Can Jam 2014

Can Jam Logo

Hey everyone! Just a quick blog post to tell you all about the upcoming Can Jam at The University Of Lincoln. It’s a 24 hour long game jam ran by students and staff at the university for the glory of game-making students everywhere!

It’s going to be starting on the 8th of March at 9:00am and any UK student with a valid form of identity is welcome to come along to participate. We’re really hoping that you’ll be able to come along and make games with like-minded people. If it’s anything like the last three it’ll be an awesome event. I will be there helping out and providing people with my homespun brand of passionate encouragement (until about 3am – then you’ll have to deal with grumpy Sean).

There will be people coming from both Crytek GmbH and Rockstar for the judging so it’s a great opportunity to network and show off your skills!

Also… this year we have a fancy trophy. I’ve yet to lay eyes on it because apparently it’s far too fancy for any one person to lay eyes upon. It’s really that fancy.*

You can sign up here! There’s only a limited number of places so make sure to grab a ticket quickly! Also feel free to share the details with anyone or anything you might think will be interested.

*I have literally no idea how fancy it is right now. But I can only assume it’s going to be pretty fancy.

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#CanJam13: Post-Mortem

Well… I can honestly say that was perhaps the most stressful and tiring jam I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. I should have known not to go to a 24 hour long game jam with a horrible cold looming in my sinuses.

The jam itself was incredibly well run, shout outs to the Lincoln Computing Society and everyone else who ran the show, you definitely trumped last year both in terms of turn-out and quality. Plus, the pizza wasn’t as spicy this year… so I didn’t spend most of the night gagging for a drink!

So myself, Amelia, Alex and Craig got together to make a game based on the randomly chosen themes of “Uranium” and “Madness”. We all went downstairs to the pub in order to discuss what our idea was to be… but unfortunately the pub was closed (at 11 in the morning?! What?!). We decided to make a game similar in style to Oregon Trail, Warioware and Super-Wagon Adventure… and we kinda succeeded… in a way:

Not going to lie, both myself and Alex have agreed it might be one of the most generic games we have ever made. It’s mechanics are stale, old and overly-used. It is badly balanced… either making the game a cake-walk or a hellish, nigh impossible nightmare. It was a bitch to code for Alex… and a soul-crushing, time-consuming, pain in the arse for me to input the 150 odd elements that made the game up. On the plus side, both Amelia and Craig made some top-notch assets for the game.

What would we do differently? Choose to make a game with more unique gameplay would probably be the first thing… dodging and shooting games are a dime a dozen. We’d also probably avoid making such an complex and branching story in such a short period… and we’d also take more breaks. We both also agreed that the themes were a tad too easily attached to one another, which made it harder to come up with something unique (A great deal of the final games we saw made the radiation make the player ‘go mad’).

But… somehow it managed to get the Award for “Best use of Theme” and also an honourable mention for something else (I can’t remember what… I was far too tired.) I have no idea how, and I don’t really want to question it. But I guess I want to thank Rockstar and Crytek for finding something we couldn’t see by the end of the day-long dev session. Hahah.