Regina developers put skills to the test in 48-hour Global Game Jam
Around 50 people at Regina’s Innovation Place raced against the clock this weekend to make video games — something that normally takes months or even years to complete.
“Once you’ve been working for 20 hours, it takes a lot out of you,” participant Scott Hoffman said. “[You] take not as many breaks, try and move as fast as possible — it’s a lot more exhausting than a regular development cycle.”
While Hoffman says coffee is key, Regina’s event is part of a worldwide showcase known as Global Game Jam, with over 800 sites across the globe taking part.
“It’s a really interesting challenge bringing together technical programming as well as art, writing, music — just a wonderful mix of creative talent and tech talent here in Regina,” said organizer and CEO of Massive Corporation Kai Hutchence.
The event is the largest of its kind and provides people with an opportunity to learn new skills and showcase their digital skills and game ideas.
Keeping with this year’s theme — What does home mean to you? — Kaitlyn Abel and her team were designing a game based on a haunted house.
“We have a point-and-click puzzle-solving adventure. It’s kind of like a virtual escape room. The player goes from room to room and has to solve puzzles within each room, and then they get an item at the end and they have to place a few items in a different location, and then it solves the problem and ends the game,” Abel said.
Despite some participants, like Abel, not having a background in gaming, organizers say it’s about finding training opportunities to grow the industry in Saskatchewan.
“The benefit it has to innovation and economic development in Saskatchewan is enormous, and unfortunately, we’ve overlooked it for so long,” Hutchence said.
“Events like this [are] what we need to grow our industry and bright futures for our young people so they don’t have to leave to work in tech.”
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Even though games can take months, even years to create, the ones designed here can be quite the adventure.
“What they’ve created is just crazy. It’s 3D and it has this interesting storyline and all the different actions and animations they’ve been able to do in the short amount of time has been super impressive,” Abel said.
Once they’re complete, the games and their project files will be shared online — proof that just about anything is possible in 48 hours.
“All of the source codes and assets are available as well,” Hutchence said.
“One of the beautiful things is that it’s such a good opportunity for people to learn because if you see a game that you like or see something that’s interesting and you’re not sure how they did it, you can actually download and look at the project files.”
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.