WOOSTER, Ohio – What does it take to create a video game – from scratch – in a weekend? If you answered “serious coding skills” you’re only seeing part of the picture. “Many people think the video game development industry is dominated by computer programmers,” said Avi Vajpeyi, a senior computer science and physics double major, “but this isn’t true.” Artists, writers, and graphic designers are all part of the team.
To help make that point, Vajpeyi and junior computer science major Joe MacInnes decided to organize Wooster’s first game jam, in conjunction with Ludum Dare, one of the world’s largest and longest running game jam events.
“A game jam offers a unique opportunity for students from many disciplines to come together, from committed gamers to illustrators, writers, coders, and storytellers,” MacInnes said, “each contributing to the success of the project.”
More than four dozen students with a variety of skill sets and experience levels responded to the duo’s call for participants. Organized into teams, they set to work at 8 p.m. on a Friday. Not all lasted through the weekend, but six teams went the distance, and by 9 p.m. Sunday had completed games. The finishers included the team of Vajpeyi, MacInness, Wooster senior Thomas Matlak, and Alex Iudice ’17, who created a turn-based driving game they dubbed Time Turner. At the end of the weekend they submitted it for play and rating by the Ludum Dare community. Those results will be available, appropriately enough, the day after Wooster’s commencement.
For Vajpeyi, the next stop after Wooster is a graduate program in physics, ideally at the University of Monash in Australia, where he would like to do gravitational wave research.
Surveyed after the event, all the Wooster students who participated in the event said they would do it again, and MacInnes plans to oblige by organizing Wooster Game Jam II next year.