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Friday, March 1, 2024

Alfaisal University Hosts the Global Game Jam in February 2023

After two years of participating in the Global Game Jam, Alfaisal University opened its doors to welcome this year’s cohort of aspiring game developers. The Global Game Jam is part of a global network, with developers from all over the world participating. The Global Game Jam brings together like-minded people for an intense three days of developing a game from scratch. The Global Game Jam organization (https://globalgamejam.org) provides the game jam dates and the theme, which are common across the 800+ jam sites around the globe.

Throughout the weekend, over 170 participants on 34 teams from across regions in the Kingdom jammed at Alfaisal University’s campus to create games with the help of faculty mentors and student playtesters. The event was organized in coordination with the Game Developers Association (GDA) and mentors from Alfaisal University and the GDA provided support on technical topics throughout the weekend to help participants in exploring the game engines and game design concepts. These served as inspiration and direction for the game jammers. The mentors were available throughout the weekend to answer questions and share input on game ideas. 

On Saturday, Feb 4th, the game jam culminated with presentations and live demos in which the teams pitched their ideas and posted the prototypes of their games on the Global Game Jam’s platform. There was a wide variety of games and topics within the theme of roots, from serious and casual games, to fantasy games that evoke the retro feel of classic arcade games inspired by the theme of “roots”. All teams presented their games demos with 16 playable editions, emphasizing “roots” related aspects and details related to the game development and design. The game jam contributed towards developing an innovative and attractive way of exploring game design and development, infused with regional themes, aesthetics, and creative narratives that reflect our local context with a global outlook. The GGJ at Alfaisal University brought the global and local gaming community together through the hybrid model of hosting the event on campus and connecting remotely via the GGJ event’s platforms.

The event was organized by the Game Innovation Lab at Alfaisal University, which brings together scholars, creators, and technologists to teach, conduct research, and pursue innovative game design. The lab is led by the Director, Hoda Alsayed and is part of Alfaisal University’s AI Research Center led by Dr. Areej Al-Wabil. The GGJ event was supported by the College of Engineering, led by the Dean, Dr. Mohammed Anan, and the Office of Research and Innovation at Alfaisal University, led by Dr. Yousef Alyousef.

Combining the inventiveness of Alfaisal’s engineering with the research and design expertise of the Game Innovation Lab’s staff, the Game Innovation Lab’s community teaches, conducts research, and develops new approaches for applied game design and construction. More information about Alfaisal University’s Game Innovation Lab can be viewed via https://coe.alfaisal.edu/en/game-innovation-lab

Overall, it was an inspiring event, showcasing the immersive power of games, while also serving as a meaningful start to better leveraging this power to help students get more engaged in their learning and build the community of local game development enthusiasts in the Kingdom.


Jam Outcomes

The event took place on campus from Feb 2 to 4, in which participants were able to explore the process of game development staring with brainstorming stage, narrative storyline design, art making, mechanics building and ending with implementation and testing stages. On last day, 34 teams were able to reach the final stage of the challenge introducing their game logic that matches the revealed theme. All teams presented their games demos with 16 playable editions, emphasized “roots” related aspects and details related to the game development and design.



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