At 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, Global Game Jam (GGJ) 2018 will begin. For the 48 hours that follow, jammers all over the world will develop games based on a common theme announced at the start of the GGJ event. In 2017, more than 7,000 wave-themed games were created at 700 locations in 95 countries, 20 of which were developed here at UCI at a GGJ site organized by Informatics Professor Theresa Jean Tanenbaum.
For the fourth year in a row, Tanenbaum is organizing a GGJ site at UCI. This year, Tanenbaum is excited to have support from UCI Illuminations, which he hopes will bring a more diverse group from across campus to the event. He’s also partnering with a local International Game Developers Association (IGDA) chapter to make the jam more accessible to working professionals in the Orange County game development community. “I think we’re on track to be one of the biggest game jam sites in California, which means more games and more opportunities for our community,” says Tanenbaum. The event focuses on collaboration and creativity rather than a competition, so all games created will be made accessible in the GGJ repository.
Registration is now open for this free event, and Tanenbaum encourages “anyone and everyone to participate.” You don’t need to be a programmer to attend, because, as Tanenbaum explains, “a game needs expertise in writing, music, sound, art, graphics, math, programming, interaction design, production, business, and more.” Also, for the first time, there will be “all-ages” site where kids and parents can jam together. (After registering, contact Marie Tsaassan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about the jam site for those under 18).
For first-time jammers who plan to attend, Tanenbaum has the following advice: “Come with an open mind and be ready to do something difficult, creative, and collaborative.” He also emphasizes that “the Global Game Jam is a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself!”
— Shani Murray