We hosted the Global Game Jam again this year, now for the fifth time. GGJ is now also a decade old! The next one, GGJ19, will be on the 25–27th January 2019. Here in this writeup we’ll describe some of what went on during the course of this year’s event and also our thoughts in hindsight

You can visit https://globalgamejam.org/2018/jam-sites/malmojamstoo-stpln to see the resulting games. As usual we have a game or two which aren’t present because of choice or laziness, but the participants are still counted in as part of the jam

You can hop straight to the infographics or the awards we have below

Our biggest thanks goes out to STPLN for allowing us to jam at their space, and to Game City who made a lot of the stress in planning much more manageable. This year we also had Massive Entertainment and Domino’s Pizza as sponsors as well

So we were late

We were really late this year. Like really, really late. But it was an unavoidable kind of late where we just had to suck it up and deal with it. So this year marks the first year, with the exception of the first time we started hosting for the GGJ, where we were a lot more unprepared. It was chaotic and I’m surprised we even pulled the event off without so much of a hitch

Without going into personal details leading up to being unavoidably late, we started carrying out our plans mid-December to the beginning of January. Pretty much the same period when we did our first GGJ. We may not have the increase in number of participants as we have in previous years, but there has been some other quite interesting numbers which were pleasantly surprising

Getting the space ready

All this being said, we most likely would have struggled a lot more if it wasn’t for our main sponsor Game City. They agreed to sponsor us in a way where we could worry a lot less about how to deal with the financial side of things. Game City still does game development community based events and Peter also helps support an incubator space for game startups at MINC, our previous jam site. Shoutout to Eliana who was also there to help us for this game jam run 🙂

A big reason for moving away from MINC and going for STPLN this year is that MINC is no longer able to accommodate a hackathon-like event very easily. There were a lot more policies which restricts access in a lot of ways, and things which made security and responsibility very difficult to work with for events that span overnight

In contrast STPLN was well-fitted for weekend events and have experienced hackathons and game jams before, a notable one being the No More Sweden game jam for a few years. We had zero issues with alarms and people jammed all in one big area. People were allowed to sleep on site too!

STPLN very generously supplied us with a lot of leftover soda. And I believe we went through a lot of bottles even if they were over a year passed their best before date. I don’t think we made a dent to their supply though

Consequences of late planning

We had registrations open on the 17th of December. We sent out an email to all previous jammers who are still subscribed to us too, which is something we usually do. This year though, we have added our subscribers into MailChimp. The change is also so people can easily unsubscribe from us, and so we don’t keep sending out mass emails manually (someday we’ll make a mistake I’m sure). Another change we also added was that we sent out a Facebook ad about a week before the event. We fell into trying this also because we couldn’t do poster distribution on time and we were also behind with gathering sponsors on board. For the most part, I think we had a good reach with the ad and it has attracted more signups even if just for the week it ran. We targeted those who already Liked our Facebook page and their friends, and kept it in the Skåne region. It translated to about 4-5 kr per link click. The money was out of our pockets as it was more of a pilot to see what would happen

In terms of sponsors we had a good amount, even getting to include Domino’s Pizza into the mix this year, though it may have been a bit late into getting it all arranged. For Domino’s in particular we would have liked to have had more time to get people on board to go for Domino’s. Or maybe negotiated or planned more openly for more conveniences for jammers. Either the delivery should have been free or the discount increased on their end. Or that we compromised and bought pizzas and added our own discount on top to make things more convenient may have worked out better

On other fronts there wasn’t much prep to support tabletop jams and absolutely no slot for Twitch or any streaming of any kind. In a way it was good to tone it down a bit since we wouldn’t have been able to handle either very much that weekend. STPLN has a wonderful variety of tools, machines and materials, but like the limited bandwidth on the wireless network, it would have been too much overhead and effort to set it up correctly this time around

We still had a poster for the event though, but it was something jammers could take home instead, which feels pretty nice along with taking a certificate actually. We’ve had pretty nice posters the last few years, and just like the certificates, we try to show something new (clicking them gives you an A3 size of the poster!)

Some things went right, though

We adopted Discord over Slack for communications this year, and I feel we are so much more comfortable with using it for our events. Slack may have threads and the Unreads feature, but Discord makes it easy to join a server if you already use it for gaming. At that point we’ve also had the chance to go through several other game jam Discords and studied what makes for good structure and balance for the server, and have plans in the future to automate the organization a lot more with our own Discord bot. Hopefully by next GGJ it would be put to better use. We otherwise were able to set up channels for planning to-dos and also one for noting what we can improve on for next time. It was seriously much better than logging it all in a spreadsheet. The registrations, check-ins and some of the other checks we made stayed on the spreadsheet for now though

We kept the PUSH GO tourney and it’s still a nice break from the jam. Like last year we distributed The Division codes kindly provided to us from Massive Entertainment. We also took a group photo and a hello video which I hope turns out alright. During our presentation I let Jaffar keep the stage instead of switching up. It made things a lot smoother overall and felt more solid. Certificates have been updated yet again too (like honestly, it’s pretty much tradition at this point), but this time we hopped over scrambling to fix certificate titles and left it for the post-mortem to actually announce them! Jammers are then free to write their own or adopt ours as they wish. Or just leave it blank that’s cool too

Here are our results

You can see the groups (in no particular order), their games and our award titles below.

Afneep was awarded “very- hey my right ear isn’t that big!” for Torsten Made Us Do It – Emil H., Fredrik S., Per M.
THE DICTATOR was awarded “so woke” for The Operator and the Dictator – Christian O., Fehime S., Magnus N., Naja M., Victor O.
WE EXSIT was awarded “LAN party ready” for Second Impact – Mikkel C., Pål S., Robin A.
JTD was awarded “a 2d contender to They Are Billions” for Pico Pods – Joschka P., Tristan L.
Inside Sunshine was awarded “a jump rope simulator” for Inside Sunshine – Andrea H., Christian C., Emilia L., Gustav B., Gustav J., Jakob H.
Grupp 1 was awarded “a good reason to travel light” for Airport – Anton N., Isak L.
BRIDGE was awarded “the new original sport” for Message In The Bottle – Antony N., Carolina B., Duc D., Leonard M., Matthew B., Nele C., Niels Ø.
??? was awarded “one with them moves” for Disco Deathmatch – Conny N., Morris G., Niklas A.
Normies was awarded “a 360 no scoper” for Sub’s Mayday – Andreas S., Erik W.
Not Tom was awarded “a trinary binary experience” for Byte Packer – Tom L.
team me was awarded “artsy fartsy” for ROAM.INSPECT.RESTART – Gabriel J., Ingrid S.
Just Stoffe was awarded “a new party favorite” for A Leap – Kristoffer F.
2 people was awarded “a brief philosophical journey” for – Jonathan H.
Sergio V. was awarded “a lot of frantic rotation” for DadadataStream
Alex C. was awarded “most glimpseful” for 1977: Radio Aut
Jaffar S. was awarded “so bouncy” for BlockR
Torsten H. was awarded “the most tiniest” for Transmixxion

We ended the jam by playing Kristoffer’s A Leap. While it took more than a few tries, 20 of us finally made the perfectly timed leap! Here’s a video of those ~5 mins it took. Editing it was considered but we wanted to preserve the experience

Overall I say this run was a success. From the numbers we noticed that there are quite a few repeats, but also that we are seeing a lot of new faces this year. This is definitely a good sign for things to come. The fancypants infographic below helps detail some of these insights along with quick summaries from previous years

(Our fancypants infographic can be found on the latest GGJ post-mortem)

Couldn’t get enough photos? Enjoy this slideshow of some of the (like, 25) other action shots we took

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Thanks for a wonderful GGJ18!