Twenty-twenty one. It starts here at this desktop computer. A little more than two weeks ago I helped host the Global Game Jam Online event. The eighth Global Game Jam event so far! Want to see the games uploaded this year? Find them at https://globalgamejam.org/2021/jam-sites/malmojamstoo.

Jump to the statistics & awards below.

Preparations

This year was different in many ways. I’m thankful for those who were able to support me by just being around in some way, including my volunteer Mellifloss and my partner for keeping me in check while I was being an absolute legend.

It was not at all really clear until beginning of December that I was going to attempt hosting a game jam site. A lot of things therefore became last minute or scoped down by a lot. But it was important for me to keep some of the feel of previous jams somewhat in this remote version of this in-person game jam.

Did a lot of the usual then… from creating the poster and banner images, the Facebook event, invites and even boosting it a short while. The Discord announcement was made, the newsletter email was drafted and sent, and I did also get to announce it on Game Habitat’s Discord (which I was totally glad they welcomed). I tried to look for alternative ways to reach out too, like maybe Eventbrite or Meetup might have been good. But sadly they came with their own ways of doing things, especially with a certain global situation we were experiencing all of 2020.

Didn’t do some of the helper stuff I did last year for GGJ, but on the other hand, I was a lot more hands-on in the GGJ Discord. The previous access I had helped a lot of individual requests as well. So that was a positive tradeoff and that’s all good really. I also had 25 total game key giveaways throughout the event from my HumbleBundle stash.

The game jam event

In contrast to yesteryear’s GGJ, all my stuff for the jam was already near my desktop. The registration form with the Discord activity were automatic check-in posts (that means no reception duty). No location logistics or food to really triple check to ensure a smooth onboarding.

But like many of the previous GGJ events, I had to rework the registration form responses on Google Sheets to have a clear image of how the event is going. You see, I thought I was being smart by starting with that kind of preparation a few days before the event started. Turned out I was well into Saturday fixing and future-proofing a lot of the formulas so that I won’t have to suffer as much in future game jam events and workshops. So for posterity I’ll briefly describe what Google Sheets I had:

  • One for registration. Checks if they exist on Discord and/or the GGJ website. It also kept track of people who left or did not participate (of which there were two).
  • One to check further and compare results to ensure participants have registered properly. It also checked experience levels of the participants and how many are potential repeats from last year. Two participated but didn’t register.
  • One for tracking group status. We had a Google Sheet that people were invited to list their names and groups freely to. This sheet tracked who wasn’t in a group and who was in what group.
  • One for tracking tasks done. Usually only as documentation to help me write these evaluation write ups.
  • One for in-jam tournament(s) (Not used this run).
  • Four sheets to help import the data to be used. The sources were the jammer list from the GGJ website, a listing from the previous game jam, a Discord user listing (unused; to be worked on) and a manual copy of the group formations Sheet.

I was still able to create a tabletop game. I’ve yet to test it properly, but I think something quite decent was made. Like all previous tabletop games I create, the submission is super barebones and mostly only includes rules, a set of instructions and a lot of photos to help recreate the experience. This one shouldn’t be that bad though. I think last year’s needed some papercrafting construction that may not be everyone’s fancy.

Well, me doing tabletop entries and my Google Sheets wizardry has evolved over the years and is a very old hat topic by now. But we did do some things that were new! Enter Topia.io. A virtual meeting place that you can customize quite freely. In a way our attempts to use it flopped. But as it’s something utterly new to me and the server in general, I feel it was still a win to try out. I even shelled out for a month’s subscription and I don’t regret the purchase. The experience had the in-person feeling we were kinda missing from this remote event. The problem was that since the main line of communication was through Discord, people would not know you are logged into Topia. I tried with scheduled meetups. They work for those eager to use Topia and those that have a slight interest. I later added a muted Discord voice channel that allowed people to “show” they are online on Topia. This should allow people to feel more welcomed to join whenever instead of a distinct meeting time (which totally felt forced by myself).

A screenshot from the last virtual meetup in Topia (with 11 users on).

Another new thing were the wiki entries I added using MDwiki on our website which describe the game project creation and the game submission process in more detail. The thing that irked me from Friday was that, I wasn’t really able to hold a live watch party like we do in our in-person event. That also means I can’t just bump heads with people to help them out spontaneously. I’m very serendipitous in this manner and usually end up helping others in a more natural and organic way. Doing this event remotely means I am unable to do that. So I opted with very clear, concise instructions that I can link to describe each big moment. It surprisingly worked very well. No one complained or found them unhelpful, and pretty much every group successfully submitted their game project pages and submissions. There were three projects which needed a slight correction in the upload itself, though for one of the groups it was a matter of the filesize and their connection to the GGJ website at a certain timeframe (the GGJ website experiences large amounts of traffic during the submissions). But all groups were able to submit the source in some form which I could then (if corrections were needed) quickly affix to the GGJ website. Curious about the wiki entries? Visit our wiki to check them out.

Since a video felt like a lot more effort and messy…clear written instructions just felt right.

Other final thoughts

Well, our Discord bot was not present this year really. I discovered there was a large update to v12 for DiscordJS, which meant I needed to revise the code I had for our current bot if I wanted to have a fully working bot again. That’s on hiatus for now as I want to purpose-build with something more specific in mind.

I also got a little sleepless during the event. I blame feeling too excited and being too invested in spreadsheet formulas. Felt a little burnt out and needed a slow two weeks to recoup as well…but hey, here we are. Below you’ll find your games, our awards and the statistics.

So here are your games

Below you can find the groups, games and our award titles below.

People with asterisks after their name were people off-site who did cross-site collaboration. There was also a group of two who never formally registered to our jam site yet still submitted a game.

Unnamed Dreamteam was awarded “parent-child mimic-ry” for Treasure Hunted – Mattias L., Carl K., Victor E., Dennis H.
OAT was awarded “dashy bird” for Kraaka – Tim W., Ossian G., Amanda B.
MEJK was awarded “TrashTag tips and trips” for Kessler Syndrome – Martin A., Kristian S., Jonas L., Eric A., Hampus N.
Bugz was awarded “game-o-deme” for Deme – Marie E., Paul N.
Jamzilla was awarded “KonMari method practice” for Lost and Found VR – Patrick P., Mattias S., Patrik N., Jack S., Alfred A., iEva*, Matt jr*, Mikey*, Matt C.*, Luke S.*
Were-Llama was awarded “three for the price of one” for Memory Loss – Job Z., Jaffar S.
Name pending was awarded “press escape after escape” for Find the Ladder – Oliver Ö., Hugo H., Jonas E.
Jambulance was awarded “PewDiePie’s found sock” for Asockalypse Gnome – Mirelle E., Niklas O., Gabriel H., Markus N., Patrik A., Sara L.
De Borttappade was awarded “yeet! yeet! f–k! yeet! oof!” for Skattjakt – Tobias N., Harald W.
(Flutter game) was awarded “my paper heart’s a-flutter” for Flutter – Sandeep N., Shailesh P., Amit G., G A.
Team Torsten was awarded “yessir” for As Per Your Request – Torsten H.

Global Game Jam statistics

YEARSSITESCOUNTRIESPARTICIPANTSGAMES
2021585104288266383
2020934118487549601
2019860113470069010
2018803108428008606
201770195364017263
201663293361646866
201551878288005438
201448872231894292
201331963167053248
201224247106842209
20111694465001500+
2010138394300900
200953231650370

Our own statistics

Amount of games made each year

Participation breakdown

Breakdown of jammer experience over time

Same breakdown of jammer experience by year

Jammer experience between events

Facebook Events stats

It’s difficult to compare these numbers to actual signups, so these values are more like estimates.

The tiny Topia world I quickly mashed together on the first day of the event.

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading our writeup 😀

The GGJ21 post jam writeup