During the course of the weekend of the 9th and 10th March 2013, the computer laboratories of the University of Lincoln were buzzing with excitement, madness and traces of uranium. People reported that they could not fulfil certain computer activities with their shoes on, some others requested their “bro” if they even script, while others were wondering how their baguette would even be able to shoot. Bystanders described that over seventy individuals from many universities (e.g. University of Leicester, De Montfort University, University of Lincoln) merely wished to ‘get their hands dirty’ on some activities that involve developing original, juicy and fun applications, which some of us know as ‘video-games’. This is only a subset of what could be described as a rather peculiar behaviour. However though, such activities were most common, most normal and seen as everyday routine amongst the participants of CanJam 2013.
Canjam 2013 was the second major video-game jam organised by the University of Lincoln Computing Society (ULCS) in cooperation with the Lincoln School of Computer Science (LSoCS). Based on the major success of the ULCS GameJam in 2012, CanJam attracted over 70 competitors, regardless of their background, knowledge, experience or ability to get their hands dirty developing a video-game in less than twenty four hours. Developers from the video-games industry (Crytek GmbH and Rockstar Games) judged games based on their originality, juiciness, fun-factor and best use of the given themes. Over £500 worth of prizes were awarded to the category winners alongside many honourable mentions.
This year, the crowd-sourced themes were based on objects and concepts. On Saturday morning, competitors were requested to submit one object (.e.g. moustaches) and one concept (e.g. smuggling) into the theme suggestion box. Judges chose the most fun and original contribution. This year, they settled on the themes of Uranium (object) and Madness (concept). Following the announcement of the themes, participants rushed towards their teams to discuss game ideas, development plans and workload distributions. Actually, some of them preferred to head towards the local pubs to find some much required inspiration.
CanJam 2013 had a great line-up of representatives of the video-games industry, including Rockstar Games and Crytek GmbH. They took their time throughout the event to chat to all participants, and they provided useful feedback on the games. On Sunday afternoon they independently judged every game submission throughout the game presentation session on Sunday afternoon. Judging was described as a most difficult task, as the judges strongly believed that all of the submissions were worth a prize.
We highly recommend to have a peek at the two minutes team interviews of Canjam 2013 participants on YouTube. Furthermore, some participants uploaded videos of their submissions (e.g. Atomic 92 Uranium Madness, Totally Illogical Meltdown). Additionally, Dmunkeys (GameArt Jinx) wrote a brilliant blog post about their experiences at CanJam, Oxyoxspring describes CanJam as the most tiring yet pleasurable Game-Jam experience, and David Saltares, one of the Crytek GmbH judges, underlines the tremendous effort of the organisers and takes his hat off for all participants.
There were more than 200 pictures taken throughout the event. They are all available on the public Canjam Facebook Page. We wish to thank Jonathan Woodliffe and Joshua O’Rourke (Follow him on Twitter) for their photography skills!
This was a great opportunity to show off students’ skills, to enjoy great fun times with other similarly minded people, to develop a game in teams up to four and to create a great piece of work for their portfolio!
See you all next year for CanJam 2014!