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First Game Jam in Georgia - part 1

I've got that idea about 2 month ago. 1st establish IGDA Georgia Chapter and then make first game jam happen in Georgia. This is story how it all started.

In previous blog entries I've told how we established our Studio, Storm Bringer Studios and participated in GameFounders for 3 months program. This story starts right after we've returned to Georgia. And first thing we did, went to the pub see our friends and colleagues, that we missed.

In between third or fourth bottles of beer, I’ve got A question stuck in my head, "Why don't we have IGDA Chapter? Let’s establish one asap!" Very second day I posted this idea on several local forums and FB pages to start a cause. Kadri Ugand from GameFounders, introduced me to IGDA Executive Kate Edwards and she provided all information what we need to establish Chapter.

So this is the list of 10 friends, who supported IGDA Georgia Chapter idea and become members of IGDA in few next days.

In 10 days from idea we got first result, IGDA Georgian Chapter!

Then I recall our experience with game jam event in Estonia. It was hosted by Tallinn University and we attended it as visitors, we wanted to listen few seminars etc. We liked one project so much, that we run back to Hotel and grab our gear to join Italian team. It was amazing experience and we acquired new friends. Italian team got second place and we were super happy!

I started looking for allies and sponsors. First, CG Georgia and IGDA Georgia declared cross promotions and support. CG Georgia is a hub for talented artists and community in Georgia. Then IT Incubator and Youth Innovations' Center joined our Cause, and finally we got government attention and Ministry of Economy becomes our No1 supporter and sposor.

I along with my friends, were actively pushing Game Jam idea and we got green lighted. First Game Jam preparations have begun. We had almost no time to plan and promote event and there was too much big and small task to worry about. Find good place for event, design promo banners, badges, get media attention etc. Major concern that nobody was speaking loud: "How many teams we should expect?". I'm very optimistic personality and my assumption was "For first event like that, we get lucky to get 10 team, maybe...".

Meanwhile we found more sponsors, get bit more media attention and Game Jam date was getting closer and closer as our worries grow up.

I will never forget morning when I arrived in event hall filled with excitement and worries, looking at empty chairs and wondering, will they remain empty, will there be enough teams, what will happen in next hour or so.

And then people start arriving, registering and grabbing their badges...

Conference hall get soon crowded and while we started realizing what happened, friend of mine told us "We run out of badges!"

And then Ministry representative Irakli Kashibadze opened event, followed by me congratulating everyone: "We are making history of Georgian game dev here and now. Many years later, when some journalist will interview one of you, asking how it all started, you will recall this day, etc"

I looked at my friends and everybody was smiling but best part was ahead. And then...

Teams started registering.

We counted 10, then 10 more and it did not stopped there! 28 teams stepped up and talked about their game ideas! After first shock we run to add tables and cables for extra teams. We were expecting  maybe 10, so we have 15 tables prepared. Now we had to serve almost 30 :)

Then teams were settled down and speakers started seminars. There were so many young developers and all kinds of visitors. This video pretty much sums up what happened on day 1:

I will stop this blog entry here, and continue on part 2 (sleepless night and award ceremony).

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