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GGJ Archives 2009-2012

Scope: How big do you want your local GGJ to be?

The purpose of this manual is to help you create your local GGJ event. A Game Jam is an event where a group of game developers meet and make games together. The goal is to rapidly prototype video game designs and inject new ideas to grow the game industry. We share a common theme, constraints and achievements. We ask participants to create a game from beginning to end in a prescribed time (GGJ is 48 hours). The focus of GGJ is that it's supposed to be fun, challenging and social. Games can be created by one person, but it's best if you are a group of people, GGJ is all about collaboration. We will refer to the people responsible for putting together the jam the *Organizers* from now on, because you'll be...well...organizing everything.

Once you have a volunteer crew, you need to have a meeting and come to agreement on some essential issues regarding your event. The first thing you have to decide on is how big you want your local GGJ to be. As you can read in the sidebar, the Nordic Game Jam have grown almost 40% every year since it started and we (the Organizers) haven't really been prepared to this kind of growth. It can really suck the pleasure out of making an event if you underestimated the popularity of it, people come in greater number then expected and you have to work your a** off to make it happen. Some resources will naturally help you decide on the size of the event. The venue available to you will be the most important, but the amount of computers can also restrict the number of participants. Some locations have people bring their own machines. However, the most important thing is to decide how many participants you'll be willing to support. This way all of you will know when to start turning people away should the need arise.

Second: you need to decide when the event is going to take place. The Global Game Jam takes place at the end of January and is held over a weekend. We'd love to have you as a part of the GGJ, but if you want to do a jam at any other time of the year, feel free. And if you want to make the jam longer then a weekend (say a week during the summer-vacation), go right ahead. But a weekend is good - it's a short, very focused and intense interval.

Third: you need to decide whether you are going to participate in the event, - will you be making games? It is not impossible to do, but will stretch you to your limits. If you participate, you'll have less time to work during the jam and you'll have to arrange some way to compensate for this. If you have a medium or large jam, you can outsource food to the catering and have some helpers who work in return for free admission, but their tasks and workload has to be organized. The various tips to outsourcing is described in the various topics. Don't be mistaken, as Organizers ourselves, we have found that there is too much to do to actually participate. This does not mean you can't, but be warned, it is a huge undertaking and your bandwidth stretched.

Right Column:
Experience from NGJ: Nordic Game Jam is held in Copenhagen in the last weekend January, - after the January exams but before the spring semester starts. It started in 2006 as a collaboration between the Danish chapter of IGDA and the IT-University in Copenhagen. In 2006 40 people participated, in 2007 150 people participated, so we've had a growth of approximately 40% each year. This has strained our organization and been very close to hurting the event. One of the consequences was that some of the organizers had to work during the entire jam and didn't have time to participate. This isn't fun, so be advised about scope.

Checklist:
Have you:
Found an group of people to help you?
Have you discussed the scope (#participants & duration) in the group and reached an agreement?
Have you decided whether the organizers should participate?
Have you decided whether you want/need get-in-for-free helpers for the event?
Have you distributed the responsibilities between the organizers?

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