Global Game Jam experience. By Rob Anderson

me

Or: there is such a thing as too much coffee.

This past weekend I decided to get involved in the Global Game Jam. It isn’t a competition or a contest but a global challenge. Here in their words is what it is about:

The Global Game Jam (GGJ) was founded in 2008 as an IGDA event to broaden the outreach of the organization while giving the world an opportunity to create games in the world’s largest Game Jam to date. The 1st Annual Global Game Jam was held January 30-Feburary 1, 2009 to much critical acclaim and success. With over 1600 participants in 23 countries, the GGJ produced 370 games.

The Global Game Jam was created as collaboration between Susan Gold, Gorm Lai and Ian Schrieber – three active members of the IGDA who wanted to connect the community through cooperation, innovation, creativity and experimentation. The 2010 GGJ wants to triple in size, including more locations and making GGJ a truly global event.

GGJ is a volunteer run organization, built upon the very hard work of the leadership, site organizers and of course the participants.

(source)

In Miramichi there were around 40 people that gathered together to make up teams and wait for what the official theme would be. You can see and read the events through my blog

What I wanted to talk about here are some personal lessons learned during the event.

I was the oldest person at the event, (big surprise) and it was mostly made up of students from the college. Not all were students though. There were a few folks that had been working in the entertainment industry as well. Some 3D folks and some programmers that, like me, wanted to give it a go.

I decided at the very start that I didn’t want to be the organizer for a team nor a team leader. That’s what I do for a living. This time I wanted to be a part of the process and observe and learn from the experience and view of others. Not that I couldn’t have done that if I led the team but I wanted to be able to pay attention to what every other team was doing too.

I was picked by a group of very talented folks. It was a mix of students from the animation program at the college as well as some graduates from the 3D program who had been working for a couple of years.

My job was to build sound effects.

Right off the start the group dynamics was pretty solid. There were no overbearing personalities that had to have things done their way or it sucked. There were no halfhearted lazy guys that wanted to bail and leave the rest of us to pick up the slack. We discussed the concept and had healthy debates and what would be the best approach and collectively decided who would be responsible for what.

Very little sleep was had by any of us. Some less than others as the tasks for some became bigger as the weekend went on. No one got angry over anything.

We each immediately understood the strengths of the others and would bow to their opinion of a specific situation. I guess the word I am looking for here is we each Respected each other’s experience and opinion. This made me think of some basic ideas that you may or may not agree with.

Creativity thrives under pressure.

Don’t ever be afraid to fail.

It isn’t your child but the child of everyone working on it.

Don’t be afraid to change direction. The first path you take might end up being a dead-end.

Don’t leave things as just an idea. Write it down, prototype it, draw it out on paper and get it out of your head. What might seem great in your head will either be great out here or not. That doesn’t matter Get it out and share!!

And above all. Enjoy what you do.

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