Global Game Jam – 24-26 January 2014

We’re pleased to be hosting an official site of the Global Game Jam 2014, which will take place the weekend of 24th – 26th of January.

The Global Game Jam is the world’s biggest jam event, and the weekend will see thousands of participants making games simultaneously across hundreds of locations all over the world.


If you are keen on taking part in this exciting event, you need to register your attendance on the Global Game Jam site. Note that advance registration is required, and we have limited space available so register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. We welcome students from Lincoln, other universities (with ID), and University of Lincoln alumni. Unfortunately we are unable to allow members of the public this year.

The jam is a 48 hour event, starting from Friday 24th January at 17:00 until Sunday 26th January at 17:00 when groups will present their work.

Rough timetable:

Friday 24th January
15:30 – 19:00 Badge collection open (bring ID, prior registration on GGJ site compulsory)
17:00 – 18:00 Welcome, keynote speakers and introduction. (venue TBC)
18:00 – 19:00 Socialising, group forming, and ideas generation
19:00 – ??:?? Groups go away and discuss, design and plan.

Note that there will be no access to the lab space on the Friday night.

Saturday 25th January
09:00 Lab space opens, work begins…
11:00 Deadline for group/game registration on GGJ site
18:00 – 19:00 Playtesting time
19:00 Work continues…
Lab open all night. There will be a designated quiet area for those that wish to take a nap.

Sunday 26th January
00:00 Work continues…
15:00 Deadline for final game submission to GGJ site
15:00 – 16:00 Open play time
16:00 – 17:30 Presentations of game. 3 minutes video + 2 minutes questions per group.

More specific organisational details, and any changes to the above, will be circulated via the Global Game Jam mailing list.

If you want to be a part of this incredible global game development event, please register as soon as possible – unfortunately we are limited by space and will have to limit the number of spaces. First come first serve.

GameMaker Challenge : One Button Games 2013

“Start creating now and don’t wait for a position with a big publisher”, advises Gabe Newell to upcoming developers who want to break into the game game industry.

Following this advice, 1st year Games Computing students at the Lincoln School of Computer Science are using existing tools to rapidly develop original design ideas into playable games. Their challenge: Make a game based on a given theme, within the available time scale. Volunteering students present and discuss their game in front of a crowd made out of their colleagues and university staff members.

The Challenge: Make a ‘One-Button’ game in GameMaker Studio. Use a single button as your player(s) input. 

We are very pleased to share with you the submissions for the 2013 One Button Game Challenge. Feel free to download and play the games!


Voyage – Gabrielle Watson

By pressing the space bar repeatedly when close to a planet, players can utilise gravities pull to turn their spaceship and reach the safe zone. Short and sweet, but also incredibly frustrating. See how many times you die before reaching the end.



City Runner – Paul Clayton

Run and jump across the cityscape, in this single button, sidescrolling survival game.
Leap over obstacles during the day, but at night, the police are on the prowl, so don’t get spotted!



Key to Survival – Kameron Howlett

You must defend the last ‘Human’ stronghold against the ever increasing horde of zombies, even though death in inevitable. Use the space bar to summon allies depending on the quantity of taps or call in air support. As the zombies evolve and get increasingly difficult the odds that you will spawn a super unit increases… you’re our last hope… no pressure.


 Game Screen Shot

Fight for Ctrl – Daniel Draper

Prepare to dodge shots and fight back (and terrible images).



Great work guys! 

SteamOS and A Free Digital Society

Richard Stallman, the founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, will be speaking at the University of Lincoln on the 29th November on the topic of “A Free Digital Society”.

“There are many threats to freedom in the digital society. They include massive surveillance, censorship, digital handcuffs, nonfree software that controls users, and the War on Sharing. Other threats come from use of web services. Finally, we have no positive right to do anything in the Internet; every activity is precarious, and can continue only as long as companies are willing to cooperate with it.”

2013 has been a year of great expansion and success for the Linux gaming community. One only needs to look at the torrent of posts entitled “<game> released for Linux” on the popular Linux gaming websites to get a sense of the quickening pace of adoption by game developers. To add further flame to the ever increasingly boiling pot, Valve announced in August 2012 that they were releasing their Steam client on Linux, largely prompted by the impending arrival of Windows 8. Much to Linux users’ delight, Left 4 Dead 2 actually ran faster using OpenGL than it did with DirectX, albeit by a small margin. This news was followed a year later with SteamOS, a Linux based operating system would be used with Valve’s entry into the games console market, the Steam Machine.

With the games industry at it’s current juncture, it is only natural for gamers and game developers to become more interested with Linux, or GNU/Linux as it should be properly called. Along with the operating system, there is also a culture which pervades software development on the platform, commonly known as Free Software and Open Source Software, often abbreviated to FOSS. The general premise of FOSS is that the source code should be accessible by the user, allowing them to modify and/or distribute as they see fit. However this does not mean money cannot be exchanged in return for a product, but more that users should have the freedom to do as they please with the product they are using.

Understandably there will be a culture clash as games developers move from their predominantly proprietary software led environment to an environment built around sharing and openness, and actively opposed to DRM. An example of a notable open source game which many will know is OpenTTD, having been under continuous development since 2004.

With the highlighted issues above, this talk and subsequent discussion will be highly relevant to current games students and will give an interesting perspective on the future of the internet, software and the way in which we interact with our digital world.

The talk will take place in the Jackson Lecture Theatre at 6pm, 29th November 2013. If you’d like to attend Richard’s talk, please register here.


The Scary October Jam #Scarejam

The votes are in and the jam has begun! The mechanics are:
Loss and Important Sounds.

It’s time to get your games development costume on and make some awesome games in a weekend! We’re putting on this jam to give everyone a chance to experiment with their chosen software: be you a first year looking to challenge yourself with GameMaker or a second or third year looking for a taster in Unity this is your chance. You can use whatever software you want as long as you’re prepared to make game in it! (You could even make a console text adventure if you want, that’d be pretty cool actually…)

Since it’s October, it makes sense to think about spooky games. Games like Amnesia, Silent Hill and Limbo that get our skin crawling and our senses startled. Games that just don’t sit well with you. Games that give you an adrenaline rush. Games that make you scream.

This jam will require you to vote for a core mechanic that must be somewhere in your game! You can vote for a potential mechanic here. It is our hope that these mechanics will make you think outside the box and become better games designers!

The jam isn’t just for games students. All students from the school of computer science are welcome! In fact if you happen to have someone from one of the more artistically gifted courses (animation, graphic design, etc.) who’d like to join in with the fun then feel free to invite them along!

If you’re interested in participating then come to Complab B on the Third Floor of the MHT Building at 5:00PM on Friday 18th October. This will be the official start of the jam where we shall reveal the mechanics that you must include in your game. The jam will then last 72 hours and we’ll be judging on Monday at 5:00PM in the same place!

Games Computing Degree Receives Commendation in Lincoln Student Union Awards

The BSc/MComp in Games Computing at the Lincoln School of Computer Science was commended in the Lincoln Student Union Awards 2013, under the “Best Course Award” category.

The recent upgrade of  facilities for this course has been greatly appreciated by students. The exemplary use of blackboard as a timely communication tool particularly stood out to the panel as a leading example of how virtual learning spaces can be used effectively.

Well done to everyone involved in delivering this programme!