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TIGJam 3: Day 1

Personal commentary on an indie game jam.

Randy OConnor, Blogger

October 29, 2010

3 Min Read

So I'm here at the beginning of day two of TIGJam3 in Mountain View, CA, after a full night's sleep. A quiet, friendly atmosphere, morning light streaming through the giant sky-light into this decently sized warehouse/garage. I have some unhealthy breakfast snacks beside me, purchased from a nearby 7-11 because I was too lazy to find any place better.

I arrived yesterday afternoon to TIGJam, having no idea what to expect. I am an indie developer, and local to Silicon Valley, so I had to sign up, but I still know almost no one in the industry, and I am terrible at frequenting forums.

I spend most of my time in coffeeshops and my apartment, trying to feel artsy and indie, constantly checking gmail. Indie life is strange and solitary after coming out of a very social education. (I think social interaction is the most important element of our education, but that's a talk for some other time.)

So I came here knowing no one. You know of people; you have played some of their games, but suddenly you do not feel knowledgeable enough about any of their work to approach. And now I enter a room of indie game developers, part-time, full-time, some already with legacies! And as what always happens at such nervous introductions, you arrive, thinking the room will change now that you have arrived.

But no one cares. This is not the Global Game Jam with teams and set goals. This is TIGJam, and it feels more than anything like a LAN party, with the focus not to play games, but make them.

Most people are focused, but there is chatter back and forth, there are some folks with great laughs. There are even some women! (The indie world seems somewhat male-centric right now, so it was good to see not a 100/0 split.) I talked and chatted with some people and I intend to do even more of that, because this is my opportunity to be social with like-minded people! But I am also here to make a game.

The first day of working on my game was spent learning what I should not be doing. It was a valuable workday, because as a friend once said, the quickest way to success is to make your failures quickly.

I have plenty of failure ahead (there are three more days of TIGJam to fail), but at the end of a day of failure, I feel pretty comfortable. I am an artist by profession, but I decided to take on actually making a game in Unity, because it seems the less reliant we are on others, the better. 

I now understand the basics of what I am doing, I understand my goal, and hopefully I can achieve it. There's nothing interesting to say about the actual scripting (I have some scripting experience), but it is getting done.

I feel good this morning. It is eleven now and more people are starting to appear and get to work. I had been expecting an amazing, immediately mind-blowing experience.  But this TIGJam appears more appropriate to what indie game developers are about.  Hunkered down over our computers, looking over occasionally to help those around us, but just trying to create something interesting.

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