GI Jam

Winter 2020 GI Game Jam Poster

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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Event Details




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, disciplinary backgrounds, and preparation are welcome.

Winter 2020 Jam

  • LEARN Event: Thursday, January 30th at the Games Institute (EC1-1004), 4pm - 8pm.
  • MAKE Event: Friday, January 31st at 4:30 PM through Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 at 9:00 PM at EV3 1408 - $15/ ticket

Shopify Link:
Eventbrite Link:

You will need to register both on Eventbrite and Shopify for the MAKE Event.

To be part of the Global Game Jam, you will also need to register here.


This term the LEARN event will happen before the Game Jam, on January 30th at The Games Institute (located in EC1-1004).
Bring your own laptop and any supplies you might need. Construction paper and markers provided in limited supply.

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

Note: You may attend the LEARN event for free, but you must still register on our Eventbrite so that we can accommodate you.

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

  • LEARN (January 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 (January 31st - February 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.

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 ($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, January 30th:

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm - Doors Open / Team Building
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm - Unity 101 Tutorial
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm - Pixel Art 101 Tutorial
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm - Git 101 Tutorial

Friday, January 31st:

4:30 pm - Doors open / Registration begins in EV3 1408. During this time, teams can form, chat, and brainstorm before things kick off.
5:30 pm - Opening remarks + theme reveal!
9:00 pm - Doors close.

Saturday, February 1st:

9:00 am - Doors open in EV3 1408.
9:30 am - Welcome back, reminder of available help.
12:00 pm - Lunch is served.
5:00 pm - Show & tell (optional: 2 minutes for each team to describe what they’re making).
9:00 pm - Doors close.

Sunday, February 2nd:

9:00 am - Doors open in EV3 1408.
12:00 pm - Lunch.
3:00 pm Upload Executable to Global Game Jam Website (optional)
5:00 pm - Showcase + Play + Voting/Jam awards.
6:00 pm - Closing. (edited) 

Frequently Asked Questions

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