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Mind Candy's Game Jam

By Ian Dransfield

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Date Added: 16th July 2014

As Ryan Gilmour, SDK product manager for Marmalade, told us: "It's interesting – just because a marketplace isn't making front-page news every day doesn't mean it isn't a valuable channel through which to distribute your apps."

That's a definite concern and it's great to see a piece of software that addresses it so simply, but on the day of the jam making money is the last thing any of these spirited up-and-coming developers is thinking about. They're just there to make games, and there's nothing on show that isn't impressive in at least some way.

Almost the whole of Mind Candy's sizeable office was open to be used, with teams spread across an entire floor in their varying numbers.
Photography by Ian Dransfield

But all too soon it's over. The Jam progresses, games are tinkered with, laughter rings out as a game featuring a bee pooping on things is shown to judges from TIGA, UKIE and other industry types and the general mood changes from one of diligent (though fun) work to one of curiosity, socialising and congratulations.

Judges were looking not just for the most fun and well made game, but the ones that were accessible for those with disabilities too.
Photography by Ian Dransfield

A winner is announced – one BitmaniaK – for his accessible game of clicking or typing Tapping on the Beach and... well, that's about it. Prizes (software licenses, books, a trophy and more) are given out, people are congratulating one another, decisions are made to go to the pub and around 20 hours of total development time is up. Projects might be abandoned, they might develop into something more – but everyone seems to have had a good time.

"Exploring every part of development in a game jam is one of the best things
you can do"

– BitmaniaK, jam winner

As BitManiaK told us, a game jam is one of the best things you can be involved in as an aspiring developer, artist, programmer or any of the other disciplines involved in game creation: "Exploring every part of development in a game jam is one of the best things you can do. My recommendation is to try and participate in any jam – as many jams as you can, because you can get a lot of feedback and you can improve your knowledge for every part of games development. "But you need a lot of time... and it's not for everyone."

When development was over, people were keen to try out everything that had been made over the weekend.
Photography by Ian Dransfield

Pump up the jam?

There's a clear set of reasons why game jams are incredibly popular with independent developers: they offer a social, helpful space in which to tinker and experiment, to create and learn. They're collaborative and incredibly helpful, and – as mentioned – have produced a number of projects that ended up being turned into full games.

Even as a total novice it would be worth your while – if you want to get into games dev – to go along to one. Join a team, make some friends, learn a craft. Even if you don't get a finished product out of it, you'll get invaluable experience. Far more than you would simply by sitting at home and learning on your own.

You can find more info about the event on the Facebook page, along with links to more videos and images of the jam in progress.

A successful event all-round, everyone involved in its organisation seemed positive about holding more in future.
Photography by Ian Dransfield

Related links:

Learn more about Maya LT
Check out Marmalade
Find out more about Playcanvas
Discover Simplygon
Check out Allegorithmic's indie pack

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