The world’s largest game creation expo will make its much-anticipated return to Wrexham Glyndwr University tomorrow.
Global Game Jam (GGJ) runs over three days from Friday January 26, when experienced and wannabe developers will descend on the Centre for the Creative Industries to attempt to design and build video games within a strict 48 hour period.
GGJ is the world’s largest game jam event (for game creation) taking place around the world simultaneously at physical locations that include the US, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Hawaii.
The first annual Global Game Jam was held in 2009 to much critical acclaim and success, with more than 1600 participants in 23 countries producing 370 games in total. From there, GGJ has expanded greatly, going on to break several consecutive world records.
Rich Hebblewhite, senior lecturer in Computing and organiser of the popular programme, described the event as “one of the jewels in the calendar at Wrexham Glyndwr University”, giving students, professionals and general enthusiasts from across the country the opportunity to come together and solve problems.
“Global Game Jam is effectively a time constrained ‘hackathon’ focused on game development,” explained Rich.
“We’ve been participating here at Wrexham Glyndwr since 2011 and they’ve always been popular, with people travelling from all over the country to join us.
“It’s a challenge as well as being a lot of fun, as you’re against the clock and it can certainly be very tiring given the event is non-stop, but that’s a major part of its appeal.”
Rich added that the GGJ philosophy is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, people can come together, be creative, share experiences and express themselves in a multitude of ways using game technology.
“We have been registered with the GGJ as an official event site since 2011 as part of extra-curricular activities within the games development course,” said Rich.
“In doing so, we became the first and only Welsh representative, and that would continue to be the case for a number of years.
“It has continued to grow each year, and at our location in 2017 a team of 63 participants were able to design and develop 14 individual games within the 48 hour period. Across the world there were more than 36,000 participants from 96 different countries which was a phenomenal achievement.”
He added: “As always, we aim to attract as diverse a group of participants as possible, so we can work on everything from boards games and physical arcade machines to traditional digital products.
“Game jams are a great way of refining your design and development skills along with learning to work with new people on a complex problem over a very short period of time. No experience is necessary, which makes the event open to absolutely anyone with an interest in games, board gaming or just general creative fun!”
A panel of games jam veterans and game development experts will be on hand to judge all of the games produced over the course of the weekend, with a view to selecting up to three of them for publication.
Keynote speaker for 2018 is Chris Payne, Managing Director of Quantum Soup; A North Wales based game studio composed of former AAA game developers. Chris is a veteran of the games industry and is the former Lead Game Mechanics Programmer at Travellers’ Tales Games (famous for the LEGO computer games franchise).
More information about the event and how to register can be found here.