Gamma is a once a year game celebration held in Montreal. It features drinking, dancing, and playing of games created specifically for the event. The them was 3D (classic red & blue glasses), and 6 games were on display. All of them are freely available to download and play. I recommend The Depths to Which I Sink. Not only does it feature 3D madness, but I created it. If videogames ever become hip, they'll have this event to thank.
Man, there's a LOT to talk about.
Toronto virtuoso Daniel Piacampo, designer of TOJam's Emergency Response Team and The Signal, can get five stars on Guitar Hero's Through the Fire and Flames on Expert. If you've never played Guitar Hero, you have no idea how impossible that is. It's so impossible, he qualified for the international World Cyber Games 2008 Grand Finale held Nov. 6 to Nov. 9. While he didn't finish first, he did beat 4 out of 6 competitors (he goes by the nickname 'Mithin'). I'm not saying that the other 2 cheated, actually... that's exactly what I'm saying.
Toronto genius Michael Todd, programmer of TOJam's The Scourge, recently won the IndieGame Developers Showcase thanks to his 1-man masterpiece Engine of War. He was up against some seriously good competition, and it was a public vote, so you know this game is good. Imagine an action game where you can completely rewire your ship. Now stop imagining because there's a demo.
Toronto madman Jim Munroe placed 3rd at the 2008 Interactive Fiction Competition. If you're thinking it's all text, you're dating yourself. "Everybody Dies" features some amazing artwork by Michael Cho. While game makers are trying to figure out how to integrate meaningful stories into games, these people are doing it.
Toronto picasso Miguel Sternberg, artist on numerous TOJam1 games, Urban Tactics, and Der Baron Von UberCheesen has created the hilarious Night of the Cephalopods!. The dynamic narration is complete genius, and makes the game a milestone of sorts. Play the game (or wimp out and watch the video) if you don't believe me. This further proves we need to fear and worship gamer makers incubated at the Artsy Game Incubator.
Truly this page is becoming the source for Toronto game development news.
Future Play 2008 about our lovely indie game jam,
and why the community is so important. I've already posted my rambling slides on the site,
although I'm unsure how valuable they'll be without the rambling presentation that accompanies them.
Canzine Artcade flew by last weekend.
Jim Munroe and I hosted an arcade that featured games from the Artsy Game Incubator and TOJam.
For 4 hours, various people dropped by and tried the games (16 in all).
People enjoyed the games even when they didn't know what they were doing (no instructions were provided).
All kinds of people played the games, which was great to see.
Babel proved that a well designed hardcore rts game appeals to everyone.
Cupcake Challenge proved that a "cute-as-a-button" facelift can make Pac Man interesting again.
Gesundheit proved that an amazing art style combined with amazing music stops people in their tracks.
The Scourge proved that a hardcore zombie shooter can be popular with the ladies, which strikes me as a milestone of some sort.
I'll post more details later. In the meantime, check out Jim Munroe's summary. Big thanks to Em & Polly, who helped me cart 4 complete PCs to and fro (harder than it sounds). Sincere applause for Rob who not only loaned his best machine, but returned both Miguel and his monitor safely home.
Dot Matrix Revolution
is an amazing animation created by Craig D. Adams.
I first met Craig at Toronto's Artsy Games Incubator Open House
held April 23rd (roughly 2 weeks before TOJam #3). I also met uber talented artist Benjamin Rivers,
but that's another post.
When it was Craig's turn to present, he didn't say a word. Instead, he immediately sat down and played these 2 amazing animations. I think you'll agree that was all he needed to say. After the presentations, I asked Craig if he wanted to attend TOJam. His response, "What's TOJam!?" After lying to Craig, he hopped on board, teamed up with Michael Todd and John Morgan, and created The Scourge. A true survival horror game dripping with dread, and one of the best games ever created at TOJam.
When not creating crazy animations, or attending TOJam, Craig can be found making games at Toronto's awesome and mysterious Koei Canada branch. Read about his experiences honing 'Fatal Inertia EX' for the PS3.
Futureplay 2008 is held November 3-5 here in mighty Toronto -
early bird registration ends September 29.
They bring together academic researchers and game developers, with a focus on future game development, future game impacts and applications, and future game talent.
They will hopefully have their full schedule posted soon.
I attended Futureplay 2005 and had a grand old time.
Toronto's own Drinkbox Studios
was selected by Game Connection
to freely exhibit their game "About a Blob" at Game Connection Europe (this November).
"About a Blob is a game about an innocent little creature that grows and grows until it eats the whole world."
Have people forgotten Hollywood's lesson that all blobs are evil?
You freeze them and send them back into space.
Where are you when we need you, Steve McQueen.
Why attend TOJam? So you can create a game that gets distributed in France!
Check out the right hand side under Bonus (thanks Chirs B for the catch).
Debugger, a game about bouncing,
and Flowers of Error are appearing on the magazine's DVD!!!
Yours truly created Hold me closer, Giant Dancer for the TIGSource Demakes Competition.
The goal was was to create a modern game for an older system. Hence, demaking rather than remaking it.
I ported the amazing Shadow of the Colossus to the amazing TRS-80 Model III.
Many liberties were taken (I did not adhere to the 128 x 48 resolution), but I did capture the gameplay and bizarre aspect ratio of a Trash-80 game.
Free PC Download and Youtube Video can be found here.
The game was created in a relatively short amount of time, thanks in no small part to the practice I got at TOJam.
Does TOJam hero James Murff
have what it takes to compete with IndieGames and TIGSource?
Based on the start of his new ongoing Indie Showcase series,
and his previous postings, I'm thinking HELL YES.
Beware James, being added to my browser favourites is both a blessing, and a curse.
I'm man enough to admit that I am in love with James Murff.
Not only has he extensively reported on our games,
but on August 7th "BIG Download" announced their own, unsolicited awards!
First Place: TOJam Gold Winner a game about bouncing
Second Place: Cheese is WAR
Third Place: TTC Crowd Control
While TOJam's Silver (Debugger) and Puce (Seas of Cheese) People's choice awards differed, I don't think that's a problem. Rather, the "BIG Download" awards demonstrate how many quality games were produced at TOJam #3. "Cheese is WAR" and "TTC Crowd Control" are amazing games, and worthy of the extra attention.
But wait... there's more! They even handed out honourable mentions. This is above and beyond and we all owe James Murff our lives.
Future France publishes many computing magazines. They contacted the developers about distributing Debugger,
Flowers of Error and
a game about bouncing on their magazine CDs.
Yesterday, Nelson spotted a game about bouncing
on the CD/DVD for Maximum PC. Nothing screams success like physical media. Congratulations!
What's more independent than Midnight Madness - part of the Toronto Film Festival.
Forget the other 500 films and attend these.
The films are shown at Ryerson (at Midnight!), cost ~$15, and you can buy tickets online or at Ryerson the day of the movie.
While the first few days are crazy, midnight madness movies rarely sell out.
You're not going for the show, you're going for the crowd. They are NOT all horror films. They is sci-fi, anime, kung-fu, anything outside of the mainstream. Read the writeups and GO! If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of local celebrities Rob and I.
Did you know that Alan Rawkins,
the famed creator of Dolphin Olympics, attended TOJam?
It's been played by a 50 billion people in 80 billion countries.
Mighty Jay even saw fit to highlight it.
At TOJam, Alan created the very strange and very good Happy Goat Lucky.
While not quite as accessible as a Dolphin, the Goat has quite a bit of depth.
About 2 weeks ago, Alan linked to TOJam from his site. That link may be the only thing keeping us alive during the summer doldrums. What we really need is another TOJam to fill the gap between May 2008 and May 2009. Too bad an inbetween Jam would kill us all.
I've mentioned these Toronto game company blogs before, but they're worth mentioning again.
Casually Hardcore Games is run by programming genius and TOJam ambassador (and former organizer) Nelson Yu. He's developing an ambitious videogame, and blogs about his experience creating it. Lots of great info, some of it above your head.
Untold Entertainment remains opinionated, unapologetic, and hilarious. Currently, Ryan is blogging his attempts to monetize Two By Two ($1 and counting).
I want more!
Montreal's 3rd annual Gamma event is seeking submissions!
Create a 3D game, for 3D glasses, and submit by October 15.
If your game is selected, it will be projected during the 1-night only Gamma gala for all to play.
Above all else, they value unique, original ideas that expand the boundaries of what a game can be.
There will be drinks. There will be live music. There will be 3D people.
Gamma served as the inspiration for the TOJam Arcade,
and is quite amazing.
Check the Forum for updates.
the heart, soul and attitude of independent gaming, transformed my forum posting into front page news (thanks Derek!).
Toronto's biggest game advantage might be automatic indie cred.
All the other major Canadian cities have sold out to the man.
Funland Arcade closes today.
It's somewhat seedy, generally empty, and feels unsafe.
In other words, it's authentic - which is why I don't spend much time there (despite the fact it's just down the street).
The most popular machine is "Street Fighter 3", and the competition is fierce.
That machine has single handedly been keeping Funland open.
Given the fact this is Toronto's last arcade, I'm not sure where the players will go. Perhaps... the streets?
Seriously. Do you own an IPhone? Go to the App Store and buy Chain3 immediately. It's a GREAT game, and was created by none other than Shawn McGrath of XIQ and a game about bouncing fame (both TOJam People's Choice Gold winners).
Chain3 is not about matching 3 - it's about creating a chain reaction of matches. At first glance, Chain3 appears to be a Bejewelled clone. When you've created an ongoing combo of fifteen matches in a row, you'll realize what an insult that is. Can the IPhone audience handle Shawn's innovative, uncompromising gameplay vision? I hope so, because I can only stand so much Monkey Ball.
Over at BIG Download,
James Murff has been Playing & Highlighting our games! He goes way beyond the People's Choice winners,
and talks about Office Smash, The Office Party, The Signal,
and Cheese Is War. James has truly gone above and beyond the call of duty, and has fantastic taste.
Benjamin and Jean-Luc are attempting to take The Office Party to the next level.
Follow their ups, downs and all arounds by reading The Official Development Diary.
Good luck, gentlemen... and godspeed.
Speaking of which, I know for a fact that Team Entelechynt created a seriously improved version of Quiver.
Don't make me come down there...
Belated Happy Canada Day!
(now get back inside and play some games)
insert credit has posted a blurb about our event. They are hardcore gamers, and focus without apology on new & old games that feature classic gameplay. Once again we thank Brandon for mentioning us. He points out that he is irked by regional pride, but Jam seems somewhat ambiguous.
Their blurb inspired Wired to investigate. They were taken with the TTC sound effect, as well as the cheese and goat motifs. Goats Amoré gets extra love due to its literal implementation of the requirements.
The amazing Indie Games -The Weblog
mentioned TOJam. They posted this entry without your organizers even notifying them, which makes things extra special.
The comments indicate some kind of anonymous controversy. You know what the Internet needs?
More anonymous controversy.
just posted a great, knowledgable summary of the TOJam #3 games.
Judging by the posting, not only is Matthew Kumar well versed in the world of indie games,
but he's also willing to go the extra mile and install XNA.
Now that's journalism. Reading the Torontoist is part of my daily routine,
so unexpectedly seeing TOJam featured is a huge thrill.
Coincidence? Right below our Torontoist posting is A Year in the Life of a Wall. Toronto photographer Kevin Steele took photos of the same wall for a year, and it's interesting to watch the evolution (mostly graffiti based). What's the coincidence? I used to work with Kevin Steele. <insert awed silence here>
Handy Dandy Game Finder
In case you msised it...
All TOJam #3 Games Are Posted!
All 34 games have been posted. They're free! What are you waiting for? We promised we would have the game pages up earlier this year, and we delivered. Several people died making these pages, but it was worth it. New this year are YouTube videos of each game, a Handy Dandy Game Finder, and the ability to add comments to each of the game pages. Go Crazy Toronto
All TOJam #3 Games will be posted Soon
We're working like mad to bring you the games and we're pretty damn close. While the deadline is blown, jam motivation is at an all time high. Stay tuned.
All TOJam #3 Games will be posted this Friday
... and we've got a fancy page for each one.
Are you excited about the fresh & new Drinkbox Studios?
You should be! Aside from some insane gaming pedigrees, the company CEO has supported us since Day 1.
His mysterious Box Wars continues to generate traffic,
and Jammin' remains one of our more popular downloads -
despite severe install requirements.
Official TOJam Arcade photographer Derek Van Vliet
just posted these 32 High Quality Photos!
Dark, crowded, and everyone enjoying themselves - truly a photgrapher's nightmare.
I hesitate to ask Derek how many photos he took, or how sobre he stayed, in order to get these awesome shots.
Most games are being projected on queen size bedsheets.
A grand time was had by all at the first ever TOJam Arcade.
Over 100 people came out to see the strangest, most fascinating cheese themed games ever made.
I will link to photos as soon as they become available.
We're currently hard at work creating pages for the 36 (36!!!) games created at TOJam #3.
That's a LOT of games. Some amazing. Most good. All ... unforgettable!
MSNBC mentions TOJam
in an article about Great games created on insane deadlines!
Extremely exciting! "Seas of Cheese" and "Happy Goat Lucky" are highlighted in the article, and make ideal game ambassadors.
We are in good company alongside Petri,
The Experimental Gameplay Project and
"If you make 100 games, it's okay if some of them fail". How about 37?
They failed to mention our ongoing blood feud with the Nordic Game Jam, perhaps for the best.
Huge thanks to Winda Benedetti aka. Citzen Gamer for the coverage.
Toronto's Luminato festival
has an event of interest to TOJammers, especially our awesome sound floaters.
Nitin Sawhney: Video Game Workshop
"A unique workshop on a composer's approach to scoring video games".
It's $20, but it definitely looks interesting.
The fact that videogames are part of a super arty festival is amazing.
Kudos to the mysterious dork army for making this happen.
Even More Photos!
The graphics half of "The Office Party" has posted these 32 photos.
Q: Is there such a thing as too many photos?
While building "The Office Party", Jean-Luc David snapped 48 photos.
Feel the raffle anticipation (thanks sponsors). Watch team mate Benjamin concentrate.
Gaze at their upcoming brilliance.
The TOJam Arcade
Friday June 6, 7:00 - Midnight Open to the Public FREE!
Über TOJammer Andrew Traviss
blogs about his sun drenched experience at TOJam #3.
The good news? Based on my calculations and his blog, Andrew is averaging 2.5 hours of sleep per Jam (up from none).
TOJam official photographer Christen Traviss has posted not one
but two sets of lovely TOJam photos.
Most show the final Sunday afternoon crunch, followed by some final celebration.
She even captured our graphic floaters and
sound floaters hard at work.
Well done Christen. My keyboard types your name with pride.
For your convenience, the TOJam #3 Photos links have all been collected on one page. I also added some quick snapshots taken by Jim Munroe (thanks Jim!). Have we missed some shots?
Lost Items at the Jam
While cleaning up after the Jam it seems a few of you left some items behind. They are...
TOJam Breaches Meatspace!
Andrew Chin wrote this funky article for the National Post - and they printed it!!! Andrew visited our Jam and found some choice quotes. Thank goodness Jean-Luc and Nathan were included.
What I learned from the article:
1. Our event may appear strange to the outside world.
2. We've got to start charging more for energy drinks.
Thanks once again to Andrew for reporting on us.
Q: Did the Post cover the Nordic Game Jam?
The Independent Games Project
created a team for TOJam. Matthew (Mazo) blogs
about working evenings while cranking out their game. That's dedication.
Matthew mentions Barry Row, a graphics floater, in his post. I'm fairly sure that Barry arrived Friday at Noon and did not sleep the entire time. Despite this, he was still more awake than me.
University of Toronto student Daniel Steger, part of mega Team Mercury, blogs about
building their ambitious game during TOJam. The game is complete, but from the sounds of it, needs some tuning.
There's still time to make it fun for June 2! DO IT. Jean-Luc will be pleased to learn that Daniel learned C# and XNA during TOJam, and wants to keep using it.
TOJam Newbie and "One Man Show" Chad Elston blogs about thriving during adversity during TOJam #3. Chad also gives a shout-out to the 'Boys Noize' music group. Hopefully they like game jams. Chad started the event with an underpowered machine, and baked in our toasty oven (the small room). Despite that, he completed a game and is looking "forward to attending next year!" As a result, we're planning on taking away his desk and chair.
The fine men at Tenthline, part of TOJam Team IGP, briefly blog about their crazy weekend. They were attacked by a skylight that worked all too well. Next year skylight, revenge shall be ours.
TOJam founder Nelson Yu delivers this detailed post-mortem about his TOJam #3 experience.
Favorite line: "The game is actually fun!".
While you're there, be sure to read his other postings - there's a lot of great information.
Nelson is currently working on "The Supers", a game that will kick all of our asses.
TOJam veteran Ryan Creighton
created this wonderful blog entry about his experiences at TOJam #3.
It's a perfect, honest, hilarious summary of our event, and
a great summary of the thought process behind making a game in 3 days.
If Ryan were a chocolate bar, he'd be a Toblerone.
Dear TOJam #3 Game Makers,
If you could refrain from posting your game to a public site, we would really appreciate it. We're finalizing our 2008 game page creation plan, and we'll be contacting everyone in the next day or two. We are trying to ensure we have a proper "TOJam #3 Game Launch" with as many new games as possible. That way, we have a better chance of generating interest from organizations (newspapers, game sites, that guy you hated in high school).
Thanks for your understanding, and I promise we will keep a firmer schedule than last year. If you've already posted your game to a public site, leave it there. Taking back a steak from a hungry dog is dangerous, and we need your limbs intact for TOJam #4.
Dear Adoring Public,
Your patience will be rewarded with an organized collection of divine genius.
You've seen the team portraits, but are you prepared to view the event itself?
TOJam veteran Derek Van Vliet has taken some
fantastic photos of TOJam #3.
Derek captures the essence of TOJam.
The hastily covered up windows,
the huge main room,
the second "hot" room,
... it seems like only yesterday. THANKS VERY MUCH DEREK!!!
TOJam #3 has FINISHED!
WOW - what a crazy weekend!
~125 people spread across ~42 teams.
When the Sunday 8pm deadline hit, everyone grabbed some pizza (compliments of FUSE) and immediately started playing the games. You have to admire that singular focus.
Based on overheard conversations, it appears that the theme and the goat were embraced with vigour. Cheese class, cheese movement and cheese collision detection discussions were commonplace.
Over the next month, we will work on posting the amazing games (and amazingly strange games) on this site. If you attended the Jam, we will be in contact soon. Stay tuned for pinball ragdolls, moody zombies, elastic goats, and abstract shooters. The TOJam organizers thank everyone that attended the jam, the volunteers, and our sponsors.
Start preparing for June 6 - The TOJam Arcade - open to the public. More info soon...
It goes without saying that Brendan Lynch is the world's greatest photographer.
Based on how quick he posted the stunning results,
he is also the fastest. Brendan took these photos between 7pm and 10pm last night, which is why many of us look so haggard (and good looking?).
This is the second year Brendan has taken team portraits for us.
Thanks again Senior Lynch, we owes ya.
Unable to sleep? Either you're at TOJam, or you're wide awake wondering what we're up to.
In the main room, there are 10 people actively programming, and 4 people asleep.
It's getting cold since a window is wide open and we can't close it without waking someone.
It's quiet - too quiet.
In the secondary room, 1 person (Matt of the Indepedent Game Project) is actively programming, and 5 people are asleep. The warmth of the secondary room is suddenly a plus. 2 people are asleep in the kitchen and Em is bravely staffing the candystand. The washroom is viciously cold.
Night turns to day outside. I can hear the birds chirping. Or is that Shawn?
I'm happy to report we have wireless Internet access!
However, ONLY wireless. Yours truly is one of the old school wired.
Needless to say, that has made updating this home page... difficult -
but NOT IMPOSSIBLE!
The intensity on display here at Innovation Toronto is intense. Aside from me, no-one is messing around. I will post a full report soon.
TOJam #3 has STARTED!
Almost everyone took advantage of the early bird! A veritable army of coders, artists and musicians has been working since Noon. I arrived at 4:30pm and was truly shocked and awed.
The sun has proven a formidable enemy. The main room has a wall of lovely windows that drenched our troops with lovely lovely sunlight. Not only was this annoying, but it was HOT - it almost overheated a system. NOW magazines, posters and tons of tape rememdied the problem. The wall is now a gigantic, ugly collage.
TOJam Early Bird has started.
30 people have arrived early and are programming like there's no tomorrow.
An amazing start.
Important updates to What To Bring .
Specfically, bring Small Bills and Coins so you can partake of the TOJam Candystand and TOJam Coffee offerings.
Full information on the page.
122 Maniacs Registered!Not enough to topple the Nords, but more than enough to scare them. I recommend skipping work today and mentally preparing for the assault.
Looking for inspiration? Look no further .
Wondering what to bring? Wonder no more.
If you want to register at the ultra last minute, contact us and we'll see what we can do.
Flash opportunity availableThrough our vast news network we have been notified of a Flash development opportunity some of you may be interested in. Here are the details...
"Toronto content developer needs a Flash programmer for web-based game. Experience preferred. This is a paying gig requiring a fast turnaround. Please forward an example of/link to relevant work, along with your contact info, a.s.a.p. Those considered will be contacted within the next few days. Thank you for applying. We will ask all candidates to submit estimates at due time."
Contact: Peter Steen (peter at thehockey.net)
Registration Deadline ExtendedYou now have until May 7th midnight to register (next Wednesday) . We are now able to clarify table numbers at the last minute, which means we can handle a last minute rush. Also, we wanted any holdouts attending GameCamp Toronto this weekend to still have a chance to sign up. Now that's planning.
Ludum Dare is a 48 hour virtual game jam.
They are in the middle of their 11th competition, voting is currently underway, and their results are impressive.
I've played 2 of their games, and really liked them:
Tiny Hawk and ...
I'm having trouble finding the other game... I'll get back to you.
Regardless, we could learn a lot from these bozos.
We are not alone.
Since 2004, UofT students have held an annual Game Making Deathmatch.
It's a competition where participants are given three weeks to produce a game.
I was a judge at this year's event, and the results were impressive (perhaps too impressive).
The games can be found here.
I am still playing "Quanticom Systems" and "Progger", and have developed an unbeatable "Babel" strategy.
"Wheel of Space" may be the silliest adventure game you'll ever play, certainly the only one that features a potato.
Over 75 People Have Registered!
Let's Celebrate, it's all right!!!
GameCamp Toronto 2
Saturday, May 3, 2008 10:00am EST - 6:00pm EST
Come listen to some great speakers (including yours truly) talk about all things gaming. Among other things, hear Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns speak without having to travel to San Fancisco.
From their site:
"Attendees have the opportunity to network with the other enthusiasts, learn various development tricks, and have some fun. Presenters get an opportunity to practice their pitches, share their knowledge with others and recruit young talent."
The organizers are TOJam veterans, so you know they mean business.
is spending all week looking at indie games. Critical mass has been reached. The public is aware.
2008 will be remembered as the year the independent gaming scene was legitimized.
Montreal has Ubisoft, Alberta has Bioware, Vancouver has EA.
Toronto has Metanet,
Longbow Digital Arts,
and of course US. Don't forget TransGaming,
anyone supporting the MAC community is automatically indie.
STOP THE PRESSES! The Official City of Toronto Web site has a Game Arcade.
It features the following 3 games: "Toronto Puzzle", "Dress a Moose" and "Plant a Tree".
They appear to have been made by a kind hearted soul with the best of intentions.
Alas, that doesn't prevent them from being an affront to humanity that will cripple our tourism industry.
The giant, happy "Game Scroller™" foreshadows a dark, bleak future.
TOJam #3 is ON !May 9 - 11, 2008 (5 weeks from today)
See schedule for complete details.
Registrations are Live !I repeat, TOJam #3 is accepting registrations.
Click here to Register
We're looking for 150 game makers, from anywhere in the world! Coders, Artists, Musicians, Designers, Monkeys - anyone with game making skill. Tell your friends, family and people you don't like. We need you. We need them.
LET'S DO THIS THING!
Admit it, you love the new website.