The Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) Interns at UWS teamed up with the Game Development Society in March to host a game jam with a difference; making great games that can also be turned into a business. Our intern, Victoria Russell, shares her event diary below.
The SIE Game Jam started with a quick presentation of what SIE is all about and encouraging students to enter the Young Innovators Challenge and attend the SIE Student Summit. The theme of the Jam was revealed – “Out of Time” – and teams were agreed before quickly getting started.
There were some passionate discussions as teams planned their games on paper. Teams were using engines such as Unity, Gamemaker, Unreal Engine 4 and one team even decided on to do a board game. I wished them luck on their first night of getting their creative juices flowing.
I had prepared a special in-between event to give the teams a break from the Jam. This involved getting together, discussing their games and issues they were having and also playing Cards Against Humanity – a popular card game that was setup through Kickstarter by a student entrepreneur. And of course, to further fuel the minds there were snacks, soft drinks and Domino’s pizza – a favourite cuisine amongst jammers!
After the students enjoyed their well-earned break, it was off to troubleshoot the games. I was fortunate to have the chance to play test some of the game prototypes.
The last day, also known as crunch time! Attendees started to panic as they rushed to finish their games and sort out bugs in time for judging. Roger Dubar, Founder of Zapcoder, was on hand to “settle the rain before the storm”. He gave an amazing talk on his company and gave advice to the students on what to do when they setup their own companies.
Our judges were introduced; Fiona Godsman, CEO of SIE and Paul Tarelli from Team Playstation! They gave short speeches on what they expected from the day. Students began by presenting their games ranging from a chess-like game using wizards, to a random level generated “Back to The Future” based game. While the judges were off discussing who might’ve won, it provided a good opportunity for students to go around and play each other’s games. Without realising, the students were networking and discussing each other’s work with ease while relaxing before the announcement.
After much ado, the winners were announced. The judges thought that everyone did particularly well, but tough decisions had to be made for each of the categories.
The winner of Best Innovation was Pixel Wars, the only board game made at the jam. This game was made by three first year students, and consisted of a two player trading card game. Players had to rank up attack points to defeat the other person. The team were inspired by mythological creatures and used this in their monster designs.
The winner for Best Artwork/Animation was Lava Tower. The game was made by a fourth and first year students, their playable character had to reach the top of the tower before the lava got them. The team wanted to use a game engine called Unreal Engine 4, to develop their skills in game development.
The last award for Best Game Overall went to James Smith, with his game called “Get the Bomb!” The game involved the player to run through a dungeon against a timer and jump over obstacles or defeat enemies to add more time to the timer. At the end of the level, the player must then use whatever time was accumulated to diffuse the bomb in a small puzzle like game. If you’d like to try James’ game click here (Unity web player will need to be installed to play).
The winners were awarded prizes including game codes, vouchers, posters and prints and attendees were sent home to get some sleep!
Congratulations to all the participants from SIE, UWS and Team Playstation.