On the act of Jamming

IMG_1772

I have it, my master degree in Game Design. I got the best grades of the class (ex aequo with Philomena Schwab, one of the most successful game designer in Switzerland). I finished my master with a Play Jam, a nice experiment on the act of jamming.

I have started creating games since the end of 2013, having the chance to work with very talented artists like Dan Iorgulescu, Valentin Terramorsi, Hamza Haiken, or Virgile Paultre, with whom we rose to the top of the Ludum Dare Jam ranks.

Those were my days of jamming, discovering the world of game development and game design. I had the chance to meet a very active and friendly game developer community in my region. Those game developers were also jamming, not as much as me, but I could meet awesome people like Frederic Dubouchet, Kevin Péclet, David Javet, Jérémie Wuthrer and many others.

Jamming allowed me to meet some wonderful people online. Like a job or a rent, you just need to send a mail, then you can have positive or negative answers, but you did it. Not everyone is nice. Sometimes, you have to fight for your idea. Sometimes, when everyone agreed on a game idea, there is this person who still want an other game idea.

Most of all, jamming allowed me to learn a lot of practical tips on game design. Do you know that when you are creating a sword attack in an hack’n’slash, your box collider should be 1/2 to 2/3 bigger than what you see, otherwise the player feels that his attack is too short.

When I started jamming, I had a dictatorial boss attitude. The more I jammed with different people, the more I learned to let go of my ideas and to collaborate, to listen, and to let other choose game ideas, even if it would cost me.

One game jam each month is one hell of a rhythm. You lock down a week-end and you work until the end. It becomes a tradition more than a passion. Importing the Input plugin, implement the Player Character, finishing the Title Screen, all those typical game developer actions become natural.

I started to change my habit as jammer. During the Indie Train Jam, I chose to compose music for different teams, making my experience of this jam more playful. Meeting awesome people like Gorm Lai, one of the founders of the Global Game Jam and the Nordic Game Jam.

But I lost my first love with jamming. It is hard to be surprised at the new game ideas when participating in a game jam. I can optimize my experience pretty well, but I have a hard time enjoying it.

This passion has gone to long-term game development. Last year, Kevin and I created Super Splash Fisticuffs during the Ludum Dare 32. I took the opportunity to show it at the Fantasy Basel and based on the overwhelming positive feedback that we received, we started to work on it weekly. We organized tournaments and show it to several festivals. I realized what real game development meant.

Don’t worry, I am not stopping to participate to game jam. I still enjoy the act of jamming. But I need to slow down, I need to find again what it means to jam. It is an act of creation, but I have created enough already. Maybe in several months, I will long for jamming. And then, I’ll create again.

One thought on “On the act of Jamming

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *