October 20th, 2020

Game creators work through 48-hour Global Game Jam


By Bobinec, Greg on February 3, 2020.

Herald photo by Greg Bobinec
Game developers test their design and programming skills in a 48-hour competition to design a game as part of the international Global Game Jam, Sunday morning at the Lethbridge College. @GBobinecHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

A local group of game developers, designers, students and hobbyists spent 48 hours at Lethbridge College over the weekend, developing a video game from scratch as part of the Global Game Jam.

Participants from all over the world take part in a simultaneous challenge to take a theme and come up with a concept, then develop the game as far as they can in 48 hours. Global Game Jam not only challenges the creators’ skills, but also brings together all levels of expertise to teach and learn.

“This weekend we are running a Lethbridge site for the Global Game Jam which is an international event. We have 119 participating countries this year, and what happens is people come together at a local site to create a game within 48 hours,” says Allyson Cikor, organizer of Lethbridge Game Jam.

“It’s great because we get a lot of returning people, but we also get a lot of new people and a lot of those are students as well so it is a great chance for them to take what they have been learning and apply it, along with meeting some people in the field.”

This year’s theme was “repair,” where all games had to have some aspect of repair involved in the game. From two-dimensional games to virtual reality creations, teams and groups of developers dedicated their sleep and free-time to challenge their skills and come up with unique ideas.

“We have quite a mix of things going on, we have one team that is doing a VR game where you play as a goblin that brings back people pairings of items such as socks, and there is another group where one person plays as a lumberjack and the other plays as a beaver and you are competing against each other,” says Cikor.

“There is one that is based around a person in an asylum and they go through this looping day and they can do things to make different events happen. There is another group that is making a game where you wake up in hell and you have a farm that you need to run, so you grow zombies and it is really cute, and the last game you play as a white blood cell and you are going through the environment trying to fight off viruses, and they did a VR version and a 2D version.”

The challenge of creating a game in less then two days is difficult even for professional programmers and designers. The other challenge of the Global Game Jam is fighting off the fatigue while trying to have their skills at full potential.

“It is very exhausting, it is an incredible challenge to make anything in that time, let alone a game that requires art, gaming, design, sound and everything like that,” says Cikor. “It’s both difficult and it’s kind of the creative drive in the projects because you have to get creative to get this done in time.”

Global Game Jam is a free international event to expand the creative outlet of game developers. With no winners being declared, many game creations and ideas flourished out of community collaboration. The games made locally and internationally are now posted online at globalgamejam.org for people to test out and play.

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