Monthly Minijam in Cape Town?

edited in Events
I'd like to start a monthly 8 hour jam in Cape Town along the lines of:

It would be on the same Saturday every month (like the meetups on the same Wednesday every month).

The idea is that everyone arrive at 11, and at 11:30 we reveal a theme/constraint and everyone brainstorms, jamming starts at 12 and everyone stops jamming 8 hours later.

We all eat pizza and at 8:30 everyone presents whatever they've built (to applause and cheering).

What I'd like to know is, who is interested in doing this regularly?

It'd be a jam open for all, and we'd have to organize a venue that can accommodate however many people are interested.


  • If enough people are interested, I'd like to aim for holding one in late February.

    And if you think you are going to attend, I'd encourage you mention in your post what kinds of game development skills you want to learn (so that we can design themes/constraints that are useful to the largest number of people).
  • I will attend all the jams, always \o/
    Thanked by 1Tuism
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    Squidcor said:
    I will attend all the jams, always \o/
    That's what I say too, except, you know, location :/ Wishing I were there!
  • I'm contacting Bandwidth Barn to see if they could host. If the numbers are low enough then the Free Lives offices could work, but I think this might require a larger venue.

    If anyone has other suggestions/contacts for venues let me know.
  • I'd be very interested
  • So super jealous of you cool-city dwellers.
  • As always I will provide 3rd dimension sound and music experiences
    Thanked by 1NickCuthbert
  • I will definitely be there!
  • Greg and I will attend as often as we are able to :)
  • I'd definitely want to jam out :D
  • I'm going to have a meeting early next week (or thereabouts) to discuss using the Bandwidth Barn space.

    I don't know what their demands are, but they sound keen.
  • I don't know how you run the mini jam but you think you could accomodate for remote jamming. I wouldn't mind that. Do you guys discuss afterwards etc? If so, could a google hangouts thing or skype work?
  • Sounds awesome. I'd like to get involved :)
  • @Sugboerie I think we could accommodate for remote jamming. Obviously we'd have to have a location nailed down before knowing whether that is possible. But running the hangout is a bit of extra work, and I'm hesitant to take that on myself. If someone else, or a collection of people, from the Cape Town community is willing to run the hangout (and distribute the responsibility that way) I think it'd be a rad idea.

  • @EvanGreenwood Yeah, the logistics of a Hangout or Skype also seems like a bit of a bottleneck this side too. The main thing would just be to know what theme or design challenge you guys will be exploring and replicating it this side. I'm sure we can have our own discussions, presentations etc. Then just post the games like you guys normally do on the forums.

    I'm just saying I'm interested. Just can't make it to the physical location. :)
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    @Sugboerie What I'd like to do in any case is have the minijam use these forums as its online presence.

    What I mean is, I think for every event an [Event] thread should be made, and everyone who participates should upload what they made to the thread (or a separate thread if they feel their experience warrants it).

    This aspect of it should happen anyway (in order to generate enthusiasm and feedback and keep a record), and, if outside jammers want to participate, having a thread with the details (and theme) will make it easier to join in remotely.
  • I'm looking to attend these in order to provide support to anyone using GameMaker Studio. I have 8 years experience using it casually, and 2 years using it professionally.

    If you have any questions during the day regarding GameMaker, from novice (installed it that morning) to advanced (knows how to write shaders) I will be there drinking coffee and assisting you. So if you've always wanted to get into GameMaker (and game design), these jams will be a great way for you to get started.
  • edited

    I've met with Bandwidth Barn now, and they say they're definitely interested, and they're willing to do it monthly. They want to support the local game development community. I think Bandwidth Barn would be an awesome partner in this, as they have been with the community meetups.

    They even said that they'd be willing to host a weekend long jam quarterly (should we wish that).

    We've pencilled in a date of Saturday February 27. This isn't set in stone, but unless something comes up, or some impasse is reached, that's what is likely to happen.

    Things that concern this community:

    1 ) Regarding the day/date:

    Bandwidth Barn is willing to let us use one of their meeting rooms (the same one used at the monthly meetups) free of charge. But, if we hold the event on a Saturday, the extra staff needed for that day (a receptionist and a security gaurd and an IT person) need to be paid for.

    Alternatively we could hold these jams during the week and we wouldn't incur that additional cost.

    I don't think organizing the money will be difficult, whether done through a entrance fee or through sponsorship. But what I'd like to know is: Is Saturday the day of the week that best suits jammers? Bearing in mind it'd be ideal to use this event to give non-game developers an opportunity to try out developing games.

    And assuming Saturdays are good days for this: Is Saturday the 27th a good date for the first jam? (possibly repeating on the last Saturday of every month)

    2 ) Regarding who is behind these jams:

    Bandwidth Barn wants this community (Make Games SA) to be behind these events in something like an official capacity. Bandwidth Barn would also like local game development organizations (like Sea Monster, Friends of Design etc) to support this endeavour.

    The reason for this is that The Bandwidth Barn feel that events with a lot of supporting parties attract more attention, more attendance, and can benefit more people than events controlled by a small group with exclusive interests. Bandwidth Barn wants to be supporting the interests of as many game developers as possible (and even people outside of game development).

    So I'm going to be asking for the endorsement of some of the local studios and institutions. This doesn't have to be a monetary endorsement, just a willingness to be associated with the event, and hopefully also to encourage their members to join in.

    And I'd like to get Make Games SA's endorsement for these events. I think for the moment that is something @Lexaquillia can officially grant, but of course the community has to generally want it.

    It seems to me that this community would generally be happy to endorse a Monthly Minijam at The Bandwidth Barn. But if this isn't the case please raise the concern.

    3 ) The Bandwidth Barn is going to encourage jams that take the form of serious games.

    This isn't going to be the case with the first jam. And it doesn't necessarily have to affect future jams. But The Bandwidth Barn is connected to a lot of industries (like Tourism and Education), and if games can be made that benefit these other industries that would please The Bandwidth Barn.

    I told them that my primary drive is for game developers to get together, share ideas, collaborate, and improve their game development skills (and maybe spark a couple full fledged game projects). These goals of course do not preclude working on serious games that benefit other industries in South Africa. And I think the minijam could support both serious games as well as games for entertainment.

    I thought that what @TheFuntastic did at Stugan with Error Prone is a good example of a serious game made during a minijam (albeit a 12 hour one).

    What I want to know is: Who here is interested in doing serious games at these minijams? (And otherwise, might this attract jammers from outside the community?)

    Serious game topics could be optional modifiers. Some minijams could be entirely dedicated to some serious topic. We could also push back and run these jams entirely for entertainment game development, or just at our own discretion.

    All in all, I'm really excited about this. I hope this is moving in a direction that the community here feel is positive. Let me know if you have any concerns of suggestions.

    I'm going to be putting together a more detailed proposal to them in the next couple days. Please leave your input here or it won't be incorporated.
  • Clockwork Acorn is very happy to endorse these jams. We're really excited about them and many thanks to all the work you're putting in @EvanGreenwood :D

    I think Saturday or Sunday is good. Unfortunately 27 Feb we're hosting an event, so that particular Saturday isn't good for me (and possibly a few other game devs unless they ditch our event).

    I like the idea of doing some serious games at these jams. Optional modifiers would be cool, but just having the main theme be of a serious nature sometimes also sounds totally cool. Excited to get the ball rolling on this!
    Thanked by 2dammit pieter
  • +1 to everything Francois said, renderheads would also be happy to endorse, too (for what its worth ,"serious" games is what we do at work most of the time).

    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • You have QCF's, uh, axe?
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • I dunno if Free Lives can really support this, hey. Game jams aren't really our thing. :P
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    Thanks for the vote of support for this @francoisvn, @shanemarks, @dislekcia and @Elyaradine !!

    Responding to @francoisvn 's concern about the date:

    How about Saturday March the 5th? What does this community think about that date?

    That would mean doing the jams on the first Saturday of every month (if we repeat from there). This means the jam is always after the Make Games SA meetup, which makes advertising the jams a bit easier.

    And, are Saturday's preferable to Sundays? (Sunday the 28th of Feb conflicts a little bit with the Animation SA animation festival. The first Sunday of every month does conflict with at least one event I can think of, but it's not exactly game related. It's Play Things at Alexander Bar, and open mic night for all kinds of creatives).
  • The first Saturday of the month sounds good to me!
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • I enjoy making serious games, but how about make the serious games aspect an optional challenge, like the diversifiers at GGJ, so that devs that prefer not to go that direction don't get alienated or forced into it?

    Just my 2 cents, looking forward to it :)
  • +1 to first Saturday of the month :)
  • I'm going to try and attend more events as well (more than the once per year I've been doing :P ). Can't join the 5th of March in particular though, so I'll aim to join the next one.
  • edited
    We've got a confirmed date for:

    The 5th of March 2016.

    I'm going to start a new thread for this, where people can RSVP. We are going to need numbers for the catering.

    Should we have a Facebook event? I'm pretty keen for the minijams to be closely tied to these forums and it feels like running a Facebook event means we split the feedback and conversations. But Facebook is obviously good for RSVP'ing and reminding people, and not everyone who might attend uses these forums.

    One other question about theme. Of course we want to have a theme/constraint each month that inspires people to join and make great games. I recommend that we announce the theme ahead of time because the time limit at the jam is so short that coming into the jam with an idea (or ideas) tends to produce better results. Knowing what the theme is ahead of schedule also guarantees that the people who participate are actually excited about the theme. But the downside is that having a theme announced ahead of time makes collaboration slightly less likely, and can discourage group brainstorming (where sometimes the best ideas happen).

    I think there's pros and cons about announcing the theme before the event. I don't think cheating is at all a concern here (which would normally be a concern in Ludum Dare et al). My experience in running a few of these informal 8 hour jams was that good themes announced beforehand drove participation, and seemed to guarantee better satisfaction, and and seemed to make brainstorming for an 8 hour jam less stressful.

    What do you persons think in terms of theme announcement timing?
  • Stoked to see this is on!

    My feeling is that I don't think a facebook event is necessary.

    On the question of theme: there's definitely merit to planning themes ahead of time, but I personally get a huge kick out of getting some surprise input and needing to think on your feet at the jam. A fun way to go about it is to broadly establish the theme beforehand, but then reveal a secret ingredient at the jam itself. For example, we agree that we'll be jamming around the idea of time travel, and then on the day reveal that the secret ingredient is squirrels.
  • Awesome!

    Facebook events: these probably aren't necessary for the moment, but I don't think they'll split the conversation that much. I'm pretty indifferent on this.

    Theme: I think having at least some idea of the theme for the week or so beforehand would be best. You can always have some diversifiers or "secret ingredients" that are revealed on the day to spark creativity, but I'd try keep those optional. Considering the timing, you could try to announce the theme at the preceding CT meetup. That gives people a chance to discuss it at the meetup and should help with having more fluid groups.
  • edited
    @BenJets and @francoisvn Thanks for the input!

    Does anyone have suggestions for theme(s) / constraint(s) ? Particularly anything that people want to learn how to do.

    I've got what I think is a good idea for this jam. But it'd be nice to have a couple themes/constraints in reserve, and it'd also be nice to have an idea what people want to jam.

    Should we have some kind of democratic process for choosing a theme (like a poll) or would it be okay for myself, or a couple of us, to make a decision that we think is best?
  • I think it's totally fine if you choose a theme yourself. We can always revisit that later if things are up and running more regularly.

    No suggestions for themes yet, but I'll keep thinking!
  • I also like the idea of knowing the theme ahead of time. It helps a lot to hit the ground running when it's a short jam like this one. In term of choosing the theme, I don't think it should be a poll. For me, the whole idea is to do something a little out of your comfort zone, to experiment. I believe leaving the theme up to one or two people, will result in a stronger theme.

    @francoisvn @BenJets The diversifiers / secret sauce is a great idea. I have always found them to be a fun addition in the past.
  • This is going to be the same weekend as the 'NAG jam' - dunno if that matters really.
  • It's a bit late now to change. But I think if folks want to work on their NAGJam, or even start their NAGJam at the Minijam, that'd be cool.
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