There was a lot of satisfying moments throughout this event, and here is a breakdown of how most of it went. As usual we build upon previous years’ experiences and make the most out of it all. The games for this jam can be found at http://globalgamejam.org/2017/jam-sites/malmojamstoo-minc/games. This postmortem will detail some of the things we saw and learned from as organizers.
We experienced a lot more interest and had a lot more participating this year since last year. We almost doubled our repeat jammers which is really, really cool. But this is also partly due to the continually generated interest of the game development community and the events that are growing in increasing popularity. One such event was the Game Startup Academy, a meetup group that focused on starting up a game companies. And it also took place at the jam site at MINC!
We should say here that it was a pleasure sorting things out for the event with MINC. It was very easy to gain permissions, access and know some of the responsibilities for the locale and it worked out supremely well. We were very surprised at how friction-less it all was. We also had a long checklist that got resolved very quickly and eased a lot of our locale concerns. The only problems we had were with the alarms. But they did subside and the situation never got too dire with them, so it went alright. There was a good amount of collective space, and we encouraged groups that used the meeting rooms to leave their doors open during the jam so other’s can feel welcome to chat and network with them.
A quick show of hands during the keynote presentation showed that about half of the participants have come to their first game jam experience. This makes a good indication on bigger events of this kind in future with possibilities to hold workshops that build skills and contacts.
We started mid-November this year, a whole month earlier than last year. Preparations fell back into the old schedule in the last weeks of December, but we can definitely say that we were less stressed on planning and preparations this year.
As Jaffar no longer works at the university it became more difficult to have the jam site there. Making sure we have access cards to non-students, enough internet, power and most of all permission took a lot of time going back-and-forth between emails and people. And some of those issues were alleviated by the fact that Jaffar worked as part of the Malmö University staff. It was also convenient to have him as staff as security guards would visit the jam and would only be understanding if one was on-site and responsible.
We opened registrations 27th of November and had signups the day after. I believe this shows that opening registrations this early was a good initiative. We even had over 100 total registrations for the event, a large increase since last time.
Like last year we used the MalmoJamsToo Facebook for the initial invites, and created the Facebook event as MJT. We had made a new poster that was put up in the university and even in MINC. We offered posters to potential sponsors as well.
Sponsors was a new thing this year for us. As we were at an incubator, it would have been a missed chance to not have in-house sponsors. This included Caliente, Wünderchef and Game City. Food and drink sponsors are so great. We were very grateful for both Caliente and Wünderchef for being part of the jam, and for Tarsier Studios for their contribution. It really does make a difference to have food and drink, especially after the keynote presentation. In future we will try to start talks with sponsors earlier and see about making eating and drinking more convenient for jammers.
Other sponsors that were supporting us include Tobii who gave us an eye tracking device and Massive Entertainment who gave us 6 copies of their latest title The Division. We had a jammer or two try the eye tracking and we will see if we can incorporate it into future jams in some way. We were a bit unprepared for using it specifically this jam to be fair. On the other hand we did have some jam relief and held an hour-long local multiplayer game where winners could get a copy of The Division. We got offered to play (and playtest) Jonathan’s game PUSHGO since he was jamming with us and was working on a local multiplayer game. It was definitely a great choice.
The theme for this Global Game Jam was WAVES (there was also some video content). You can watch the keynote as well if you replay that video. The diversifiers were quite interesting this year as well. GGJ now takes a few weeks and allows people to suggest them via a form, which is smart. It allows for a lot of choices and variety.
The exhibit-style game show stayed this year as well, as well as the beloved certificates. We redesigned some of it’s flair, and chose a cheaper-but-still-sturdy paper to print on. Still kept it to A4 as it still doesn’t need to be cut, and this time we made sure to peek at everyone’s games a few hours before the game show so we don’t stress out during the game show when filling the certificates out. Some new things we tried this year were the appearance of printed role cards and printed tickets. The role cards may be phased out in future though, and we think it’s probably better to incorporate group forming before the jam, seeing that a lot of the group forming seems to take place before the event. Those that want to spontaneously form groups can of course, but most likely do not need role cards from us to do so. Printed tickets will definitely be used again though. At the start of the jam we had a slow start before getting to the check-ins and found that we had a large crowd waiting for us at the door. We had two laptops checking people in and the tickets were confirmations for letting them in. A few people came later and simply didn’t get tickets. We will have to think a bit on how to make latecomers a less messy situation. We already have some ideas for next year on improving this experience though.
We only had one group who finished a tabletop game (there was another who finished half a one but didn’t submit). It was a bit tight on preparing materials to encourage tabletop jamming though we did give some advice to the group that did work on it. It does seem like a tough sell as digital games are a lot more accessible and ‘cleaner’ to make without the jam specifically catering to tabletop. As said before though, making tabletop games does not require any technologies and allows participants to focus on game mechanics, experience and interaction. We do want to plan for a tabletop game jam later this year, so we will see.
This year we dropped streaming Twitch as we weren’t exactly sure how to get equipment for it and spending time to work with it, as we do not have a stream crew this time. I suppose next year’s GGJ will demand that we get some volunteers on-board and to consider how to work all that out with them early. In some ways it was nice to not stream, as we probably need to work on planning the actual stream program to have worthwhile content. There will always be idle times of course, but it would be good to have done some planning that make the streaming experience more lively. We noted similar comments on the last post-mortem actually.
Slack-wise, we got a lot more jammers signed on so that they can see our announcements. We had an integration that we thought would have been nice to use but since jammers are still kind of new to the use of Slack we simply did not even mention it. We couldn’t get more people on Slack this year, but we made sure that at least one person in a group was able to be informed if anything were to come up.
All-in-all this was a super good run. It really does get better every year, and we look forward to the next one every time!
Groups and awards were as follows:
(no name) were awarded “a doomed endeavor” for mountain doom storm – Ellen J., Sante L., Jon M., Tom L., Johannes L.
(no name) were awarded “fisherman’s friend” for Wave Boat Dash – Jacob K., Lukas J., Emil K.
Alex Camilleri was awarded “an extinction roadtrip” for Anthropocene
8-Bit was awarded “emotional” for Skyskär – Fredrik P., Henrik P., Alrik H., Bernhard J., Jakob H., Emilia L., Fredrik H., Beatrix M.
ANGEL HAIR was awarded “sinful af” for Fire of Lust – Joakim L., Anton S., Marcus L.
Blue Chair was awarded “most balanced” for Wave ohoy – Ajmal A., Mattias W., Hussein T., Jeremy T., Gustav B., Márk M., Gustav J.
Death to Bear was awarded “mindful” – Anders S., Jonathan H.
Emki was awarded “one with the wave” for Sandpiper – Emil A., Viki P.
GROUP WAVES was awarded with “apeshit” for Monkey Beats – Per M., Victor O., Emil H., Niklas H., Fredrik S., Olof S.
Kilgore Trout Society was awarded “microwave-ready” for Microwave Alchemist – Henrik J., Nikolaos T., Niklas S., Emil B., Johan A.
Kriss La Cross was awarded “a duel of fates” for Splash N smash – Kristoffer F.
Midnight Hub was awarded “most buggiest” for Disco Astronauts – Erik N., Johan B., Anton S.
Phyosoft Studio was awarded “with a chance of life” for The Cloud of Life – Anders D.
Rymdkraftverk was awarded “the secret drumpf” – Simon L., Robert B., Axel U., Lorentz L., Björn I.
Serenity Now was awarded with “very grabby” for Hooking in space – Ronny T., Emil T., Magnus N.
Soft Sinus was awarded with “a handful” for Ebb&Flod – Sebastian L., Karl N.
Team Awesomesauce was awarded with “frustratingly calm” for Koi – Julia H., Oskar L., Ayla M., Carl S.
Team MJT was awarded with “too crowded” for We Animals Very Elusive – Samanta M., Torsten H., Jaffar S., Job Z.
Team Westboro Baptist Church was awarded with “Best of both sports” for Sumo Soccer Cup – James N., Benjamin P., Emal G.
The Party of Six was awarded with “tectonic shepherd” for Shockwave Shepherds! – Andreas H., Tristan L., Vykintas K., Daniel D., Richard M., Eric T.
Tommy Soft was awarded with “worse than waterboarding” for Trump: Road to the White House – Tim L., Simon B., Patrik N., Adam A.
Yoyodyne Team was awarded with “a raindance” for Billy the Drop – Gabriel J., Raya D., Nicole C., Petter E.
And as usual, we have a fancypants infographic below about how our event went.