This weekend for 48 hours Global Game Jam 2011 gathered over 6000 participants in 44 countries to put their game design skills to the test in the largest game jam ever. Local organizers, Jon Preston and Jeff Chastine, together with a dedicated team of volunteers, oversaw Georgia’s GGJ location at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta. SPSU’s turnout was impressive, ranking eighth in the world and second in the US only to New York. Official turnout was just over 125, but over 150 students, professionals, technical artists, graphic designers, writers, musicians, programmers, girlfriends, and just plain old gamers took over an entire floor of SPSU’s Atrium building.
Computer rigs and USB hard drives were strewn in any open space, tables pushed together, surge protectors stretched across walkways, marker boards were scribbled upon, and lots of empty vitamin water bottles littered the desktops. This year’s theme was extinction. Beyond that theme, the participants were left to their tools and skills to team up and create a game in 48 hours. Pulling out all the stops, participants utilized pretty much every dev kit, software, and platform available. DodoDash, a runner in the vein of Canabalt where a swarm of Dodo birds futilely attempt to escape hunters, used Unreal’s Dev Kit to make an iPhone game. Another game used OpenNI to interface with the Kinect and ActionScript3 (the programming language used in most Flash games), to create a game in which the player is running away from volcanic ash and stampeding dinosaurs. Other games featured fully realized 3D model characters crafted in Maya and Z-brush.
For the first time, board games were also included. One group at SPSU created a a fun to play survival game in which you outwit your fellow players by out-guessing their next move; perhaps the neatest thing about the game was its story based on the mysterious disappearance of early American settlers.
By the third day the overwhelming smell of “creativity” filled the halls of SPSU’s Atrium building as puffy eyed game makers submitted their final uploads to the IGDA run Global Game Jam servers. Some hours later, game jammers in Honolulu’s Univeristy of Hawai’i's bio-med building submitted their games, marking the end to 2011′s global game jam. In total, almost 1500 games were created in that rolling 48 hour time period. An impressive amount of effort, creativity, and teamwork– not to mention, a whole lot of fun.
While all of the games made during this year’s Global Game Jam can be found here (and I encourage you to peruse them, because there are some gems), I’ve highlighted the SPSU 2011 GGJ games below:
The Last Extinction: Earth (a game where the player scoots around the Earth in a spaceship beaming up inhabitants before a tumultuous core engulfs the planet in volcanic destruction)
Super Cave-Man: Dino Extinction (a game that tells the true tale of how the dinosaurs went extinct: at the hands of burly cave men murdering them in wave after wave of top-down four-player action)
Critter^3 (a fairly complex puzzler that challenges you to place “environment” cubes around several population of animals; the goal is fully optimize the types of environments surrounding the population and can take a while to fully work out)
Retuned (a fun flash brawler where you bash a legion of auto-tune robots in an attempt to thwart the extinction of rock and roll)
SuperMegaturboX64Box (an inspired game that plays with game mechanic and graphic evolution, forcing the player on an unwitting journey down memory lane)
Coke Wars (a mind bending experience set to a creepy frenetic soundtrack that could only be created by coke– coca-cola– fueled gamers in a 48 hour stint)
Rock Never Dies (a rhythm and platformer hybrid, the player(s) control Plunk, a cutsie punk rocker whose mission has become to convert hip-hop heads to the way of the metal)
CROATOAN: Lost Colony of Roanoke (a board game in which players outguess each others’ moves in an attempt to secure rations and escape a dessert island)
Denied! (a simple tiler where you act as a firewall, surrounding intruding virii and deleting them from the system’s file matrix)
Dodo-Dash (a runner in which the player controls a swarm of dodos who must run away from evil hunters)
Bite Me (utilizing the Kinect, the player must dodge a hoard of stampeding dinosaurs, volcanic ash and falling rocks as the world crumbles around them)
Evolutionarium (a simulation game where the player manipulates the environment, allowing certain creatures to thrive while others go extinct)
Dark Matter (a board game where you play as a robot securing body parts from black market dealers to use to create a superior human specimen)
Game of Death (an “adaption of Conway’s Game of Life, but with death;” the user must ‘kill’ off generated patterns by efficiently placing ‘death squares’)
Give me Enlightenment or give me Death! (a sim where you act as a god and technology maker that can travel to different instances of a civilization’s timeline; how will the choices of technologies you choose to bestow on the people affect their civilization?)
World Breaker (your missions is to pummel the Earth with meteor showers of varying sizes; once sufficiently pummeled, you can unleash the mother of all meteors: the World Breaker)
R.O.B.O.T. (a “Sci Fi adventure game dealing with preventing the extinction of the human race by rescuing the few left on a space station in space”)
Magnedude (a 3D puzzler adventure in which you control a strange creature with a sack full of magnets that can be used to manipulate environments objects to enable navigation through a dungeon-like cave)
Enlightened (a claustrophobic explorer in which the player has minimal light and ambient sounds as her only guide through a dark subway lined with random puzzles)
The Lonely Wasteland (life as the last human on Earth)
F.F.E., fight for existence (“The world is in ruin. You are one of the last remaining humans alive. Every second is a fight for your life. Kill or die trying. Try to avoid the cannibals.”)