What to expect at the Manila Game Jam

January 19, 2017 - 6:45 am

I have been a regular attendee at Manila Game Jam since I started in 2011. I was new to game development at that time and joining the event gave me the motivation to improve and be active in the local community. Nowadays, I help organize and host the event for IGDA Manila.

If you are new to game jams, here is a list of what you can expect to prepare you on what lies ahead.

Expect 48 hours of intense non-stop game development

Yes, you read it correctly. 48 hours, intense, and non-stop. Game Jams are designed to pressure jammers to make games under specific constraints which forces them to think creatively and make use of the time effectively and efficiently. It’s not for everyone but it is a unique experience any gamedev should at least try once in their lives.

Here are some game jam games that found success that you might have heard of:

Expect a challenging theme

In game jams attendees are required to make a game that relates to a theme given on the start of the event. This forces everyone to think outside the box and come up with new ideas for their games.

Here’s a list of the themes from the previous years to give you an idea:

  • 2009: As long as we have each other, we will never run out of problems
  • 2010: Deception
  • 2011: Extinction
  • 2012: An image of Ouroboros
  • 2013: The Sound of a Heartbeat
  • 2014: We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are
  • 2015: What do we do now?
  • 2016: Ritual

Expect lots of people who are into game development

The Manila Game Jam attracts lots of game developers from different parts of Manila. We’ve even had attendees drop in from different provinces and even a couple from other countries. Attendees are a mix of students, professionals, and gamedev newbies who all share the love for game development. If you want to meet and mingle with like minded people this is the event to do so.

Expect to team up with random strangers

Attendees are encouraged to team up with other people they do not know. While not required, teaming up with strangers sometimes end up with unexpected results and even friendships. A lot of my current friends were made in game jams and it gave me a chance to work and function in groups of different make ups. It’s quite a learning experience.

Expect talks on gamedev and game jams

Manila Game Jam invites speakers to talk about game development and give out tips on game jams. The aim is to give attendees an idea on what to expect and how to maximize their time and energy for the very precious 48 hours.

Expect to get exhausted

Game Jams are exhausting and can take a toll on your health. Be sure to take a good nights rest before the event. Bring pillows, a jacket, a foldable bed or sleeping bag, if you can (seriously), anything that can help you relax during the jam. Just keep this in mind and make sure to take steps in keeping your healh in check.

Expect free food and coffee

Manila Game Jam offers free meals to registered attendees that can be claimed via food stubs. There’s also free flowing coffee for those who run solely on it. If you feel you need more than that, then feel free to bring your own food like chips and share it around.

Expect an overnight stay

Staying overnight is not required but is open to those who do not wish to waste time. There will be an area for sleeping quarters at the venue. If you are thinking of staying the night then do not forget to bring your own pillows and sleeping bags. Or you can bring a whole mattress like I did one time.

Expect a fun-filled weekend

While the primary goal of game jams is to make a game, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it while having fun. It’s a unique feeling to be feeling exhausted while hanging out with other people who loves games and game development. Plus, having a game done on a weekend is a huge accomplishment that is a lot of fun in itself.

I hope this post has helped you get a glimpse of what to expect in the upcoming game jam. If you want more you can check out the video coverage of the event from last year from our media partners.

Feel free to say hi to me too if you see me at the jam so I can regale you with tales of my own experiences if you need a bedtime story to sleep to.

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