Friday July 22, 2016
If you have ever pulled an all-nighter, spare a thought for Kiwi game designers taking part in a 48-hour game jam in Wellington this weekend.
The ACG Yoobee Kiwi Game Jam pits budding game designers from across New Zealand against one another to come up with the best new virtual game in just 48 hours.
As there will be no time to lose in the cut-throat gaming stakes, sleeping bags will all be brought inside the ACG Yoobee campus so that team mates can catch a quick bit of shut-eye in between coding and design sessions.
"We stay here overnight, so it is a full 24 hours each day," 2D illustrator Kate Selby-Bennets, who will be taking part in the two-night long design-fest, said.
"Some people don't sleep, they just drink lots of coffee."
A mystery theme will be revealed to the 50 gamers taking part on Friday night and teams will have until Sunday afternoon to design a new game from scratch.
Selby-Bennets' team of five will begin by brainstorming ideas for a simple game and then get to work programming, designing and creating the artwork.
The challenge is to design a new game in 48 hours.
"Even though we are given a theme we can choose to create a game based on what we think it means," Selby-Bennets said.
Usually there is just enough time to come up with arcade-style games with a simple premise.
The time pressure really focused the work of designers and illustrators, but the game was never really finished.
"It is a bit of a mad rush," Selby-Bennets said.
"I don't think Game Jam games are ever really ready. It is a work in progress."
Despite the high stakes of the weekend competition there will be plenty of camaraderie between the competitors Selby-Bennets said.
"It's a great way to practice game design skills and a great way to socialise with other local game developers.
"It is really fun and really cool being in an environment with students developing games."
ACG Yoobee Training Services Manager Blair Willems said the aim was not so much to create a neat and tidy finished product, but to start the ball rolling with the "embryo of a bigger idea".
"Game jams are a great way to let developers explore weird and wild ideas and just run with them," Willems said.
"Some very successful games worldwide have been conceived at game jams and then been further developed afterwards."
The idea for the successful puzzle game Mini Metro, created by Wellington developers Dinosaur Polo Club, came out of a game jam.
"It's a great way for students and grads to meet industry professionals, and for industry professionals to scout for talent."