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Melbourne Global Game Jam 2014: The Reckoning

February 1st, 2014 No comments
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melbourne global game jam sponsor image

One weekend, 169 game developers, 14 helpers and a heap of pizza, burgers, caffeine, fruit and lollypops (thanks to fantastic sponsors) resulted in 51 games! That was Melbourne Global Game Jam 2014 in a nutshell.

Whilst we try to race through and play as many games as possible on Sunday afternoon, there’s not a lot of sleep in the game jam equation, so we will be getting all the games together in one room for our Play Party and Awards night.

When: Tuesday 18 Febraury from 6pm-10pm

Where: The Arcade, Level 1 – 71-75 City Road, Southbank (just across the river from Flinders Street Station)

Along with a chance to play all the games, the Tasters’ Notes will be in and Awards will be given. Thanks to PAX Australia the developers of the tastiest game will score themselves three day passes to PAX Australia in October. We’ll also have prizes from Ubisoft (and anywhere else we manage to score some swag from) for:

Most Original Game Concept Best Art Most Accessible Game Best Audio Best Interpretation of the Theme and Jammers’ Choice.

Please RSVP via the Facebook event (https://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/events/570760543011678/)to ensure we have enough space and loo paper. While meals won’t be available onsite, there’s a great pizza place a few doors up and we’ll have menus available if you’re hungry. (I’d highly recommend ordering pizza with them, rather than eating the menus themselves.)

Jammers should have received details on how to vote for their favourite game – will this be the first time the Tasters and the Jammers disagree? You’ll have to wait and see.

All enquiries about the event should be emailed to giselle@globalgamejam.org

Thanks once again to all the folk that made #MelbGGJ such a great success, and especially our sponsors:

Screen Australia (http://screenaustralia NULL.gov NULL.au/)

Autodesk (http://www NULL.autodesk NULL.com NULL.au/)

DeNA (http://dena NULL.com/intl/)

AIE (http://www NULL.aie NULL.edu NULL.au/)

Camshaft Software (http://camshaftsoftware NULL.com/)

Tin Man Games (http://tinmangames NULL.com NULL.au/blog/)

Mighty Games Group (http://mightygamesgroup NULL.com/)

Kevin Powe (http://kevinpowe NULL.voiceoverartist NULL.com NULL.au/)

Global Game Jam First Taste: Sunday 26 January

January 22nd, 2014 No comments
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melbourne global game jam sponsor image

 

Thanks to the support of sponsors, the registration of over 150 game developers and a team of helpers, Melbourne’s Global Game Jam kicks off this Friday 24 January as one of 489 sites in 73 countries.

Jammers are packing their kits and getting reading for the theme, which is released at 6pm Friday local time but can’t be shared until all the sites around the world have started. #GGJ14 will be starting in New Zealand and finishing in Hawaii.

Melbourne jammers are in for a treat with local games icon, Steve Fawkner (Warlords, Puzzle Quest) keynoting and Rami Ismail (Ridiculous Fishing) joining in via the magic of technology for the opening talks. The Global Game Jam video keynotes by Jenova Chen (Journey), Kaho Abe (Hit Me!) and Richard Lemarchand (Unchartered series) will also be seen to inspire a weekend of creative endeavours.

And then it’s two days of game making across the globe to a common theme.

While the local jam is sold out; friends, industry and media are invited to check out the results hot of the….PC’s on Sunday arvo.

When: Sunday 26 January 4.30-5.30pm

Where: AIE, 14 Queens Road Melbourne 3004.

Bookings are free via Eventbrite, please don’t forget to register. (http://www NULL.eventbrite NULL.com NULL.au/e/melbourne-global-game-jam-first-play-tickets-9925667940)

If you have any questions, please email giselle@globalgamejam.org

Kicking off 2014 with a bang!

January 9th, 2014 No comments
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ggj_melb_test2 (1)

When: Tuesday 14 January from 6pm

Where: The Kelvin Club  (https://www NULL.google NULL.com NULL.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CC4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww NULL.kelvinclub NULL.com%2F&ei=eQ_OUpGzGtCMkgWykoHoCg&usg=AFQjCNFOt27TPp5kjd8imeAcOzyWbN2w-Q&sig2=Jzw7WICkhYIAU8tFcHGZPw&bvm=bv NULL.59026428,d NULL.dGI), Melbourne Place, Melbourne (off Russell St between Collins and Bourke)

What: It will be an evening of two parts, with Screen Australia funding talks and Global Game Jam team forming opportunities.

Screen Australia

It has been one year since the Federal Government announced $20M additional support for the Australian games industry. Come and hear an update from the staff of Screen Australia on how the money has been spent in that time, including an overview of the Games Enterprise and Games Production programs to date.  The presentation will be followed by and question and answer session, allowing future applicants to gain an insight into the decision-making process, which should inform their own approaches for support.

Global Game Jam

Jammers are encouraged to col0ur code their attire for the evening to match their skills, everyone else who’s not jamming is also encouraged to join in the fun:

Programming: Blue

Art: Red

Design: Purple

Production: Green (excel green is preferred)

Audio: Yellow

Writing: Orange

Media: White

So colour coordinate your wardrobe and wear your mingling pants as we start forming teams and meeting jammers.

There are still a few spots left at the Melbourne Global Game Jam, which will kick off with keynotes from Rami Ismail of Vlambeer (http://www NULL.vlambeer NULL.com/)via Skype and Steve Fawkner from Infinite Interactive (http://www NULL.infinite-interactive NULL.com/)IRL. If you’re keen to jam, register today via trybooking (http://www NULL.trybooking NULL.com/DWRZ).

Enquiries about these events or anything else IGDA Melbourne related are welcome, just email giselle at igdamelbourne dot org.

 

Screen Australia supports Women In Game (Jams)

January 3rd, 2014 No comments
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MelbGGJ_ScreenAust-web

As the Principal Supporter of the Melbourne Global Game Jam, Screen Australia  has kindly sponsored places for women wanting to participate at Melbourne’s Global Game Jam 24-26 January, 2014.

All women wanting to jam and aged 18+ are invited to apply for GGJ Assist by Monday 13 January. Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome by Wednesday 15 January.

If you have already booked and receive a GGJ Assist place, your $60 registration will be refunded to you. GGJ Assist covers the $60 registration fee only, any additional costs will be borne by you. The registration fee assists with the costs catering, equipment and staffing for the entire GGJ weekend.

To be considered for a Melbourne Global Game Jam GGJ Assist placement, please register here. (https://docs NULL.google NULL.com/forms/d/1BkDzeKHEzIBHi0-2H5OFO_zVLttS8J55mval-xLuAJ0/viewform)

A bit more about the Accessibility Challenge.

February 14th, 2013 No comments
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This year’s challenge saw 10 entries from Melbourne, a record number received from a single site in the three years that the challenge has been running.The standard was uniformly high, making judging pleasingly difficult, so as well as the winner we have also chosen to showcase two very worthy runners up.

Runner up 1 – Pump
http://globalgamejam.org/2013/pump (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/pump)
(screenshot url http://globalgamejam.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/screenshots/2013/pub_done.png (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/screenshots/2013/pub_done NULL.png))The colour blind mode is the obvious star here, very effective and well researched. The tool used for this was Color Oracle (http://www.colororacle.org/ (http://www NULL.colororacle NULL.org/)), which freezes whatever is currently on-screen and applies a filter to it to simulate the effects of the three most common types of colour deficiency. 

The same combination of simulation followed by colour shifts is something that has just been used to great effect on Sim City (http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/02/01/why-games-need-color-blind-modes-see-simcity-with-simulated-color-blindness/ (http://www NULL.pcgamer NULL.com/2013/02/01/why-games-need-color-blind-modes-see-simcity-with-simulated-color-blindness/)). For games with a wider palette, colour shifts aren’t possible, with use of symbols, shapes and so on a safer bet, but again use of a tool like Color Oracle is extremely valuable.

A number of other audience-widening features were present, including simple controls, single button start, objectives available during gameplay, and high contrast text.

Runner up 2 – Samurai XX
http://globalgamejam.org/2013/samurai-xx (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/samurai-xx)
(screenshot url http://i46.tinypic.com/2hdw7qo.jpg (http://i46 NULL.tinypic NULL.com/2hdw7qo NULL.jpg))

Impaired hearing is something that’s actually fairly widely catered for in games, but only in a basic way – subtitles for key speech, when sound often adds a great deal more than that to a game, from atmosphere to essential gameplay cues.

Samurai XX not only seamlessly integrates this information visually, the mechanic is actually based on around a visualisation of what your environment sounds like, due to the protagonist being blind.

There are some very nice touches, such as the ascending ‘tap tap tap’ text used to show that you’re walking up a flight of stairs. In all the game is a great example of how thinking about impairments can lead to inspiration and innovative ideas that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

Again lots of nice considerations to widen the audience further, such as contextual tips and flexible controls.

Melbourne winner – Wrongbot
http://globalgamejam.org/2013/wrongbot (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/wrongbot)
(screenshot url http://i50.tinypic.com/dr8j2p.jpg (http://i50 NULL.tinypic NULL.com/dr8j2p NULL.jpg))


Text adventures and interactive fiction are naturally highly accessible to players with motor or hearing impairments, but Wrongbot takes it quite a bit further.There are some good default features – high contrast clearly formatted text, no timing required, rewind function and so on.

What takes it to the next level though is the decision to publish as HTML.

This also gives complete player control over text formatting, both size and colours, but most importantly it means that Wrongbot is fully compatible with screenreaders. This is the software that people with little or no vision use to navigate their computer through synthesized speech. The game can be played to completion with no visuals, using only speech and keyboard short-cuts. 


Also important is being able to choose between mouse or tab/enter keyboard access. This makes the game compatible with assistive technology, able to be played by hitting large buttons, an infra-red blink detector, sip-puff tube etc.So regardless of whether a player is blind, deaf, or profoundly motor impaired the game is still just as enjoyable by all. The contest was very closely fought with only a couple of marks in it between the last three, but Wrongbot is a worthy winner and nice illustration of how some relatively simple things can actually open your game up to people with the most profound impairments.

If you’re interested in how to make your games blind-accessible in a similar way to how Michael has with Wrongbot the easiest candidates for it are fixed-layout puzzle or narrative games on iOS. All that’s really needed for VoiceOver (iOS’ built in screenreader) compatibility is some correct labelling, which is a fairly trivial task. The blind community is relatively small, but they are always crying out for games and are extremely vocal advocates of developers who cater for them.


Winner and runner up aside, there were very nice examples of accessibility in the other entries too, with a few common themes. The most important theme they share though is thinking about the audience in terms of real, varied people instead of ‘the typical gamer’ – think about your audience in that way and you’re sure to make a difference.

And the winners are…

February 14th, 2013 No comments
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Tuesday 12 February saw around 200 people gather at 1000 Pound Bend to play jammed games, catch up and find out who won this year’s awards.  It was a sensational night to celebrate the creation of games and friendships at Global Game Jam 2013. (photo courtesy of David Doe)

And the awards went to:

Best Game: You’ve got red on you (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/youve-got-red-you)

Runner Up,  Best Game: Moth Kidz (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/moth-kidz)

Most Original: Traffic Crisis 2040 (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/traffic-crisis-2040)

Runner Up, Most Original: Presenting Professor Lamarkridge’s Amazing Zoological Cardio-transplantotron!  (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/professor-lamarkridges-amazing-zoological-cardio-transplantotron)

Best Gameplay: Heart of Zarar (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/heart-zarar)

Runner Up, Best Gameplay: Heart on Your Sleeve (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/heart-your-sleeve)

Best Art: Endless Lovers (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/endless-lovers)

Runner Up, Best Art: Heart Strings (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/heart-strings)

Runner Up,  Best Art: World of Love (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/world-love)

Most Accessible:  WrongBot (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/wrongbot)

Runner Up, Most Accessible: Pump (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/pump)

Runner Up, Most Accessible: Samurai XX (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/samurai-xx)

Rising Star Award: Traffic Crisis 2040 (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/traffic-crisis-2040)

Best Audio: Doki Doki (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/doki-doki)

Runner Up,  Best Audio: Traffic Crisis 2040 (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/traffic-crisis-2040)

Runner Up, Best Audio: Little Red Riding Hood (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/little-red-hiding-hood)

Best New Talent:  Heart Strings (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/heart-strings)

Runner Up, Best New Talent: Bowie (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/bowie)

Runner Up, Best New Talent: Dark Organism (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/dark-organism)

Best Teamwork: We all win with Congratulations (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/congratulations)

Runner Up, Best Teamwork: U DED (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/2013/u-ded)

Thanks to PAX Australia the winners of Best Game and Most Accessible Game, along with the first runner up for Accessible Game (Pump!) have scored themselves three day passes to PAX!

The Rising Star award includes written feedback from Straight Right as to how Traffic Crisis 2040 could be further developed and a variety of winners also took home iTunes gift cards.

Thanks again to all our sponsors – please visit their sites and let them know their contributions are appreciated via twitter and stuff;

AIE (http://www NULL.aie NULL.edu NULL.au/)

Autodesk (http://www NULL.autodesk NULL.com NULL.au/)

Straight Right (http://straightright NULL.net/)

Windows Azure (http://www NULL.windowsazure NULL.com/en-us/)

FMOD (http://www NULL.fmod NULL.org/)

Redpoint Software (http://www NULL.redpointsoftware NULL.com NULL.au/)

Ruma Studios (http://www NULL.rumastudios NULL.com/)

Tin Man Games (http://tinmangames NULL.com NULL.au/blog/)

And last, but by no means least, so many people helped out in the planning and running of the event – you guys rock!

If you or your company are interested in supporting next year’s jam with a location, sponsorship or assistance we’d love to hear from you, you can email giselle@igdamelbourne.org to discuss possibilities.

Encouraging accessible games at Global Game Jam

January 21st, 2013 No comments
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On top of everything else at this weekend’s Global Game Jam, in Melbourne we’ll be adding some accessibility diversifiers to open up the games to players with different needs and abilities. A diversifier is aimed at diversifying the games as well as providing motivation for experienced game jammers. In a sense, the diversifiers are a free-for-all voluntary list of secondary constraints, that the individual teams can choose to go for, or not, as they please. If they do go for one or more diversifiers, they get to tick off those diversifiers as fulfilled when uploading their game.

As fantastic motivation for creating accessible games, be it for players with hearing, visual, motor or cognitive impairments, PAX Australia (http://aus NULL.paxsite NULL.com/) has donated a three day pass for the most accessible game!

Equal weighting will be given to the breadth of  audience reached, and any innovative approach taken for a single area (for example a mechanic based around players who are unable to see, or unable to operate a controller), so you’re free to focus on whichever approach is most interesting to you. More information will be available to jammers at the opening panel – but it might be good to start thinking about exactly who can play the games you make, and how you could reach a larger audience.
For more information about accessibility and one of last year’s winning games, see http://www.gameaccessibilityguidelines.com (http://www NULL.gameaccessibilityguidelines NULL.com/) and  http://archive.globalgamejam.org/2012/super-space-snake-space (http://archive NULL.globalgamejam NULL.org/2012/super-space-snake-space).

 

UPDATE: PAX Australia has contacted us since this post, and has extended their offer so that the entire team will get a PAX pass! (The iTunes vouchers will now move to another prize area).

The year that was and will be.

December 24th, 2012 No comments
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Disclaimer: I’m writing this on Christmas Eve as a mother of two, so it’s a casual post I’m in a first person mood, please be kind on any typos or grammatical errors. – giselle

First and foremost I’d like to wish all of the amazing IGDAM community; the organisers, speakers, regular Tuesday nighters, sometimes Tuesday nighters, jammers, GCAPers, online community, supporters and friends and their family and loved ones (phew! you’re all wonderful) a very happy and safe festive season. Thank you for making the local (and in some cases international) game development scene what it is. I hope your involvement will continue and strengthen into the future, just like prospects for making great games in Melbourne are.

It’s difficult to get reflective about another incredible year of IGDAM with Global Game Jam starting in one month, so  that needs to be the first rant; and I’m going to have a bit of a yell;

GLOBAL GAME JAM – 25-27 JANUARY 2013  (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/)

AIE MELBOURNE (http://www NULL.aie NULL.edu NULL.au/)

FIND OUT ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REGISTERING HERE.

“The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam event. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games… while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48 hour development cycle.” – GGJ website

This will be our third Melbourne jam, with sites also running across 232 sites globally at time of writing, including Adelaide, Canberra, Perth and Sydney to name a few.

We’re in a new venue near town this year, and are grateful for the work AIE are putting in and the space their offering to continue the Melbourne jam, which is close to town for an Australia Day weekend jam! (I’d recommend a firework break be scheduled into plans.) Places are filling so please don’t miss out and don’t be shy – if you want to know more about it join our facebook group.

SPONSORS:

 

Site sponsor

(http://www NULL.aie NULL.edu NULL.au/)

Without sponsors, there’d be no showers, food or facilities and without  AIE we’d be homeless.

Gold sponsor

(http://straightright NULL.net/)

Straight Right are Gold Sponsors and will also be giving the Rising Star award in the form of valuable industry feedback on how to take your game further in terms of art, code and promotion.

Silver sponsors

FMOD are again back and being wonderful again despite the fact that I’m having difficulty locating a logo in the right format or something (I mentioned informal about this post, yeah?)

(http://www NULL.redpointsoftware NULL.com NULL.au/)

Redpoint Software are backing up their BBQ sponsorship with a game jam sponsorship – thank you so much!

And everyone involved in the BBQ has also helped towards this event, so thanks all.

And finally, the dark horses at the moment include Autodesk who I’m still working on the final details and will update this post when they’re sorted (it doesn’t help I ‘work’ ridiculous hours and they tend for the office hours), but they’ve always been lovely in the past so I’m sure there will be thank you’s to be said.

There’s a few other sponsors I’m hoping to secure, mostly to cover security costs it seems, which is a little frustrating but it is what it is, and I’ll let you know who and what when I do. :)

Oh my it’s almost Christmas and there’s still so much to say…I mean #gamesfund, and PAX Australia and GCAP and Freeplay and I haven’t even mentioned the actual next event yet which I’ve fondly named PRE – with Kumobius pre-launching Time Surfer and the pre-game jam meet on Tuesday 8 January at 1000 Pound Bend – I’ll try to post more comprehensively soon, but it’s the usual drill but with a game prelaunch, as Time Surfer is due for release Thursday 10 January.

Ok, Christmas has ticked over and Santa won’t be able to visit me while I’m awake, so I’d best call it a night.

Thanks again for making IGDAM what it is, I look forward to being involved and watching it grow and evolve into the future.

 

Cheers,

 

Giselle

Call for Jam DJ’s, media and volunteers

December 19th, 2012 No comments
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First the tunes…

For the first time, Global Game Jam will have it’s own radio station. GGJ Radio will run from the start of the jam in New Zealand to the end of the jam in Hawaii.  If you’re interested in DJ’ing one of the 72 slots available you can register your interest by emailing radio@globalgamejam.org (radio null@null globalgamejam NULL.org). For further information visit the Global Game Jam website (http://globalgamejam NULL.org/news/2012/12/09/ggj-2013-call-djs).

Don’t forget there’s also the local logo competition closing Wednesday 26 December - now with bonus BBQ t-shirt! and registrations are open for jammers.

Then the visitors…

We love visitors!

If you’re interested in attending as media, would like to volunteer to help out for a bit but don’t plan on jamming, or are part of the local games sector  and would like to visit during the weekend please email giselle@igdamelbourne.org (giselle null@null igdamelbourne NULL.org).

And finally the jammers, never forget the jammers…

Registrations are open – to secure your spot visit the Eventbrite page (http://igdamjam13 NULL.eventbrite NULL.com NULL.au/) – we’ll have some sponsor announcements soon too, that are sure to sweeten the deal.

In case I don’t manage another update before Tuesday, all the best to you and yours for a fun, enjoyable, relaxing and safe holiday season. Thanks for being part of such an amazing community and I’m looking forward to the developments in development in 2013.

IGDAMJAM13 LOGO GO!

December 2nd, 2012 No comments
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We’re on the search for a logo for the Melbourne Global Game Jam.

File requirements: PDF or EPS format, min 300dpi

Deadline: Midnight Melbourne time,  26 December 2012.

To submit your logo for consideration or for further information email giselle@globalgamejam.org your logo. Who knows where it might end up!

The winner will be chosen by a panel and score a free ticket (or a refund if you’ve already paid beforehand) to the jam and gloating rights.