On Saturday, I attended Ireland’s first ever Windows Game Jam which was hosted and run by Diarmuid Murphy of Microsoft. It was a really good day with some of Ireland’s burgeoning game development talent on display alongside some of our more accomplished game developers.
Before I go further and discuss some of the great games we saw being developed I have to first caveat some things … The photos are only of an average quality because they were taken quickly while we were running around trying to judge the winners. If anyone has better quality pics they would prefer to see posted then please email them to me. Secondly, I dont have everyone’s names and I did not keep the score sheets – so if I omit any or accidentally get something wrong please don’t be too upset – if you let me know I’ll correct it.
So back to the event …
The best new game was won by Pewter Games Studios. They developed a retro head-to-head space shooter based loosely (or maybe not so loosely) on Space Invaders but with a multiplayer twist where each player uses the aliens as their ally to attack the other player. For a game that was developed in a single Saturday they did a terrific job … For all intents and purposes the game could be released with only a few more tweaks and I for one would enjoy playing it with my boys.
The runner up was an innovative 3d neon-flashing auto-runner called Lightening Cast (I hope I have that right!) which definitely showed potential. With some additional work this could be a really good game.
There was also an award category for best port which was for games that had already been developed prior to the Jam and were ported on the day to Windows 8. This was won by Raw Games duo of Ballyfermot College for a car-crashing zombie-crazed thriller called The Driven Dead. Definitely high potential in this game.
This was a competitive category and there were some other good ports too, for example Egg Chef from Crew Design (see below) and a Christmas themed platformer called Santa Sprint (apologies guys – picture was too blurred for inclusion).
Best artwork was awarded to the team that built Life of Patch. This game showed a lot of promise and, in particular, the artwork was pretty stunning … especially when you consider it was all done on Saturday. Well done guys!
Other games on display included:
A 2-player ninja beat ’em up based graphically on what looked like 80’s retro graphics (which I love btw).
Slupe, from Atomic Split Games, also looked great visually and seemed to draw inspiration from Osmos or maybe p3-Biotic from BatCat Games, here in Dublin.
Unity seemed to be the development platform of choice and was used to build some strong contenders. There was an interesting bubble type game that incorporated a mathematical twist which looked really good and I particularly liked a beanstalk themed puzzle action which required a character to successfully navigate up the layers of a spinning beanstalk by jumping through holes in the virtual plant. There was also a really good looking platformer featuring block graphics (which are being used in a lot of games to great effect of late) and some pretty interesting fire and flame effects.
I unfortunately don’t have pictures (at least usable ones) for all of the games which is a shame as there were a lot of great games produced. I have to say I was incredibly impressed with the talent on display at the Jam. The Irish games industry is certainly heading in the right direction with a lot of great new talent emerging. From Tipperary to Carlow, Laois and Dublin there are some great studios out there.
If you are interested in future Game Jams then you should link through to Global Gamecraft who are organizing several similar events in the near future including Derry (next week) and as far away as New York (the week after).