Global Game Jam, Appathon Post-Mortem, and Whither Nintendo?

This Week in VGAD we will put a fork in the recent Appathon, find out if anyone we know actually went. If so, how did it go, if not, why not. We’ll talk a bit about the extremely-freaking-nigh Global Game Jam (Friday, people!) and ask what the hell is going on with Nintendo and what can be done about it.

Global Game Jam

There’s some new information out of the Game Certificate camp about the Global Game Jam that I shall now relate to you.

First, the Game Jam in Edmonton will be sponsored by Gamesys Canada. This partially means that there will be swag, and that the coffee and pizza will be paid for. Long story short, if you spend your weekend at the Game Jam, you will be fed. This will become pretty important!

Secondly, on Friday the event will officially start at 4 pm. I believe this is when the Keynote address happens, and then there will be a talk by David Holmes about his participation in the Global Game Jam a few years prior and how it led to his own game, Life Goes On.

You need to register on the Edmonton Jam Site. This is so they know how much pizza to order, etc. You will probably have a chance to do this at the event but do it beforehand just to save yourself the fright.

You need to be a student at the U of A to attend the Game Jam at the Computing Science Centre. This is partially because the event is being sponsored by the school as well.

Don’t make a team beforehand. This is not a suggestion, this is actually a rule. The format of the Game Jam is that everyone shows up with an open mind and possibly a game pitch. Pitches are made, and then groups are formed based on those pitches. This should all be done by about 7 pm Friday, and then until 5 pm Sunday it’s all just hacking.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Come with Unity installed and patched up to the most recent version to avoid any conflicts. The most recent version as of this writing is 4.3.3.
    • Unity was basically designed with the Game Jam format in mind, and it is actually a sponsor of the event.
    • As of version 4.3, Unity now has a full 2D workflow and integration with a good 2D Physics engine called Box2D.
    • The free version of Unity can now publish to Android and iOS, which wasn’t the case this time last year.
    • If you’ve never used Unity before, I highly advise doing a few tutorials before you show up. Start with the Editor Tutorials and if you have time, maybe move on to some of the more advanced topics like Graphics and Physics.
      • Even if you don’t do the reading beforehand, it pays to know where this stuff is if you’re expected to look it up later on.
  • If you’re super hardcore and you have your Dreamspark account set up, you can download Visual Studio Professional 2013 for free and attach it to Unity to do your C# scripting in.
    • This is an upgrade over the built-in script editor for Unity and I highly recommend it.
  • You will likely also be using GitHub. “But Blake,” you might be saying, “Don’t I have to make my repository open-source if I’m not paying for my GitHub account?” Not if you’re a student!
    • GitHub also has a really good GUI app for Windows and Mac that takes a lot of the frustration out of doing command-line pulling, branching, merging, etc.
    • But you will probably still need to install a Git implementation for your operating system, even if you are using the GitHub app.
    • If you don’t know how to use Git, here’s the basics.
  • Bring your laptop, a mouse, some headphones, and maybe some healthy, keyboard-friendly snacks (I suggest grapes or pretzels). There will be coffee provided.

This will all be rehashed at the meeting tonight. Hope to see everyone there.