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GGJ Archives 2009-2012

Venue: your building

Now that you know what kind of event that you want to have, you need to find a place to make it: the venue.

The GGJ requires certain things of the venue; mostly with regards to physical space, hardware & software.

The best venue is usually a school where you have access (and permission) to use the computer-classrooms at the school. This way you can test the internet, hardware and software before the jam. If you are using a school, try to coordinate the event with the normal caretakers of the building (janitors etc.); they will have access to a lot of the stuff you need. Other venues could be a living room (for a small jam) or a sports hall (with tables, internet and power, like for a giant LAN-/DEMO-party).

The physical space has to be big enough for all of the participants to sit with their computers in the same room; this is very big room for a large jam. Computers generate a lot of heat, so the room has to be ventilated well. There has to be work spaces for all participants at their computers with power-access for a computer, screen and a plug for peripherals (speakers, printers, whatnot). The best type of room is a computer-”lab” for teaching, but can also be a normal classroom. We advise that you ensure that the teams are in the same area to build a sense of community; gamejams are (also) about helping each other and mingling.

It would also be a very good idea if you have access to an auditorium or classroom for the introductions (see the Agenda notes). If you have more than one presentation at the same time, you'll need more rooms. You have to talk to the presenters about their requirements for the presentations; some might require online access and a projector for digital slides (Some might need a PS3 and Guitar Hero; - you never know). Projectors tend to give a lot technical problems; consider yourself warned. Sometimes using the machine the game was made on is easier. Everyone just connects to the proejctor, it is a good idea to have the right adapters for Mac, PC, Xbox, etc...

People will need a place to store their computers if they are bringing their own. Very few people are comfortable about leaving their computers in someone else's care, so you should either be able to lock the room or organizers should keep watch over the computers.

People can either bring their own computers or you can use the computers at the venue. If they bring their own from home, you don't have to provide the software, but will need the infrastructure for using it on your network during the GGJ.

Experience from NGJ
We've had the Nordic Game Jam at IT-University every year, which gives us access to a lot of valuable ressources - including 2 large auditoriums, 2 computer-labs with 70+ computers and lots of rooms. We have an excellent working relationship with the Facilities Management here.

The first year we could fit all 40 participants in one room.

Second year we could fit all participants in two game labs.

In 2008 we made a mistake: We allocated rooms all over the ITU to the game jam. Teams were dispersed all over the building and had very little contact with each other during the development of the games. The community-feeling was gone and we (the organizers) had a hard time locating the teams.

In 2009 we had all the participants in the same room; it's more fun.

Checklist:
Have you:
Based on your scope, what requirements do you have for the venue?
Have you received permission to use the venue by the administrator and do you have contact to the local “admins” and "facility managers" of the building about connectivity, security?
Have you found room for all the participants? with workstations? And electricity?
(If you have presentations) Have you talked to them about your needs for presentations?
Have you organized a locker /locked room/guarded area where participants can store their gear during talks to protect people's computers?

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