How to Ogranize a Global Game Jam

Final Global Game Jam post on here. I thought I collect some thoughts and insights on how to create a good Global Game Jam. This is from my experience of having organized two of them. It’s is not really a walktrough but more of a personal to-do list for the next time. Feel free to chime in.

  • Put Up A Huge Clock This may sound simple but we didn’t do that the first time at all. Of course you will need a huge countdown timer! And it’s actually a good idea to keep it running all the time. It helps so much to keep everybody on the edge and helps in planning ahead. I actually coded a good countdown timer myself. It even shows tweets. It was a great help. People were always reading what’s going on in the world when they walked past it. It helped establishing an global atmosphere. Get it here!

  • Put Up A Stream and Stream Yourself Again, this is something we didn’t do the first time. This time around, we were prepared but not as well as we could. What you always want is to have a huge projector showing streams from other locations. The problem is that the Global Game Jam website doesn’t offer such a feature. They only offer a huge list of all availible streams. We have built a very simple tool to switch through a couple of them every couple of seconds. This worked well but we had only 20 or so streams, getting it full-screen was a bit difficult and it didn’t detect any dead streams. Next time, we need to come up with a better system.

    Same goes with streaming ourselves. We had a small webcam going and it did stream our location. But the quality was pretty low. It was pretty dark so you couldn’t see too well. Because we streamed from a Mac, there was hardly anything we could do to enhance the picture. Also, we had no computer running where people could see that anything is streaming at all or even interact with the chat on Ustream. Next time, it may be wise to set up a dedicated streaming machine to make this a more prominent feature. Also, presentations weren’t really featured on the stream. It would have been nice to set up the camera so it can eavesdrop when somebody shows their game.

  • Good Internet is Paramount we had that problem the last time and we had it again. The Internet wasn’t good. It was easier to set up now but people were always disconnecting. The IT guys weren’t a help at all. We almost couldn’t stream because of this. Next time, we really need to stress this point even more.

  • Get Drink/Food Supplies This is something that went well again and we should do everything we can to continue. We always manage to get Red Bull as a sponsor and to send us lots of free energy drinks for everybody. This is basically the fuel that keeps everybody going. This is a MUST. What I really liked was that we also managed to convince a bakery to give us their leftovers. This way, we had always some free breakfast/snacks for everybody. That also helped a lot!

  • What To Do Afterwards? One thing left: we need to consider better what to do AFTER the Global Game Jam. Our website should be prepared so it shows the entires. We should come up with a plan on how and where to feature the results. This is still something we need to manage better.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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