About a thousand new games are going to be made this weekend. I'm going to be making one of them.
That's the plan, anyway. What I'm talking about is Global Game Jam 2011, of course. People all over the globe are gathering together to form teams, come up with ideas and make games all in 48 hours. Last year was intense and inspiring. I'm hoping this year will be even better.
I'm also going to use the event as a learning opportunity for Flash game development. I've been planning to study Flash for some time now, and last year's experience shows that it really should be the platform of choice for the event. Sure, there are lots of other platforms that are just as well suited for rapid prototyping, but Flash, and other web-based platforms like Unity have one major advantage: they also enable rapid, no-hassle publishing. In an event where getting the game packaged also has a deadline and participants will be too tired to go through a long-winded install process afterwards, that can make a world of difference. The journey might be more important than the destination, but the end product also counts for something.
As for the exact tools I'm planning to use, FlashDevelop combined with Adobe's free Flex SDK and some game development library should work nicely. I'm yet a newbie with the software, but FlashDevelop seems like a nice IDE if I ever saw one, and pixel-art oriented engines FlashPunk and Flixel don't seem too shabby either. If the game idea ends up more complex, PushButtonEngine with integrated 2D physics and other niceties is also available. All these great tools are free, and integrating assets made with Adobe's professional software is also possible. HTML5 might be the future of the web, but there's something to be said for a mature ecosystem of tools too.
So, no high-flying speculations about the future this time, even though the Internet-based event itself is pretty futuristic. Video streams and twitter feeds connect the locations spread all over the world, bringing people together across vast distances. Global Game Jam also shows that games are becoming a more important aspect of our culture all the time, and that we're only starting to explore all the possibilities of the medium. I'm eager to find out what jammers in Tampere and elsewhere are going to come up with. To the jammers reading this, see you tomorrow!