Global Game Jam connects Regina video game builders

The next Civilization or Cuphead game could be borne out of a gaming jam that takes place this weekend across the world, and at home for Regina developers.

Regina jam starter says more people with digital art, music skills can be part of craft

People with various skills put their heads together and collaborated on creating different mini video games, with a theme of waves, at last year's Global Game Jam in Regina. (Submitted by Johannes Moersch)

The next Civilization or Cuphead game could be borne out of a gaming jam that takes place this weekend across the world, and at home for Regina developers.

Johannes Moersch says when he heard about Global Game Jam, he thought it would be a great way to bring other video game enthusiasts together in Regina, one of hundreds of locations worldwide that will be taking part in the event.

"I'm hoping to foster more of a community around game development in the city, which is why I started the whole thing a couple of years ago," he explains.

Multiple skills needed

While people may think they have to be a programmer to get involved in video games, Moersch says that's not the case.  

You need a lot of people with different skill sets to come together to make something really solid.- Johannes Moersch, Global Game Jam Regina organizer

"Making games is a lot of work, and it involves a lot of different skill sets," he said, noting programmers collaborate with artists who can work with digital or hand-drawn art, musicians, and writers for dialogue, among others.

"You need a lot of people with different skill sets to come together to make something really solid."

People don't need any programming experience to join a team at the jam and be part of the collaboration, he says.

"It's not a high pressure thing, we're just there to meet people, have fun, and learn."

Making gaming waves

Each year, a theme is announced, with people brainstorming different ideas to execute over 48 hours. From Friday evening to Sunday, people can burn the midnight oil and work to execute their vision at Regina's Global Jam, Moersch says.

While people coming to Global Game Jam often have programming experience, others without that same experience can sign up and come to the event, to learn more about what goes into making a game. (Submitted by Johannes Moersch)

At last year's jam, the theme was waves. People took the concept everywhere, from using waves in a building to kick Godzilla out, to a queen waving simulator that used an eye-tracker to make sure the player didn't wave at bad guys.

"People take the themes in a lot of different directions, it's just something to give you the spark and idea," said Moersch.

While he says he'd like to stay in Regina, Moersch sees a lack of professional opportunities for game development in the city. He hopes events like this help build a community of people with skill sets, who share an interest and passion for creating games. 

"And maybe someday, we can start to develop an actual professional community in the city."