by Liam Sorta

Computer Games Technology student

For the last five years, Birmingham City University has opened its doors as host to the annual Global Game Jam (GGJ), a 48-hour game development event aimed at bringing those with a passion for games together to create a game from scratch. The diversity the jam promotes is indicated by its 36,000 jammers, 7,000 produced games and the involvement of 95 different countries this year alone.

I had the pleasure of organising this year’s event with the help of Dr Andrew Wilson, programme leader for Computer Games Technology. While I have planned other events in the past, the GGJ is particularly special to me as it promotes a platform that encourages developers of all abilities and experience to collaborate and produce something that they can be proud of, in just a weekend.

Being surrounded by an ocean of other passionate developers offers a unique opportunity to get instant feedback from those in similar roles, but with a range of diverse backgrounds. Whether there is an issue with code, a creative block or you’re just particularly curious about something, there is always someone around that can offer their input.

While news spreads across the University year-by-year, the quality of our events attracts students from around the country. From Nottingham to Cambridge, from Reddit to Twitter, the event has spiked in popularity this year reaching a record-breaking 100 attendees, making this year by far the most attended GGJ event hosted at Birmingham City University.

There was a consistently positive atmosphere, partially lit with the excitement of glow sticks and neon bracelets, even with the wave of exhaustion hitting those attempting to iron-man the 48 hours without any sleep at all.

We also had the honour of receiving Jake Parker and Adam Kaye from fishinabottle as well as Andrew Hague from Very Good Friend. Having their expertise in the judging process was a great asset and allowed our developers to ask questions, receive feedback on their games and expand their professional network. There are links at the bottom of the page to their studios.

For those who were awake, we also conducted live interviews, even being featured on the official Global Game Jam “Twitch.tv” channel. It was great to see live progress of the games being produced and the differences in workflows between teams.

After a fantastic weekend of game development and collaboration, I’m incredibly proud of how well the event turned out. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Dr Wilson, our volunteers, and our fantastic guest judges from fishinabottle and Very Good Friend. Most importantly however, we managed to cultivate a space where our many attendees could work creatively and do so with the support of a local development community.

Here’s to GGJ 2018!

If you are interested in getting into computer game development, check out our new BSc (Hons) / MSci Computer Games Technology)

We are grateful for the support of these organisations:

Fishinabottle: www.fishinabottle.com

Very Good Friend: verygoodfriend.weebly.com