TOP 5 reasons why you should take part in Global Game Jam

The question I used to ask myself, as an indie game developer with a few published games. And know, it’s been one month since Global Game Jam 2016 took place, so I decided to share experience and thrill from it, and try to persuade you to take part in it or some other game jam yourself.

So why should you spend 48h developing a game with 3 or less people you never met before? After a 50-50 chance to go, I decided to go (well my friends persuaded me to do so 😀 ), and did I regret it, NO! As a first timer like most of you reading this, or you just want to read my opinion, you’ll certainly find my experience useful. These are the TOP 5 reasons why you should take part in Global Game Jam.

Connect with people.

Game jam is a great opportunity to meet your future partners and friends. At game jams, you’ll find it difficult to complete the work alone (well maybe not if you have more than one pair of hands XD ) Anyway, you’ll have to meet someone new even if you are regular visitor of this events, and enlarge you base of connections just by chatting and networking with other participants. I met at least 5 people on my site, and I’m still tuned to community activities in Serbia, which include workshops, lectures, trainings and literally everything you need to know about game development in region.

You can gain a lot of experience especially as a first timer.

If you have absolutely no experience in game dev, design or sound mixing you are most welcome as well. Get yourself in a team and with just watching the whole process you could learn a lot. If you ever played any game in your life (and don’t tell me you didn’t!) you are able to suggest ideas to your team, play-test the game, write stories and dialogs for the game and help your team in variety of other activities related to your game and that could buy some more time for your team members. “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires”.

Try some new tools and technologies.

As you might know, I use GameMaker for development of my games. It’s the simplest and also the easiest to learn game dev engine I used so far, and I tested at least 10 different engines. But, things are not so sparkly when you work in a team, especially if you are not so experienced with game dev teams. It was my second time completing a project using GitHub, and my first project using Trello.

I had to work on my game with the Unity engine since the most experienced developers from my team are experts in Unity. I started doing some minor projects in Unity, but it was my first project on a 2D game in Unity, and although there is little difference compared to 3D game dev, that difference can be the cause of confusion. I spent hours writing basic scripts (yes, no kidding!) but in the end, many things became my routine during the jam, and now I am able to write them in no time. From now on, my all major projects will be completed in Unity engine, so my visit certainly paid of. Even taking a glimpse into your teams’ game dev process can make you learn so much about it and make your visit worthwhile.

See how you stack up with some of the best developers from your region.

Since there were more than 600 sites in GGJ this year, your location should not be the excuse not to participate in it. And don’t forget local communities tend to organize a lot of game jams beside GGJ. A game jam gathers professional developers, designers, sound mixers and experts even from abroad as well as enthusiasts and fun chasers who develop a game on specific theme, which is announced just before the clock starts ticking. This is the great opportunity to see how the game your team developed stack up against other games from your site. It has to be full of bugs, many of them not even discovered, but if you express yourself through a game, and get feedback on it, you can potentially continue the work on it with your team and build potentially a cash earning game if you do everything right.

Thrill!!!

You have to build a game within limited time schedule, communicate with your teammates, think of different solutions to a certain project, brainstorm a lot of ideas, work day and night on completing the game on time, even literally to run just to get it done (well I did it, seriously). The adrenalin rush is eminent and you won’t feel the fatigue until it is finally done. And the endorphin will calm you down as the satisfaction of a completed game rises. There is no bigger satisfaction to a team member than taking part in crafting a complete and working game, no matter what the end result is. You created that game, it exists on the internet, people are able to discover it, and there are no limits. Don’t take my word on it, just check out the game my team created on GGJ2016 called Sandwich Chopper. The link is down below.

http://globalgamejam.org/2016/games/sandwich-chopper

Team

All in all, I am proud to say that I participated in a team of experts and great men who developed this game to live forever on the Internet.

So, don’t try to find excuses not to participate in a game jam, just wait for your first shot, and grab it with both hands :)