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GGJ Archives 2009-2012

The program for the GGJ

If your location needs to alter the starting time, that is acceptable; we are able to accommodate location availability. Please contact GGJ prior to advertising a different time - all press releases will state 17:00.

This is about the practical structure of the game jam.

(You can see the program from Nordic Game Jam is found here: http://nordicgamejam.org/program.html)

The structure of an NGJ is pretty much like this. You can modify it to suit your jams needs.

Friday
14:00-
Check-In opens.

14.00-17:30
Tech, art and other talks: Various people present their development platforms or do talks about various topics related to game development. In 2008 & 2009, we had two different tracks (one tech-related, one art-related). If some of our sponsors are hardware or software companies, ask if they want to do a presentation at the jam - that way you can also ask for more money from them. Some of the local game companies might also be interested in giving presentations about their experiences with game development (make sure that the presenters are game developers talking to developers and not HR Recruiters talking to potential employees).

17:30
The keynote talk. This time is chosen so people from the industry can get off from work and make it to the jam (see later on the keynote speaker and the jury).

18:30
After the keynote, the organizers officially open the game jam and welcome everyone. This is the right moment to inform people of practical issues and to make sure that they know who you are, so they can find you during the jam. This presentation sets the tone for the jam and gives you a chance to relay any last minute changes to the participants.

18:30
Socializing exercises. People at the jam don't know each other, so we do a few socializing exercises to make people relax and talk.
After this we reveal the theme for the game jam, and people go out in groups to discuss ideas. They return and then take turns to pitch their ideas to all of the participants. Each idea maker specifies what the group needs, and participants join up for the concept that they like the best. After the groups are formed, the participants are shown to the works paces, and work begins. (At this point, many of the groups will start with a quick pre-production brainstorm, and it's a good idea to have some isolated rooms available for them to do it in.)

Saturday:
00:01-23:59
Saturday is work day all the way through. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but apart from that, the whole day is just work.

Sunday:
15:00
This time is the hand-in deadline for the projects. The participants have to get the best version of their game to the organizers. It's important that you've given them information on how to do it.

15:00-16:30
Presentation of games'n'mingling: the groups show off their games to each other and play each others' games while the jury are escorted from game to game, trying each of them out. If you want media coverage at the jam, this is a good time to invite them. They can try the games, talk to the participants and get a sniff of the rank atmosphere of intense game development.

16:30-18:00
Presentation of the games in the auditorium. The groups present their games to the participants, describe their ambitions and answer questions. This is a good event to invite sponsors and press to see; the groups will do their outmost. The voting for the Participant's Award is based on these performances, and the voting takes place right after.

18:00 -
And the award goes to.... The winners of the Jury's Award and the Participant's Award are announced, and the winners are applauded. Then the organizers make some final practical announcements (thank you for coming, we hope to see you next year etc.), and the game jam is officially over (we usually open up the student bar at the ITU, so people can have a few beers and trade ”war” stories about their development process). The jam ends fairly early so that people can make it home and be ready for work the next day.

Experience from NGJ:
This program has been tried and tested over 4 NGJs and functions fairly well. The hardest part of the program is during hand-in on Sunday, 15:00. People are stressed and tired, and the technology has a tendency to not work. Everybody is panicking because they think they won't be able to hand in their game on time.

So here's the secret: the 90 minutes between 15:00 and 16:30 is a buffer, which gives the groups time to hand-in late. Just don't tell them or else they'll be calculating with it.

The second challenge is the presentations at 16:30. In '09, we had 29 games, and each group had to do a presentation - so each group had less 10 minutes. The rest of the time was used to change hardware, etc. between presentations.

Have you:

  • Decided whether you want to follow this program?
  • If you have, have you
  • Found a speaker for the talks?
  • Found a keynote-speaker?
  • Made a plan for what takes place when with whom?
  • Found the necessary rooms for different talks, etc.?
  • Decided on a hand-in structure for the groups and a way to inform them about it?

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