Lately I've been unwinding from a very long, difficult, and extremely fun time at the Nashville chapter of the Global Game Jam. The folks over at Black Gate Games led the charge, so here's a very large shout out to them for organizing it. I'm sure their efforts will help establish them as a central part of Nashville game development industry, which is well deserved.
So first, confession time. When I was initially invited, I only planned to stop by at first. I am unemployed, so I figured it was a way to make some new contacts and perhaps impress some existing ones. Frankly, I would have not considered going otherwise; I'm one of those really flaky introverts that sort of talks his way out of going anywhere with anyone a lot of the time. But after I arrived, met people, and watched the awesome keynote, I felt inspired. Here were close to a hundred people, comprised of children with big dreams, adventurous mothers, students, and experienced game developers. The creativity borne of diversity was palpable.
As it turns out, I ended up participating all the way through, spending virtually every waking minute of my weekend working on a project and socializing with people like me. And you know what? I was never exhausted enough to really be glad it was over. But it wasn't just the event itself. It was the realization that there is such thing as a game industry in my area, and I really do have a place in it.
Over the past few months, due to the perceived job market here in Nashville, I have been learning databases and web development so as to find work. Relocation is a difficult thing for me at this time, after all. But while I enjoy many different types of programming, I will always have a special passion for the special kind of creativity that goes into game development. A coworker once told me that it doesn't matter what you are creating, programming is always the same. But that isn't true. As you watch your output, the amount of pride you take in the fruits of your labor depend very much on your interest in it. At my last job, I was twice as productive when I came home and worked on my own things than I ever was at the office. I hate to admit that, but that's how it is.
So in my first ever experience working with an awesome team on an actual game, I found myself buzzing with excitement. I want to do this for a living, and with this many developers right here in the Nashville area, I know it is possible. Even if some of us have to just get together and start on our own, the talent to get a ball rolling is right here. This changes everything.
So that's what this year's jam, my first ever, meant to me. I think we made a rather interesting little game, if simple - but hey, it was done in two days. Take a look if you're interested: