Global Game Jam – Before

So at the weekend I took part with 3 friends in the Global Game Jam in Hull, which took place at the very well organised Hull Studio (though having turned up early 3 of us had to help with set up). I’m going to detail 3 elements of the the Jam and what I took for them individually, and the event as a whole, but like most stories, I’m going to start at the beginning.

Prior to the theme of the event being revealed, the three of us who had arrived at 3pm (one of our team wouldn’t arrive until 12am) began discussing potential ideas, taking some inspiration from the diversifiers (optional elements that were designed to help inspire ideas). We quickly came up with an idea which we all agreed on and had many trains of thought spanning from it which is always a good sign. Having said that however, coming with an idea before knowing the theme was probably a dangerous move, we were just lucky that the theme (which I think I’m okay to reveal was the sound of heartbeat) could be easily implemented into our game idea through a little innovation and a lot of coding.

Unlike previous Jams, having learnt last term about some forms of development that were specifically designed to improve practises, we decided to have a SCRUM system in place to help keep us on track during the 48 hours, with the initial ideas separated into what needed to be completed eventually,  completed next, in progress and completed, as well as an “Extras” section, which meant we could easily identify what elements we didn’t need to make to get the game working. I will definitely be using this system in the future as having a clear outline and knowing who is doing what means that there are fewer issues when it comes to bringing everything together, which we found true at the end of the event.

With all of these guidelines and ideas in place, we began the coding with each of us having our own sections to start working on (myself working on the UI), but I will talk more about that in the During post.

In summary, what I gained from the beginning of the event were the following things:

  • Thinking a game up before hand can be useful, but is very risky. Keeping ideas broad allows for innovation and creativity, while still allowing the theme to play a key role.
  • Having some form of development system in place (in this case SCRUM) helps keep everyone on track and with an idea of where the program is.
  • Working on different sections independently of each means that integration is much easier at the end of the project.

So that was the beginning, but I haven’t even got into the finer details of jam yet, that’ll come in the next section.

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