Computer game-making festival goes global

GEOFF LEWIS
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2014
GAME JAM: Waikato University senior lecturer in computer sciences Bill Rogers and fourth-year student Renee Smith.
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ
GAME JAM: Waikato University senior lecturer in computer sciences Bill Rogers and fourth-year student Renee Smith.

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Being the caterer is a less-than-usual role for Waikato University computer sciences senior lecturer Bill Rogers but this weekend he will supply pizza and drinks to participants in the sixth annual Global Game Jam.

The 48-hour computer game-making festival or jam was launched seven years ago in Norway and has now spread worldwide, attracting an eclectic group of participants with the hope of turning up some interesting and innovative games, Rogers said.

"We plan to get a really mixed group of people, artists, musicians, writers and programmers.

"It tends to be a bit heavy on programmers but the original Norwegian jammers where keen to include people who didn't know each other."

The jam begins at 5pm on Friday with a broadcast video announcement of the theme for the weekend from the International Game Developers Association in the United States - the 2013 theme was a recording of the organiser's heartbeat.

Once the theme is announced participants form teams.

Often people come with groups of friends and mix with strangers. People are discouraged from coming with pre-developed game ideas.

Once finished the games are loaded onto the International Game Development Association site.

Confessed games enthusiast Renee Smith is looking forward to the jam. A former bank customer services consultant and female wrestler, Smith comes from a computer-mad family.

She said the jam was a great way to meet people and create groups with different ranges of skills.

Participants need to bring sleeping bags/mats. Registration is $25 and covers the cost of food, drinks and a T-shirt.

For more information and to register, visit globalgame jam.org.nz or phone Bill Rogers on 022 699 4522.

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- Waikato Times

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