Games-jamming with science
Hot on the heels of ‘Gamify Your PhD‘ comes another event aimed at exploring the boundaries of science and games. The Wellcome Trust along with the ExPlay festival, the Science Museum and the Pervasive Media Studio, are hosting a science game jam on the 5th & 6th October in London and Bristol.
If you’re new to the concept of a ‘game jam’, it is a where a group of people gather for a specific period of time, to rapidly prototype a video game, going from concept to a working version in anything from a matter of hours to days. This is in contrast to the normal development cycle of a game, which runs from weeks to years. Game jams tend to run jazz-like around a loose theme and focus on games that are simple, fun and inventive. This makes it the perfect method for experimenting with where science and games might meet.
Below is a video made during a games jam in Bristol 2011 that will give you an idea of what goes on at such events:
While the events tend to attract people with existing skills and/or experience, this does not have to be the case – at the start of the event people form into teams and then create games according to the skill sets present. You don’t need to know people to join a team; working with new people is positively encouraged. In addition, not all the games made have to be digital, people can (and do) make card and board games too. The event is open to anyone with a willingness to get stuck in and is free, however places are limited – book here to reserve your place.
So why will this be a ‘science’ games jam? This event is part of the Wellcome Trust’s ongoing strategy for engaging with scientists, games developers and gamers in the various ways that games can connect with science. The Trust will be setting the theme, which will remain a secret until the event opens on the 5 October. As you might guess, it will be a biomedical one, however within that area the scope is huge. We’ll have scientists at each of the two sites (London & Bristol) to introduce the theme and chat with the participants in more detail about the science underpinning it.
At the end of Saturday 6th October, the participants submit their games and our panel of judges will deliberate to announce the winning team. Prizes will be awarded at the ExPlay festival in November (open to anyone to attend) as well as a showcase of the best games on display too.
So whether you’re a student with some newly acquired tech or art skills itching to put them to the test, an experienced developer looking to go crazy with your creations for a day or you just want to take part, come and join us!