What you learn when you’re having fun
The dust has settled, the keyboards are quiet, and 10 working prototypes have been created; the second ever Big Blue Bubble Game Jam has been a huge success! Last week we introduced you to the ten teams competing against one another in the Big Blue Bubble Game Jam and asked them how they were preparing their team to make the best game possible. As a result of the Game Jam, we learned just how well they can get a team’s creative juices flowing, and the wonderful creations which can come from them. Today we’re going to hear from a few of the teams to learn what went right, what they’d do differently next time, and how they felt about the final results.
“Thanks to some hidden talents we saw quality testers become artists, writers become musicians, and interns became full-fledged game designers.”
Jamie Riehl, a senior artist with Big Blue Bubble, was a member of Team Chris Mai, their game had a retro aesthetic that made heavy use of classic pixel art. Jamie let us know that while he had experience with pixel art, he’s always kept up with the evolving art style of video games. For him, it really felt like he had to roll back the clock and dive back in time to make sure his art fit the aesthetic perfectly, which at least in our opinion it absolutely did.
Tigh Tiefenbach’s team found that one of their biggest takeaways from the Game Jam was just how important it is to be really familiar with the tools they’re using, from the programming language to graphics tools, to even the desk they’re working at. The more you feel like you’re working in your own space, with your own tools, the more successful he feels you’ll be.
“…never write yourself into a box, and keep an open mind during a game jam.”
Working in a familiar space is important, but other teams found that their teammates could surprise them with hidden talents. One of the major parts of the Big Blue Bubble Game Jam was that every single employee was eligible to be on a team, meaning you could choose from support departments that normally don’t work on games during the production or design process. Thanks to some hidden talents we saw quality testers become artists, writers become musicians, and interns became full-fledged game designers.
In last week’s interviews, there was worry about ‘scope creep’, the tendency for a games design to get out of hand the second work begins. We asked one of the most concerned captains how they handled the risk and if it caught up to them. Kailey Joanette had called time the enemy, and by the end of the Game Jam, he was quite sure that he’d vanquished it. His team kept to a tight scope, and though their game evolved, it stayed on point to deliver what they felt was a solid and fun experience Sunday afternoon. You could almost see the A-team cigar in his mouth as Kailey told us “I love it when a plan comes together”.
The biggest takeaway we received from the teams was to never lock yourself into a single idea. Sarah Dashow put it best when she told us to never write yourself into a box, and keep an open mind during a game jam. The Big Blue Bubble motto is “inspiring worlds of creativity” and a big part of being able to do this is to make sure we never stop being creative and look for inspiration in whatever we do.
In the end, the Second Big Blue Bubble Game Jam was a great experience for the team, bringing everyone together and exploring some of the hidden skills of the office. Though we can’t share the results yet, we’re excited to see how much everyone learned and can’t wait to switch up the teams, find new challenges, and do it all over again!
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