Global Game Jam
By Jesse Ya Diul
Over the weekend of January 25th – 27th, Shenandoah University took part in the Global Game Jam. Headed by Professor Graham Spice along with help from the ESports and the computer science departments, the Global Game Jam gave anyone who was interested the chance to create a video game from scratch.
The Global Game Jam is an event that happens every year in which participants from all around the world are given 48 hours to develop a video game which best reflects a particular theme. The theme for this years Game Jam was: What Does Home Mean To You? Students from both the computer science department and the conservatory worked together to create a game which centered around that theme.
The game is entitled Homebox. Its initial concept was developed by freshmen Michaela Brayboy. Brayboy’s unique interpretation of the theme helped her come up with the idea for the game. “People always say that home is where whoever you love is [well] why not start with the soul and the soul finding home, and home and your life being what you make it”. The game takes place before you are ‘born’ when you are simply a soul. As you travel throughout the game’s landscape, there are choices you have to make which have an impact on your character and determine the outcome of the game. The game ends with the sounds of a hospital and your soul being ‘born’ into the world.
Creating the game was a complete in-house effort as students contributed and learned about the strenuous process of creating a video game. Wes Brown, an employee of Shenandoah University who works for the ESports department, provided assistance to the students by compiling a group of tutorials to help teach students about the process of creating a game. “24 of the 48 hours were spent watching YouTube tutorials” joked Professor Spice.
Professor Spice views the Global Game Jam as an opportunity for students involved to put something on their resumes that will give them a better chance of landing a job as they look to professional life after college. “If you can get a project which you actually have your name on, that you did stuff with, that gets you in the door so much faster… We are putting are graduates on a path towards a profession if that’s what they want to do” said Spice.