Visited a gamefest: Nordic Game Jam 2007

Copy-party (or less aggressively, and perhaps more descriptively “demo-party”), that was the name of a weekend of mildly Dionysian digital festival here in Northern Europe during the late 80s and the 90s.

*Update:* Danish radio DR1’s show Harddisken has Frederik Berg Olsen’s radio programme about NGJ07. FBO had a tape recorder with him, and made a Gonzo radio reportage from the event, which’ll be broadcast (in Danish) tonight at 20:00. You can also download it, and hear it at your leisure.

Yesterday, I experienced the same kind of group exhilaration at Nordic Game Jam, a meetup of kindred souls from the Nordic area in Copenhagen’s IT university building. A whole weekend! 36 hours to design and make a computer game. No holds barred.

(I think the constraints of this Jam was about game design, not about technology.)

Fellow Copenhagener Frederik Berg Olsen was there, participating with the Snowscape team, as a game designer. I met his team-mates, and even though the rigors of completing a computer game in a limited time-span take their toll, they were a cheerful and kind lot. The puns at mid-afternoon on Sunday were quite… ripe. “RoboSnow! SnoboCop!”

My thoughts about what tools to bring to the next year’s Jam was:

* exotic hardware (dance mats, game joysticks with “force feedback”, light pistols, NES handcontrols — hm, should one make a NES game? Thorbiörn, whaddya say?)
* super-productive software kit to run said hardware (Pygame, some Ruby wrappers for SDL, perhaps, some Windows package — maybe HGE — to make games). Having tried the software before could be good. Does it run on my laptop? Does it do sound input? You know, trying to moderate the effects of Murphy’s Law.
* or, taking the “prevalent” route: Flash, with all bells and whistles. Or, even Javascript? In-browser, or not?
* or, tying in the Web in some way
* good ideas, games that you want to make

Yes, I say next year, ’cause I’m coming then. It looked like tons of fun.

Practical details that might be useful:

* Integration/build machine for Java projects. Run the Buildix live-CD Linux distribution.
* A wiki-wall of Post-its and so on, where Help Wanted, Stuff We Brought, Have You Seen My Blue Cable, etc, could be put up
* Pre-event setup Subversion repositories for everything — maybe Google Code? But, you need to be able to set the stuff up lightning-fast
* Perhaps having your own team’s tech-support/auxiliary guru to solve any crises. (But, hey, no crises, please.)

Update: I got Gosu with Ruby to work! It’s a delightful 2D-game framework. Cute!


Published by Olle Jonsson

Human. Wears glasses and often a smile.

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