So one of the first thing’s that the advisor of our club, Dr. Frances Vanscoy, mentioned when we had our first few meetings was about the goal of eventually being a host site for the Global Game Jam. I personally had not heard of the event and as soon as I figured out what it was, I really thought that would be a good goal for the club to be able to make our university one of the many host sites. Up to this point, the nearest site was Pittsburgh (which also happens to be one of the biggest I believe).
I was elected President in May of 2015 and personally made it one of my goals to make this happen. In October we became an official site and by early December, we were able to open up our registration. With the help of the officers, we were able to get Dr. Jaime Banks, Professor Jeffrey Moser, and Dr. Nick Bowman to speak at our event in addition to our club advisor Dr. Vanscoy. After they spoke, we played the Global Game Jam video keynotes and theme announcement, then immediately began brainstorming and spliting into teams. By the time it was 10pm that Friday night, we had two teams formed and I had heard some exciting ideas related to the theme from both teams. (We also had Dr. Vanscoy making her own game as well).
I was not originally planning on participating in this Jam, but after I got home and was able to think about the theme and the opportunity to motivate myself to learn Gamemaker Studio (I got it for a good price when they had it in the humble bundle a few months prior), I had to at least attempt to make a game. This game ended up being Keeper’s Fate, which is a top down 2D maze game. I drew all the sprites myself (I’m sure you can tell, up to this point I had very little experience drawing sprites) and worked through several Gamemaker Studio tutorials to learn how to implement all the games features, menu functions, and artificial intelligence. I will be the first to admit that my game is the least related to the theme at our site, but my goal was to learn the basic functions of Gamemaker Studio and I believe that I have succeeded at that.
By the end of the jam, we had four games submitted and from what everyone told me, it sounded like everyone enjoyed the entire event and said they would do it again next year! I’m glad it was a success and I am looking forward to helping to organize it next year. Now that we know the process of hosting a site, I believe that we will be able to do a better job reaching out to the community next year, which will help us in getting more people to participate in the event.
Our Jam Site Website: http://globalgamejam.org/2016/jam-sites/west-virginia-university
Keeper’s Fate GGJ page: http://globalgamejam.org/2016/games/project-0
Keeper’s Fate page on my site: http://hallowgames.com/keeper-s-fate.html