Global Game Jam fosters collaboration and creativity
Feb. 4, 2014 - Tator Hall buzzed with creativity the weekend of Jan. 24-26 in the form of the Global Game Jam, an annual event where game developers around the globe collaborate and build games within a 46-hour time period. About 20 computer science, game design and development and interactive digital design students, professors and outside developers participated in the local session held at Quinnipiac.
David Tomczyk, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and strategy in the School of Business, organized this year's event at Quinnipiac. Greg Garvey, professor of interactive digital design and director of game design and development, and Elena Bertozzi, associate professor of game design and development, also provided support and encouragement.
"The goal is to increase collaboration, increase experimentation and increase building the skills necessary to develop games," said Tomczyk. "And also to have a lot of fun."
Global Game Jam participants, or jammers, are given a theme each year to provide motivation and inspiration. This year's theme was the phrase: "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Quinnipiac jammers broke into groups and worked throughout the weekend from 5 p.m. on Friday to 3 p.m. on Sunday developing and creating digital and non-digital games, only stopping to go home at night.
Zach Kohlberg '14, a computer science and game design and development double major, collaborated with Tomczyk on a card-based role-playing game that he hopes to continue to develop either in class or independently.
"The basic premise is a twist on a typical role-playing game," he said. "The player begins the game with every ability unlocked, but they have to sacrifice their abilities in order to progress through the game."
Game design and development students Evan Rosoff '16 and Sam Brown '16 and computer science student Zachary Singer '14 developed a two-player cooperative computer game called Perception in which one player controls a character named Happy Man while the other player controls a character named Colonel Carnage. Both characters have different play styles and players have to work as a team to complete each level.
At the end of the session, jammers uploaded their work to the Global Game Jam website to be seen and played by fellow developers. According to Tomczyk, students often use their game jam work as portfolio pieces or choose to continue developing them into a finished product.
"It shows people how much they can create when given a focused amount of effort," said Tomczyk. "It gives students a safe environment to fail. They can try out ideas without worrying that it somehow impacts their grades or that they're going to fall behind on classwork."
Global Game Jam is organized by the Global Game Jam, Inc., an international non-profit corporation based in San Luis Obispo, Calif., with a mission to foster game design and game education through innovative events. This year's event took place in 73 countries in over 485 locations.
To play the games created by Quinnipiac jammers, visit the Global Game Jam Quinnipiac page.