Fall 2022 Games Institute Game Jam

Thursday, September 29, 2022 6:00 pm - Sunday, October 2, 2022 4:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

From September 29th-October 2nd, 2022, build a game with your team, join a thriving community & have lots of fun!

If you have questions not answered by the FAQ, please reach out to current Game Jam captain(s) Alexander (aekglover@uwaterloo.ca) for more details.

Start: 6pm, Thursday, September 28th

End: 4pm, Sunday, October 2nd 

To take part in the Game Jam, sign up on Eventbrite!

The Waterloo Game Jam event is an event for game makers of all ages and abilities, and has an equal focus on art, design, and playability!

Throughout the weekend, you can work to take your game idea from dream to playable.

Mentors from the Games Institute will be giving talks and tutorials about how to brainstorm, prototype, and develop your own games.

Starting with paper prototypes and game concepts, the GI mentors will help you discover the world of games outside of ‌programming, from game mechanics, to narrative, and artwork.

A goose holding a video game controler

Tentative Schedule

Thursday, September 29th:

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm - Team building event: join in for a team-building activity to find teammates for the game jam, if you entered without a team or are looking for additional teammates.

Friday, September 30th:

6:00 pm to 6:30 pm - Opening ceremonies, game jam theme reveal!

6:30  pm to 7:00 pm - Team building round 2

8:00 pm to 9:00 pm - Intro to Unity and Version Control

Saturday, October 1st:

12:30 pm to 1:30pm - Lunch and Keynote Speakers: Former UW students and current games industry professionals talk about their experiences entering and working in the industry, and answer your questions.

Sunday, October 2nd:

2:30 - Submissions deadline

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm - Games Showcase, Closing remarks

Celebrate finishing the Game Jam!


On Eventbrite select the “In-Person” ticket option.

The event will consist of a combination of supervised and unsupervised jamming time in addition to in-person speakers and final game presentations and playing!

As we are hosted by the University of Waterloo we will be following University health and safety policies. If you have questions or would like updates closer to the date please contact the event organizers.


On Eventbrite select the “Online” ticket option.

We aim to provide a fun and entertaining experience for those jammers who wish to attend virtually through our discord community and live-streamed events/presentations. Additional information will be sent out with discord information closer to the date of the event.


Should I choose online or in-person?

We encourage you to choose the format that you feel comfortable attending, but highly recommend the in-person attendance option as we believe the atmosphere and experience provide a great contrast to the past few years of jamming at UWaterloo. We are working to make both options a positive experience and fun for all.

Where does the game jam happen and is there parking available for the event?

The Jam will be happening online and at the University of Waterloo. Parking is available on campus paid on Thursday & Friday, and free on the weekends. Additional information on parking and room locations will be sent out to participants closer to the date.

Do I need to be an expert game developer?

Absolutely not! Waterloo Game Jam is all about having fun and learning about games! If you’ve ever played a game of Monopoly, Charades, or Super Mario, you can make your own game!

Our advice: Keep it simple and focus on creating something fun! Start with what you know/like and remix from there!

There is so much more that goes into games other than coding and programing. You can create a simple game mechanic, some artwork, the game's narrative and characters, rather than an entire game itself.

What about adding a ‘shareholder’ mechanic to Monopoly? Or adding sheep-stealing alien invaders to Settlers of Catan?  How about making a bizarro version of Pong where players control the ball instead of the paddles? Or a tablet version of Twister for your fingers? Or a multiplayer version of QWOP? Or a platform game where you race against a rainbow?

The possibilities are endless, so no matter what your gaming experience, all you need is an open mind!

Will everyone be working on their own game?

We encourage participants to form teams for the event. You’re free to go lone wolf, but it’s been our experience that working in teams helps round out a group’s collective experience. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to put a crew together beforehand either, we’ll be helping people team up at the start of the jam too.

In fact, some of our most successful games have come from teams that had never met prior to their first Game Jam!

Are there any recommended tools I should consider to help with making games?

Using the right tools can save a lot of time when tinkering and prototyping new game ideas. Below are some sample tools we recommend at the Games Institute and what’s even better, most of them are FREE!

For analog board games and party games, nothing beats good old pencil and paper! We also try to have some cardboard, clay, and tape on hand.

For video games, the recommended tools are a little more new-school and diverse:

Engines and Editors

Unity and GameMaker are excellent game engines and editors in one.

Tiled map editor is great for grid based (including isomatric) map creation.


GIMP and Inkscape are popular image editing programs (for raster and vector graphics respectively.)

Piskel is a nifty online sprite editor.


Bfxr is a great, simple way for non-audiophiles to generate a wide variety of retro-style sound effects for use in their games. Twiddle the various knobs and experiment with combinations of basic waveforms to create as many free to use sound effects as you need.

Content Resources

Various sprite archives are also a good place to find a variety of pixel art and sprite sheets to use if you lack artistic skill. Be mindful however: many such sites feature art assets from commercial games and so are subject to appropriate copyright laws. As an example, you are typically free to use sprites of Mario or Sonic for educational purposes like the GI Jam, but you cannot use those assets in commercial games! You wouldn’t want someone ripping off and profiting from your creative work, would you?

FreeSound.org and similar websites are also a great to find more true-to-life pre-recorded sound effects. Like commercial sprites though, many of the sound effects found on these sites carry specific license restrictions. Sometimes they’re for non-commercial use only and sometimes its as simple as making sure to credit the original authors in your own games.

How many team members are allowed in one group?

There is no set limit on how large a team can be, but the recommended size is between 3-5 people.