City gamers ready for a 48-hour 'jam'

COMPUTER gamers from across the globe have descended on Glasgow for a 48-hour marathon.

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This weekend's Scottish Game Jam will see events take place in Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh and Linlithgow.

Games designers will stay at Glasgow Caledonian University's Saltire Centre as they attempt to design and develop new games over the weekend.

Tickets for the event were snapped up in two days, meaning organisers had to increase capacity by a further 35 places taking the total number of entrants to 185.

The Global Game Jam began in 2009 and this year's edition is the biggest, with 450 jams taking place across the world from Argentina to Zambia.

Last year's events saw 63 countries build more than 3000 games, with one of the Scottish Game Jam efforts, Lub vs Dub, gaining international recognition after being selected by Starbucks' chains in North America as one of their Apps of the Week in December.

The jam events are free and rely on sponsors and independent fundraising to enable their continuation.

Brian McDonald, programme leader and lecturer in Games Programming at Glasgow Caledonian, is one of the key figures behind the event.

He said: "Our focus is more on collaborative creation than competition.

"Tools to make games are more accessible than ever and this is part of the democratisation of the industry that is making it more mainstream."

"Although the games created at the jams are usually small-scale they are not any less ambitious and can be fully creative without any commercial constraints."

Often viewed as an industry dominated by males, Global Game Jam Director Romana Ramzan feels jams are evidence that this trend is gradually changing.

She said: "When we began in 2009 I was the only female, but since then we have increased participation each year. It's a slow process but one that is improving."

"One example of this change is Game Design student Chelsea Toner, 21, who will be taking part in her second Glasgow jam.

"This is a great opportunity to display your skillset to industry types."

With the Glasgow event going from strength to strength the organisers are now assessing their options for bigger venues for the future.

Brian, however, believes his hopes for an exchange programme with the Hawaii Jam, may sadly be a little premature...

l Follow on Twitter @ScottishGameJam for updates, including a live video stream.

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