At the end of the January, game developers all over the world took to their laptops and devices for Global Game Jam 2021, a 48 hour games development festival taking place simultaneously in 104 countries and 585 sites around the world, from New Zealand to Hawaii. Here in the UK we had over 45 sites, each full of buzzing game developers excited to take a break from their day-to-day to try and make something new. This year, the biggest site in the country, with over 260 registered jammers, was hosted by Game Dev London, a games development community with monthly industry meetups (such as Game Dev Lunch) and weekly podcasts (found on Anchor FM).
They ran an action-packed schedule via their Discord, in association with UKIE, including over 50 teams, talks from industry veterans, a community showcase, and live streams. In the end, they had 50 games submitted to their Global Game Jam site, with 29 also being submitted to their Community Showcase, which invited the jammers and their friends to play through all the games to determine their favourites and help all of the developers get feedback on their work.
Asked about the event, organiser Adam Boyne said “we were worried with this being the first online only Global Game Jam that attendance and activity would be way down on previous years, but thanks to our friendly and inviting community, our Discord was full of excited and engaged jammers who were not only making games, but also communicating with and supporting each other throughout the weekend!”.
Will Edmeads, 3D artist on Community Showcase winning game It’ll Cost You, said “Most of us hadn't done a 48 hour jam before, so we had very little experience of working within such a limited scope. The theme also really stumped some of us as we didn't want to make a generic lost-and-found game. Inspired by a strange mix of Pixar's Lost & Found, Spacestation Silicon Valley, Wall-e and Terminator, we came up with the idea of a toy robot character on wheels that'd be easy to animate and allow us to spend more time designing the rest of the game. We were so lucky to manage to pull together such an enthusiastic and talented team with skill sets that covered all areas. It was great to discover that, even during lockdown, we could meet strangers online, create a fully-functioning game, and have fun whilst doing it.”
Although it’s still early in 2021, Game Dev London already has plans for two more jams this year, and is excited to start planning for Global Game Jam 2022 as a hybrid jam, combining both a local and online jam. As for this year, Global Game Jam 2021 has been a rousing international success with over 28000 jammers, and we’re looking forward to next year already!
If you want to find out more about you can get involved in the Game Dev London game jams, or Global Game Jam next year, then join the Game Dev London Discord by visiting gamedev.london/discord to get all of the latest updates, events, and information.