The UK’s biggest ever game jam for professionals is to take place in Manchester this May, bringing together more than 200 developers working within the industry across three days to create brand new games from the ground up.
The first major game jam of its kind to take place in Britain, ‘Jamchester’ is the brainchild of local games industry network Gameopolis and HackManchester, which has successfully hosted scores of 24 hour coding competitions over the last five years. Jamchester will also be supported by headline sponsors Microsoft, mobile publishing giant Chillingo and regional business accelerator Tech North.
Other sponsors lined up include PlayStation, Unreal, recruitment agency Amiqus, and local game development college SSR. Jamchester is designed to fly the flag for games development within the North West of England and the UK as a whole, highlighting its strength, diversity and, most importantly, its future.
“We’ve created Jamchester to have fun and to showcase Greater Manchester on the national stage as a great place to make games,” said Gameopolis chair Simon Smith of the event. “In the past year alone our local game jams have produced Titan Souls, Sublevel Zero, Unbox, and Super Rude Bear Resurrection with more on the way. We welcome everyone to come along and be inspired by the creative spirit of our fantastic city.”
Jamchester also has the support of UK trade association Ukie, with CEO Dr. Jo Twist claiming the body is “excited to support Jamchester as a new celebration of creative skills development in the UK.”
“Game jams are one of the best ways for devs to learn new skills, stretch their creative thinking, network within the industry, and ultimately have fun. We’d love to see as many Ukie members as possible taking part in this event, and I look forward to seeing some of the work that is produced!”
Teams of between one and four people will compete on a level playing field, with Jamchester’s defining theme set to be revealed at the start of the competition. Student teams will also be taking part, giving them the perfect opportunity to network with other studios and industry professionals in attendance.
Jamchester has also teamed up with Special Effect, with all ticket proceeds going to the charity to help gamers with disabilities. “We are honoured to have been chosen as the charity partner for Jamchester,” offered Nick Streeter of Special Effect. “It will raise vital funds and awareness of our work helping gamers with disabilities, both in the north west and across the UK. As demand grows for what we do, support from events like Jamchester really are a game changer for the charity.”
With a judges line-up that includes Gary Napper of PlayStation VR, Creative Assembly’s Catherine Wooley, Microsoft’s Technical Evangelist Lee Stott, local indie developer Alex Rose and PlayStation’s Claire Blackshaw, Jamchester will take place in The Studio, an events space right in the centre of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Prize categories will include (TBC) – Best Game, Best Audio, Best Graphics, Best Gameplay, Best Tech Achievement, Innovation Award, Best Company Game, Best Student Game.
Tickets are onsale at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jamchester-2016-tickets-21038079462?aff=es2