This Saturday local video game developer Phil Knoll will wake up early, grab his computer, some snacks, and a notepad with ideas then head over to the Carver branch of the Austin Public Library to begin setting up to host his first public game jam of the new year.
By 10 a.m. other developers and those interested in learning about game development will be joining Knoll at the library to begin crafting an entirely new video game using Flixel, a library of Actionscript 3 files which allows users to create a Flash game.
So what exactly is a game jam?
"[Flixel Jam] is an open-invitation collaborative event involving game developers from all facets, brought together to create an impromptu game from scratch."
Participants should expect to devise, plan, then develop a new Flash game from scratch culminating in a polished, playable product ready for testing.
While game creation requires persistence and extreme attention to detail, Knoll is adamant the jam remain open to the public instead of solely experienced individuals. The official flier, available on Knoll's personal webpage, calls for participants ranging from artists and programmers to comedians and errand runners.
"The dynamic is what can't be found anywhere else," Knoll stated, "To meet with a group of total strangers and assemble a team and orchestration process for creation of a product which, professionally, is planned out over a long period of time with a large budget creates an unusual and exciting situation."
Flixel Jam showcases an evolving trend for independent game development to be taken public as participants learn to fulfill rolls within the production of a game that are not typically available earlier in careers. While programmers, artists, and musicians surely will find a place at game jams, individuals charged with collaborating and overseeing the creation of a project can gain valuable experience in regards to driving a project from conception to a finished product.
"The most helpful insight from an event like this is realizing all aspects of the game development cycle to be completed, from a removed, big-picture perspective," said Knoll.
As a microcosm of the video game production cycle, game jams offer the potential for inexperienced developers the opportunity to meet with and learn how to get involved in a topic they are passionate about while maintaining an atmosphere that promotes a relaxed attitude.
"Most of all this is fun," said Knoll.
Flixel Jam is this Saturday January 23rd, 2010 at the Carver branch of the Austin Public Library from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.