Friday, 23 May 2014

Conclusion and Evaluation

In the project proposal, I set out to participate in at least 7 game jam competitions either solo or as a team between the dates of August 25th 2013 to May 23rd 2014. Setting out to enter in 7 game jams meant at least 7 accompanying postmortem analysis were required for the project. The proposal was underestimated as I managed to participate in a total of 12 Game Jams, averaging slightly over 1 Jam event every month. 8 prototypes were successfully submitted online to the open public, 4 prototypes were unsuccessful and un-submitted online. A total of 11 out of 12 Jam postmortems’ were created. 1 jam entry won 1st place in an international competition overall. 4 Game Jam entries received online reviews/features or ‘let’s-play’ gameplay footage. 2 Ludum Dare entries out of a possible 3 were ranked highly in their desired categories. Without this project, I would be no way near the designer that I have become – it has been the most enriching learning experiences I have ever encountered, I loved every minute of it.

Furthermore, the project has triggered many seized opportunities to further establish AAA industry relationships through networking at both Jam events and through online competitions.  Some of these contacts are member of staff associated at Skybound Studios, Guerrilla Games, Lionhead Studios, Criterion Games/EA, Frontier Studios, Microsoft, Sony Cambridge and Jagex all of which were met and established through the participating of game Jams. As well as gathering AAA networks, it has allowed me to build up countless connections of indie developers through twitter - in addition to having contact with known indie personalities such as; Juicy Beast (Burrito Bison), Jason Rohrer (Passage), Christer Kaitila (Author of The Game Jam Survival Guide), Terry Cavanagh (Super Hexagon), Dead Toast (Newgrounds), Adam and Tom Vian (Detective Grimoire), Barry Meade (The Room) and Alistair Aitcheson (Greedy Bankers) as well as many more who were met along the way!
The project forced me to push myself above and beyond my comfort zone by being interviewed on live BBC radio, and overcoming fear by showcasing a game in front of  an audience of 200 hundred developers. It allowed me countless opportunities to overcome failure going far out of my comfort zone by means of a learning process. I have learnt to self-analyse and be critical towards my work in order to grow as a designer. 

The vast research into an array of different Game Jam competitions from this project has enabled me to produce a document that has the potential to be useful for others. Upon the completion of this project, I will be e-mailing the document personally to students on the course as it lists all the jams I have attended and will give them an idea of the Jams they would be best suited to participate in. I hope that some of the success of this project is projected down to 1st and 2nd year students inspiring them to participate in more Jams to benefit their career.

The highlight of my time at University was winning The Walking Dead Game Jam. It proved to myself that I can create something that is liked by others and for the first time win an international competition. If I could do one thing differently, I would have participated in one or two less Game Jams towards the end, and concentrated on iterating older ones – as my creativity appeared to deteriorate towards the end of the project. Some Jams I learnt a lot more from than others – this is represented clearly in the nature and detail across postmortems. Nonetheless, I am still glad I attempted the ones that were not so successful in learning lots from. After every Jam that I attended for this project, I have been able to take something new to the next one.

One of the best things about this project is I have a vast collection of game prototype to choose from to develop further in order to kick start the beginnings of my Independent Games career. My personal favourite prototypes from the project are Remember the Fallen, then Channel, then I Wish I Could Fly. I plan to continue the development of these upon graduation for a potential independent release.

“If I could, I would do it all over again.”

Jams Attended
Ludum Dare #27 - [24th – 25th August, 2013]
Indie Speed Run 2013 – [13th – 14th September, 2013]
The Walking Dead Game Jam – [26th September – 10th October, 2013]
Charity Game Jam – [23rd – 30th November, 2013]
Game Hack – [16th – 17th November, 2013]
Ludum Dare #28 - [13th -16th December, 2013]
Global Games Jam 2014 – [24th – 26th January, 2014]
Mini Ludum Dare #49 – [21st – 24th February, 2014]
Cyberpunk Game Jam [1st - 10th March, 2014]
Stencyl  Game Jam – [14th - 28th March, 2014]
Norwich Game Jam – [7th - 11th April, 2014]
Ludum Dare #29 – [26th - 28th April, 2014]

Encouraging Others
I was very vocal about this project in encouraging others to participate as well as offering many opportunities for collaboration. To newcomers, finding Game Jams can be difficult so it was my goal to discover these Jams personally and then share these with students on the course whilst entering in them – hopefully this encouraged some to attend. Many of the Game Jams I participated in I made sure to promote on the UCS Game Design page, usually directed at 1st and 2nd year students in particular. Evidence of this throughout the year is shown below.

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