IHS Takes Part in a New Venture : Game Jam

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Game Jam. What is it? It’s a competition that involves developing video games in a short span of time, hence the word ‘jam’. Although most “Jams” happen over a 48 hour time span, we were a given a week to develop our game since we participated in a school level competition.

This was an exciting opportunity for all of us to demonstrate the skills we have acquired over that last couple years. The week started as soon as we received the themes of “treasure” or “recycling” on the 21st of August. We decided to tackle “treasure” as our theme. After discussion, we decided to take a different view on the subject and define what “treasure” meant to all of us; we all decided to make friendship our ‘treasure”.

The real work began from the second day onwards. For the next three days, for at least five hours a day, we modelled/textured our game objects, and the programers worked on the code for the interactions between the objects.

On the last day, we stayed up till 3:00 am, putting the final touches on our game and testing, re-testing, and fixing the bugs in the game. Finally, we compiled it. We left for Chennai at 9:00 a.m. and reached there exactly twelve hours later, but the time flew by in conversations, cracking jokes, making fun of each other-you know, typical teenage boy stuff?  We quickly unpacked, put some more touches on the game, and then slept anxious for the next day.

GameJam was held at S.B.O.A School, and after arriving we registered, turned in our game, and went into the hall. 160 schools were packed into the hall, and it was loud. I mean LOUD. We were the 10th team to present our game, and over lunch we agreed that the judges looked impressed. After lunch, the judges announced the twenty-three teams that would move on to the final round. Our hearts pounded while we listened intently for our number.

It never came. We sat in silence. We were stunned since our game looked much better than many of the other games that we had seen. We went about looking at all the games that got selected. After the award ceremony was over, we met the judges to find out what went wrong. They explained that our game actually had the qualities of a top 6 game. Wow! However, we hadn’t presented it properly. It’s a bad way to go down, but it is what it is. The only thing that we could do now was learn from it and do better in the future. I can’t lie though; it did feel good to know that we at least had a top 6 game.

Later we freshened up, and went to the Express Avenue Mall, ate dinner, and did the only thing true video game geeks would do- we went to the arcade! We got immediately addicted to a pirate game and spent at least an HOUR on that game alone.

Overall, Harsha, Pranav, Gokul, Sai Shekhar, Karthik, Ayman Anna and I had a blast. Now that we know how Game Jam works and how a game is made and put together, we know how to develop our “game”. We also discovered our true potential as programmers, and are inspired to do even better on our long term project: Jaga. We didn’t win, but believe me, we’ve learnt a lot. When we go back to Game Jam, we are going to bring back a first place trophy, no matter what!

-Kush, Class XI