The Global Game Jam
is an annual event in which participants design and create digital and non-digital games over the course of one weekend. Inspired by the Nordic Game Jam, and organized by the International Game Developers Association. At each site, participants gather to develop ideas, form small groups, create new, creative, innovative games, and present them to their peers and the global community, all in a limited time span. In January 2011, the event generated teams in 44 countries, who over the course of one weekend created over 1,500 games. The next event is scheduled for January 27–29, 2012.
Participants in the Global Game Jam are of all skill levels and in various fields. Everyone from professional game developers to educators to artists and designers is welcome to participate. Once the jam begins, participants are given only a few minutes to come up with game ideas, before pitching those ideas to each other and forming teams to work together on a project.
Groups wishing to host a jam site must provide fulfill certain requirements. Their location must have Internet access for everyone involved, access to development resources such as an IDE
An integrated development environment is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development...
, possibly preinstalled at the location, an event coordinator, free beverages and nearby food access, round-the-clock availability of the location, and security for belongings.
At each site, the Global Game Jam runs continuously for 48 hours in each time zone, beginning at 5:00 PM on the start date, and ending at 5:00 PM two days later. The recommended schedule includes a short planning and team creation period, followed by development time until 3:00 PM on the final day. The last few hours are set aside for teams to present their creation to each other. However, sites are not required to follow this schedule.
At the beginning of the event participants are given a theme, such as “Extinction” in the 2011 Jam. Participants are asked to create a game that in some way relates to this theme. Additionally, participants are given a list of “achievements”, also referred to as diversifiers. These are designed to drive creative development by adding a unique or limiting factor to their a game’s design. Examples include “Both Hands Tied Behind My Back”, in which a game should be designed to be played without the player’s hands, or “Picasso Lives”, in which game art must be cubist
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...
The first Global Game Jam was held from January 30 – February 1, 2009, at 53 locations across the globe. During the jam, 1650 participants created 370 games.
The second Jam expanded further in 2010, increasing to 138 sites and resulting in 900 games made by 4300 creators.
The 2011 Game Jam, which ran January 28-30, was the largest yet, gathering 6500 participants at 169 sites who created over 1500 games total.
All games produced are created under the Creative Commons Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 license, and while they remain the intellectual property
Intellectual property is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of exclusive rights are recognized—and the corresponding fields of law...
of their creators, the Global Game Jam retains the ability to use any game as promotional material. As a part of this and as part of the license, every game is archived, along with source code for many digital games, on Global Game Jam’s website.
The 2010 and 2011 events were externally sponsored, by entities including Intel
Intel Corporation is an American multinational semiconductor chip maker corporation headquartered in Santa Clara, California, United States and the world's largest semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue. It is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most...
GameSpy Industries, Inc., known simply as GameSpy, is a division of IGN Entertainment, which operates a network of game websites and provides online video game-related services and software. GameSpy dates back to the 1996 release of an internet Quake server search program named QSpy. The current...
Autodesk, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that focuses on 3D design software for use in the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media and entertainment industries. The company was founded in 1982 by John Walker, a coauthor of the first versions of the company's...
, XNA Game Studio
Microsoft XNA is a set of tools with a managed runtime environment provided by Microsoft that facilitates video game development and management. XNA attempts to free game developers from writing "repetitive boilerplate code" and to bring different aspects of game production into a single system...
, the Imagine Cup
Imagine Cup is an annual competition sponsored and hosted by Microsoft Corp. which brings together young technologists worldwide to help resolve some of the world's toughest challenges. The Imagine Cup comprises five major technology competitions, including Software Design, and four challenges...
, and Torque
The Torque Game Engine, or TGE, is a 3D computer game engine originally developed by Dynamix for the 2001 FPS Tribes 2. The Torque engine and its many derivative products are available for license from GarageGames, a company formed by many members of the Tribes 2 team at Dynamix...