Game jam gears for marathon weekend

Spaces are quickly filling up for annual Tectoria event

Previous participants in the annual Orca Jam event burn the midnight oil as they race against the clock to create a video game in 48 hours. The event

Greater Victoria’s seventh annual game jam takes place this month, attracting a number of West Shore residents to the mix.

Orca Jam 2016 officially kicks off on Friday, Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m. and wraps up on Oct. 30 at 11 p.m.

During a game jam, game developers, graphic artists, musicians and writers of all skill levels get together, form random teams and have 48 hours to make a game completely from scratch. Given the haunting season, there will be a Halloween twist at this year’s event, but that’s the only hint organizers will disclose.

Hosted by the Victoria chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), this 48-hour game-making marathon will also feature a keynote lecture by Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment and a member of DigiBC’s board of directors, as well as industry panels and a public exhibition of the finished products at the end of the weekend.

The association represents game developers across Greater Victoria and as far north as the Comox Valley. Victoria chapter leader and event organizer Chris Lefebvre of View Royal said the event has seen tremendous growth and receives overwhelming support from the community.

“It’s been remarkable. We really wanted to step things up this year, and not only have we seen increased donations and involvement from our local game studios, but tech companies outside of gaming have leapt in to contribute,” he said. “Even Vancouver-based studios are helping out.”

After the keynote presentation kicks off the event, the top-secret theme will be announced and game makers will race against the clock, maybe even finding time for a nap or two during the weekend.

They will continue through Saturday’s “Crunch Night” – which features a late-night talk show-themed panel hosted by Seattle’s Carlos Rodela, known for his weekly podcast Video Game Break.

Lefebvre said the event is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in game development, no matter what their skill level may be, to collaborate in a fun and pressure free environment, or to simply learn what it actually takes to make a game.

Sunday evening offers a chance for the public to drop in, play some games and maybe even get some ideas for their own games.

Orca Jam happens at Fort Tectoria, 777 Fort St. The cost for full weekend access, which includes food, drinks and a T-shirt, is $20. Space is extremely limited and spots are filling quickly, so organizers suggest signing up quickly to avoid disappointment. For more information, tickets or to volunteer, go to orcajam.com.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

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