GGJ Archives 2009-2012

Jamming 101 with Susan Gold



Really, it is so easy to host a game jam and I am hope I can help alleviate some of your fears. I started the Global Game Jam never having participated in a game jam.

I know, weird, huh?

But I managed to pull off the largest game jam around the world and if I can do it, you can do it yourself.

You need to be organized. I am super organized by nature, so I don’t know how to tell you to do a jam unless you start a list. So that is how I am going to do this article, a big list.

  1. Do you have enough people who can actually develop a game?
    • You know, artist and programmers?
    • If this is you 1st jam, go small, I suggest getting a reasonable number of participants, enough to make up a 2-4 groups of 4-6 people on each team.
      We have had much smaller jams – so don’t worry, have as many people as you think you can handle.
    • Don’t have programmers, maybe you can use some WYSIWYG software?
      Gamemaker is free and relatively easy to use (http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker). I suggest having folks do the tutorials prior to the jam.
    • Don’t have to go digital, make board games.
  2. Do you have a lab with computers for people to use? At our game jam we don’t, we have everyone bring their own laptops or computers. It makes things relatively easier, they have their own gear and software. You just have to make sure that everyone can access the internet. Internet is really important, people need to be able to upload their games at the very least. Access to internet is also part of the fun, seeing others around the world as they are jamming.
  3. Do you have a space to hold the game jam? Finding a space that can be open for 48 hours can be difficult. If it poses a problem, sometimes it is best to decide to send people home at night. We always recommend that people sleep during GGJ. This is supposed to be an experience, kind of like an sleepover for uber-geeks. But it isn’t supposed to teach people bad habits like crunch. Administrative types get hung up on the overnight thing, you won’t be the 1st to experience this type of response when you say you want keep you lab open for a whole weekend. So if it is a battle you think you can win, it is worth the fight. On the other hand not worth canceling the jam.
  4. A few volunteers are helpful. When you are 20 something, it is a lot easier to do a marathon. I get sleep during every GGJ. Not a lot, but I have to be functional. Having a few dependable people you can trade in and out gives you much needed break.
  5. Do you need to charge money for your jam? You have to ask yourself if you need to have catered food, pay for the space, get everyone a t-shirt, other expenses? If so, you might look for local sponsorship. You might contact the local pizzeria and ask them for a deal. At our game jam here, we tell everyone to bring their own provisions. We have a grocery store nearby and that works really well, especially for fresh food. If all else fails, charge a small amount to cover your expenses.

You see, it really isn’t that much to worry about. Yeah, the day of is a little hectic. But once people start working, it is relatively quiet. Yes there are questions, technical snafus and you need to remind people to save their work often, but essentially they are busy. Now you get to spend the rest of the time with the other organizers on our IRC channel and get to share in all the crazy stories.

To briefly recap:
1) People
2) Space
3) Internet
4) Volunteers

You see… EASY! if you have questions, just ask info@globalgamejam.org. Everyone involved wants to see you succeed.

Susan Gold
GGJ Founder
GGJ Orlando


Hey, it's a good idea! I

Hey, it's a good idea! I would like to translate in German too!



    Le casino en ligne sans téléchargement est vraiment pratique. Vous pouvez jouer de n'importe où: de votre bureau, à la maison, chez des amis..Il suffit d'avoir un ordinateur et une connexion internet!




Sure, we'll publish it!

Just send it to us.


I'd like to translate this to Spanish

I'd like to translate this to Spanish :-P where can I send you the translation?


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