Monday, 1:14 a.m.
Like That, It Was Over
Time was called on the game-making leg of the fifth annual TOJam hours ago. Afterwards, we had pizza and Eskil Steenberg was kind enough to give a presentation. Jammers were showing off their games and have done some tremendous work, especially considering the time constraint. Several people cut out early on the after party to get on the road and get some well-deserved rest.
Stay tuned to the blog and the official Twitter feed in the next few weeks for information about the TOJam arcade, tentatively scheduled for late May, where the games will be showcased; along with some wrap-up information, thank-yous and shout-outs from this year's jam.
To Jim McGinley; I hope not telling me to stay away this year worked out as you hoped. The best of TOJam Twitter will be posted in the next few days as promised.
To Em; Thank you for being a great organizer and go-to person. I love your camera.
To Robert; Thanks for humouring me while I was lording over the fruit trays. I never did ask you: Are you pro- or anti-melon?
To Em's cousin, whose name I cannot dig up, but gave me directions to the closest Tim Horton's; I never got the chance to tell you: That was the best maple dip in recent memory.
To everyone who attended the fifth annual TOJam: It was a pleasure to sit alongside you for three days and be involved in the game-making process. I hope to see you again at the arcade in late May, and at the next jam. Please help yourselves to whatever moves you tonight, even if it is just a much-needed face plant in a familiar pillow.
To those who came by foot, by car, by TTC, by GO, by VIA rail, by plane and other methods not mentioned: Safe home.
Sunday, 11:12 p.m.
... And Game!
Time was called, we had out pizza and did some speeches, presentations and a raffle. The teams demoed some fabulous work, and several staggered out of here to get some sleep. I'll post more later, as right now we're packing up and moving the original equipment back in to the room.
Sunday, 7:40 p.m.
No Sudden Death Overtime
In another twenty minutes the coding deadline will pass for the jammers, and on the other side is pizza. I think this is actually kind of exciting, but then again I'm not trying to figure out why my sprite is indifferent to keyboard input or why my goat on a pole won't do whatever it is goats on a pole are supposed to do enough to appease the TOJam organisers.
Sunday, 2:29 p.m.
But I'm Looking at His Card Right Now
Eskil Steenberg is in town for FITC
and decided to drop by TOJam, which is fast becoming the place to be seen and code in the GTA. Jim McGinley approached me just after I arrived and and asked me to take him to lunch (Em's only instructions were "don't come back tanked"). Three hours ago I was vaguely aware of who Eskil Steenberg is and that his one-man MMO-like endeavour LOVE
is an independent and critical darling; I also have a new game to look into.
LOVE is a procedurally-generated MMO played from a first-person perspective where players collect wealth for the benefit of other allied players. The art style of the game is remarkable, and so is the fact that Eskil built all of the associated tools and networking for the title himself. Over quesadillas, he told me that all of the technology he created was built for use with all future projects and not just specifically for LOVE. Part of his inspiration comes from Moore's Law and the idea that if computing power does indeed double every eighteen months game development must become twice as efficient every eighteen months in order to be sustainable (affectionately known as "Eskil's Law").
Eventually the conversation moved into the game industry's modern-day emphasis on presentation over gameplay mechanics. Eskil is interested in developing his technology to the point that it will enable users to tell their own stories in the context of gameplay; and that if he can get that and several other projects done and working the way he wants, he might be able to hire some people in future. I said that he should keep me in mind (this is what is known in the trade as "artless networking") and he told me he was anti-designer, so I said I also do quality assurance.
Eskil agrees that I need to get some sleep.
Sunday, 2:40 p.m.
This Morning Actually was Chaos
Because of a power test the college was conducting, Internet access to TOJam's location was down for several hours this morning, and those of us using the wireless network have resorted to the "swipe a live cable" method of connection to stay up and running We also fixed the incredible disappearing blog page (sincerest apologies, as I swear it was working before I packed up to come down here) but all is well again due to the backup. Not directly affecting TOJam was the out-of-commission Yonge subway line (the city's main artery).
The mood here is surprisingly relaxed considering the deadline is in just over five hours. Jammers are upbeat, work is going well, someone already told me he was finished before qualifying it, and some really great concepts are being executed.
Clear space on your calendars now for the TOJam arcade. This is one you won't want to miss.