48 Hours of Fun at the Phoenix Global Jam

One of the many development teams, or Jammers, working on their game. (Photo: Christopher Silavong/The Republic)

Global Jams are a relatively new thing to the video game scene. Essentially a bunch of developers come together – some that are veterans, some as young as 15 with a blank slate of experience – and in 48 hours they have to create a game with team of other developers. Over 100 people came to this year’s Jam in Phoenix alone.

The idea of a Jam is great for so many reasons. It’s good to get game developers in one place, no matter what the experience level, getting all of those creative minds together allows them to feed off of each other for bigger and better ideas. It also raises camaraderie in that field. There needs to be less fighting between game developers and more collaboration. Luckily these Jams teach the young developers that’s exactly the point.

Another amazing thing about this event is the ability that companies have to show off their new development tech before releasing it to the public; a trial run so to speak. Tobii, a Swedish company let any developer team use their new Eye Tracker software if it would be used in game. The Eye Tracker follows the movements of your eyes and implements it into different game mechanics. Similar to what the Kinect or Eye Toy did.

Likewise, another one of their global sponsors gave out the Unity development kit to any and all that needed it. Unity is an amazing starter kit for young developers that give them all the pieces they need without writing out a thousand lines of code. It’s like having all the building blocks to make what you want, you just don’t have as much power as actually creating the blocks themselves. Still, it’s a great stepping stone into the big leagues of video game development.

All together the Phoenix Global Jam was a definite success. Many more people came this year compared to last year, and the team that put the Jam together expects an even bigger turn out next year. With events like this going on worldwide, I have no doubt that the game industry, especially on the Indie side of things, will continue to grow to enormous heights.

If you want to know more about the Phoenix Jam and who was there, or just more about what these Jams are, make sure to read the original story here.

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