker, a household perfectionist and secret Satanist. Somewhat over-designed, this idea was based around a series of minigames that start out with cleaning Cherry’s bathroom, and which gradually take on darker themes.

Alex and Alim from Curvish
Alex and Alim working hard

Congratulations are in order to the Curvish team – who through playtesting at the event won the game jammers vote for game with best gameplay. This was followed up with being picked as best game at the follow on IGDA Play Parties in both Edinburgh and Glasgow – well done guys!