Andrew French, an avid fan of all things design, had been attending the Moray Game Jam since 2012, where his love for making games awakened. Since then, the jam has become a yearly tradition for Andrew and, for the past 8 years, he looked forward to reconnecting with old friends, collaborating with fresh faces. Just having a great excuse to “be a nerd.”
When Andrew found out that Moray College was unable to host its annual Game Jam this March, he decided to keep the fire burning of his yearly tradition and, to that end, Andrew and a few friends formed Indie Game Squad, in January of this year. An organization with plans to help indie developers through education and collaboration.
With no time to waste, the group had planned its first large-scale event; an eight-day remote game jam, 12 noon (GMT) on Friday April 17th, until 12 noon on Saturday April 25th. Game Jam 192, entirely free of charge, embodies the goals of Indie Game Squad.
“The idea of Indie Game Squad, as well as Game 192, is to have people that maybe want to get into design, or into games, but don’t know where to go,” says Andrew. “And hopefully, it can be somewhere they could come and just speak to people.”
Game Jam 192 has 24 entrants, some of them being teams, and some of them individual participants. Andrew and his team decided not to make Game Jam 192 public on itch.io’s jam system, opting for people to join the Jam through a separate link. They did this, “not because we thought there was going to be thousands of people joining,” but because they wanted to maintain the participant size for genuine peer learning. ”Everyone that goes helps each other out. That was another reason for this Jam, and that’s why I put it on discord so that there can be that interaction between people.”
Andrew’s line of thinking proved right, and in the past week, game jam entrants have been actively discussing their projects, giving feedback, and having general discussions in the Indie Game Squad discord server.
“We’re open to anybody coming along. And so, it could be, I don’t know, the hardcore pros, could be someone who’s just a hobbyist,” said Andrew, reassuring that while the game jam isn’t entirely public, excluding people from participating is far from the jam’s intention. He aims to encourage as many people as possible to try making games and participating in game jams, regardless of skill level. “If we could get a couple people who have that little spark of interest to have a go at making a game or some design then it’d be great.” Andrew aims to create a hub for these people; to be a place to go to when they don’t know where to begin.
With the jam coming to a close today at 12 noon, Andrew, the judges, and everyone involved are looking forward to playing and voting on the entries. The winner will be announced tomorrow, April 26th, same time. No matter who leaves Game Jam 192 with the winning trophy, all participants will leave with a memorable experience, and a new community of developers who share the passion of collaborating, learning, and most importantly, making games.
You can read more about the jam on the Indie Game Squad website.