The Games Development Society is a place where the knowledgeable are welcome to share their skills, the beginners are supported with their development and everyone is encouraged to make the best games possible.
During the second term, we held tutorials for beginners to get up to speed, an event with educational talks about different aspects of game development, as well as a huge Game Jam competition where members applied everything they learnt to make the best game possible.
Joining a society later in the year can be extremely challenging as everyone has made so much progress in their skills throughout the year. This is why we launched one-to-one online tutorial sessions. Those sessions were designed to kickstart anyone’s games development journey by introducing them to the Godot game engine. This helped them develop, build and publish a complete game in only 1 hour and 30 minutes, starting from scratch and without any previous experience required. This was excellent preparation for the Game Jam competition that we were hosting later in the term.
Before our Game Jam, we held a small event called ‘Talk! Talk! Talk!’. It included three games development related talks by experts both from industry and our society. During the talk titled ‘Innovating in Your Pants' given by Andrew Fray, a professional with 17 years of industry experience, we learnt: how to share and shape new ideas in a team that rarely meets face-to-face; how to get useful insights from playtests; how to decide when a prototype is done and ready for production; and how to decide if a prototype is a dead end. Following that, Dominic North, a student and passionate developer of social deduction games, gave the talk ‘Hive of Lies and the Design of Social Deduction’. He told us about his experience and his thought process when it comes to designing original social deduction games, the mechanics that make up these games and what makes them so fun to play. Lastly, we had ‘The Hermes Protocol’ a talk by me, Ivan Tsoninski, where I introduced all the modern algorithms of online multiplayer game networking. I described their strengths and weaknesses in terms of complexity, genericity, scalability and performance, then summarized what optimisation techniques can be applied to each one. Finally, I presented a brand-new original algorithm of the same title which can automatically turn your favourite local multiplayer player game into an online multiplayer game.
Of course as always, we wouldn't be the Games Development Society if we didn't hold a Game Jam. These are short competitions where participants must make a game based around some constraint. We continued our ‘Art Kit Game Jams’ where instead of a common theme, participants had to use art assets from a provided kit in the most creative way possible. We were again very lucky to have one of our members, Alexandru Popa, create a custom pixel art sprite sheet specifically for the jam. Shootouts on rooftops, time traveling agents, ducks that drop bombs while they fly, the submitted games were extremely original and again pushed the limits of creativity - you can play them through our Spring Game Jam 2021 webpage on Itch.io, an indie games website.
As of writing this, we are preparing to hold our annual charity Game Jam. We are eagerly looking forward to seeing what games our members come up with this time – you can check out the results via our Itch.io 1Up Jam 2021 webpage.
Lastly, I will takes this opportunity to highlight a great achievement by our members - a first place in one of the biggest external cross-university Game Jam competitions in the United Kingdom. You can view the competition and the submissions at the National Student Esports news article for the event.
Do you want to make games? Are you a beginner or an experienced developer? Do you want to hear from the greatest experts in the industry? Do you want to participate in competitions, win prizes and make connections?
To find out more about the Games Development Society visit their society website.
There are 41 student groups associated with the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. To learn more about their projects and activities head to the EPS Societies homepage.