Have you ever wanted to create your own video game? Global Game Jam is a unique opportunity to learn just that. 

Programmers, artists, writers and anyone interested in game design will come together during this 48-hour event, where attendees are divided into teams, each creating a video game from start to finish. College of Charleston (CofC) hosts the Game Jam this weekend in the computer science department’s innovation center on the second floor of the Harbor Walk building at 360 Concord St. 

This event encourages hackers and coders to stretch their skills while introducing beginners to easy-to-use game-making tools. You don’t need any previous coding or programming experience to participate. Creators can also contribute their visual art, music or writing skills to the making of a game. 

Sarah Schoemann, CofC ​assistant professor in the computer science department, organized the event and emphasized that it is open to anyone who is interested. Schoemann said she is a “former artist turned game designer” and wants people to give it a try.

“I think people have a misconception that this is only something that people in tech can do. But to make a game, we need artists; we need writers. So Game Jam is really something that’s open to anyone and everyone who is interested,” Schoemann said. 

“It’s free and open to the public, and anyone of any age can come (as long as minors are accompanied by an adult). We are hoping to reach artists, as well as people in the tech industry in Charleston, either who have previous experience with games, or are just interested in games and want to try out game making. We also hope to foster relationships between College of Charleston students and people in the larger art and tech communities in Charleston.”

The event kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. and concludes Sunday by 5 p.m. One  team will get the bragging rights of “winning” Game Jam, though Schoemann emphasized the event is more about collaboration than competition. 

Computer science faculty will  introduce newcomers to accessible game-making tools and offer hands-on guidance. Local game and tech industry veterans will attend the final game presentations on Sunday afternoon to offer expert feedback and pick the winning game. 

“By the end of the event, there will be a completed game,” Schoemann said. “You’d be surprised what a team of people can get done in a weekend. Games are a really collaborative project, sort of like filmmaking. So some people will contribute to the art, some people contribute to the writing of the game, some people do the programming.

“The best thing you should do if you wanna make games is just start making them, and start building portfolio items,” Schoemann said. “So for anyone interested in game design, this is a great way to get a portfolio item out of essentially two days of really concentrated work.”

To learn more about the event, visit globalgamejam.org

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