Shenandoah University is back in the game for its third year as a Global Game Jam host site.
The Global Game Jam is a 48-hour event at which participants create a game or games (video games or otherwise) based on a central theme announced for the year. At Shenandoah, it’s open to university students aged 18 or older.
Shenandoah’s Global Game Jam is being held from 4 p.m. Jan. 28 through Jan. 30, in the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCiL) lab in the Health & Life Sciences Building basement. And it’s the perfect kind of event for Shenandoah.
“Game development is multidisciplinary and provides an environment for team members of various backgrounds to collaborate on a mutual goal. This event is a globally recognized one that has a shared theme. Students will benefit from being part of an experience shared by so many around the world,” said Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Virtual Reality Design Mohammad F. Obeid, Ph.D. He also noted that Shenandoah has the only Global Game Jam site in Virginia.
The Global Game Jam at Shenandoah is backed by a variety of university entities, including Shenandoah Conservatory, esports, and the Division of Applied Technology, which encompasses the SCiL lab and the virtual reality design program.
The Global Game Jam meshes well with Shenandoah’s offerings, which include many courses and programs related to game development, such as storytelling, writing, computer science, recording technology and audio, virtual reality design, computer programming, 3D modeling, and computer graphics, added Dr. Obeid.
Participants also gain additional skills in teamwork and team coordination, product development and rapid prototyping, all while having fun, Obeid said.
Bachelor of Arts in Recording & Audio Arts Program Director and Assistant Professor of Music Production & Recording Technology (MPRT) Graham Spice, M.S., said the Global Game Jam is a one-stop shop for anyone with an interest in games to come together and gain both a skill set and a piece for their portfolio “in a single weekend.”
A portfolio and a passion for gaming go a long way toward starting careers in the video game industry, and Spice noted that well over half of good-paying, entry-level jobs in sound are in video games.
MPRT student Dan Trout ’22, who also has a work-study job in the SCiL lab, has participated in Shenandoah Global Game Jam events in the past and says the experience was invaluable in helping him learn how to work with a team and combine strengths with others.
Such strengths can include programming skills brought in by the virtual reality design program, management skills from esports, and audio skills from the conservatory, Spice said. All are elements integral to video game development.
It’s also been tremendously helpful in quickly building new abilities, including those outside of audio, said Trout, who noted that, at one event, he learned how to make models in Blender, which is a software tool.
But Global Game Jam isn’t just for people considering careers in the gaming industry. It’s great for anyone interested in having a fun, collaborative, and unique experience, Obeid said.
“Participants need not have any game development experience coming to this event. Additionally, teams may work on a variety of game types and genres – these include not only video games, but also card, tabletop, and board games.”
– Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Virtual Reality Design Mohammad F. Obeid, Ph.D.
Plenty of snacks (and pizza!) will be provided at Shenandoah’s Global Game Jam event. Participants can work through the entire 48 hours, take naps on-site, or leave and return, Spice said.
Learn more at Global Game Jam or sign up to participate by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.