GI Jam

The University of Waterloo Game Jam, also commonly called the GI Jam, is a thrice-annual, multi-day event hosted by The Games Institute (GI). Each of these events are open to the public and are designed to appeal to a wide variety of playful people.

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Spring 2019 poster for Game Jam

The upcoming Spring 2019 Jam

  • LEARN Event: May 30th,
    @the Games Institute (EC1-1004), 5pm - 9pm, FREE EVENT. 
  • MAKE Event: May 31st at 4:30 PM through June 2nd at 6:00 PM at QNC1502 - $15/ ticket - please read below for more information


This term the LEARN event will
happen before the Game Jam, on May 30th at The Games Institute (located in EC1-1004). 

Bring: Your own laptop, any supplies you might need  -- construction paper and markers provided in limited supply.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online via Eventbrite guest registration. Payment is through Shopify, which is linked on the Evenbrite page. Payment and registration are necessary for the event. The cost of your ticket gives you access to the event, lunch on both days, and use of our equipment throughout the weekend.

Whether you have an idea for a game design in the works, or if game design has never crossed your mind, there is room for everyone! All levels of expertise and preparation are welcome.

This Game Jam weekend follows our "Learn, Make" theme:

  • LEARN (May 30th): Learn the starter skills and the team spirit needed to be a strong competitor for the GI Game Jams and to work in the game industry. Taught by the Jam veterans and indie game devs of UW Game Dev Club. - free event.
  • MAKE (May 31st - June 2nd): You can build your own games from scratch along with helpful advice and guidance from our GI mentors. You can create your own game mechanic, gameful art, game characters and narrative, or try your hand at coding for your very own game prototype.

Still Unsure if You Want to Partake?

The Main Event

Pricing Information



Still Unsure if You Want to Partake?

The Games Institute hosts Proto-Play Nights every Thursday of the  academic year from 6pm until 9pm. In collaboration with the UW Game Development Club, Proto-Play nights give the opportunity to meet and collaborate with local game developers in a casual environment.

Attending the Game Development Club's weekly events will allow Waterloo Game Jam participants an opportunity to meet up with other GI Jam-ers and discuss possible projects and teams. You will also get a hands on experience to different aspects of the Game Making process in the weeks leading up to the jam.

These events also serve as an excellent opportunity to learn more  
about programs and software you may want to use during the event, so that when the Main Event rolls around you will be prepared to start creating your games right away! That said, the Jam will be fully staffed to help you at each step as well as make the connections to form a solid group!

The Main Event

The Waterloo Game Jam event is modelled after traditional “game jam” events like the Global Game Jam and Ludum Dare but with two important twists: a design focus and no deadlines! 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 simply programming, from game mechanics to narrative and artwork.

Although every event follows a slightly varied schedule, you can expect to hear talks and tutorials from local game developers and experts. The Main Event is hosted on the UW campus and provides space for both collaborative and creative work, as well as a designated Quiet Room for those who wish to code until they can code no more! 

Pricing Information

There is a small fee associated with attending the Game Jam (typically $15.00 per person). In order to confirm attendance, guests must pay ONLINE via the University of Waterloo Shopify channels before the day of the event. Details can be found on the Eventbrite registration page each term.

You do not need to bring your printed Eventbrite ticket, but you should bring a piece of ID. Not only do we use it to double-check registrations, we trade you for your ID if/when you borrow our development equipment. Please make sure to have proof-of-payment available on your phone or printed out, especially if paying within a few hours of the event.

Tentative Schedule for LEARN event (Games Institute, EC1) 

Thursday, May 30th:

  • 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm - Unity 101 Tutorial at the Games Insistute (EC1-1301)

Friday, May 31st:

  • 5:00 pm - Doors open / Registration begins. During this time, teams can form, chat, and brainstorm before things kick off.
  • 5:30 pm - Opening remarks + theme reveal!
  • 6:00 pm - Quiet space is available in QNC 2502.
  • 9:30 pm - Doors close.

Saturday, June 1st:

  • 9:00 am - Doors open. 
  • 9:30 am - Welcome back, reminder of available help. 
  • 12:00 pm - Lunch.
  • 2:30 pm - Check-in, mentors circulate.
  • 5:00 pm - Show & tell (optional: 2 minutes for each team to describe what they’re making).
  • 9:30 pm - Doors close.

Sunday, June 2nd:

  • 9:00 am - Doors open.
  • 12:00 pm - Lunch.
  • 5:00 pm - Showcase + Play + Voting/Jam awards.
  • 6:00 pm - Closing.

Frequently Asked Questions

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