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Waterloo Game Jam

Game Jam Winter 2018 PosterWaterloo 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.

The upcoming Jam: Winter Term 2018

  • LEARN Event: January 20th at 9:00 AM through to January 21st at 6:15 PM - FREE ; QNC room 2502
  • MAKE Event: January 26th at 4:30 PM through January 28th at 7:00 PM - $15/ ticket - please read below for more information; QNC room 1502
  • PLAY Event: March 12th - March 16th


This term the LEARN event will happen one week before the Game Jam, on January 20th and 21st at UW. 

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 Shopify. Please note that both the online payment form AND this Eventbrite guest registration are necessary to attend this 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.

Every Game Jam weekend follows our "Learn, Make, Play" theme:

  • LEARN (Jan. 20-21): You can hear talks from GI and community experts about the tools and techniques involved in the design and creation of games.
  • MAKE (Jan. 26-28): 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.
  • PLAY (Mar. 12-16): You can explore new kinds of games, try out some of the brand new games that were made at the DIY event itself, and give/receive feedback with local game experts.

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 modeled 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 (QNC 2502):

Saturday, January 20th (Talks):

  • 9:00 am - 9:30 am - Introductions and Opening Announcement
    Presenter: Nathan Chan

  • 9:45 am - 10:45 am - Introduction to game design
    Presenter: Lennart

  • 11:00 am - 12:30 pm - Player motivation

    Presenter: Nathan Chan

  • 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch Break

  • 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm - Luck and skill
    Presenter: Nathan Chan

  • 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Art aesthetics
    Presenter: Ryan Tan

  • 4:45 pm - 6:15 pm - Narrative
    Presenter: Nicholas Hobin

Sunday, January 21st (Tutorials):

  • 9:00 am - 9:30 am -  Introductions and Opening Announcements
    Presenter: Nathan Chan

  • 9:45 am - 11:15 am - Programming 101 Tutorial
    Presenter: Rina Wehbe

  • 11:15 am - 12:15 pm - Lunch Break

  • 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm - Git 101 Tutorial
    Presenter: Andrew Beach

  • 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm - Sprite Making 101 Tutorial
    Presenter: Brian Cullen

  • 1:15 pm - 2:45 pm - Blender 101 Tutorial

    Presenter: Cassidy Hilts

  • 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Game Music 101 Tutorial
    Presenter: Brian Cullen 

  • 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm - Unity 101 Tutorial
    Presenter: Sebastian Gaweda

  • 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm - Unreal Engine 4
    Presenter: Andrew Beach

Tentative Schedule for MAKE event (all in QNC 1502 unless otherwise noted):

Friday, January 26th:

  • 4:30 pm - Doors open / Registration begins. During this time, teams can form, chat, and brainstorm before things kick off.

  • 5:00 pm - Opening remarks + theme reveal!

  • 5:30 pm - Quiet space is available in QNC 2502.
  • 9:30 pm - Doors close.

Saturday, January 27th:

  • 9:00 am - Doors open. 

  • 9:30 am - Welcome back, reminder of available help. 

  • 12:00 pm - Lunch begins.

  • 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, January 28th:

  • 9:00 am - Doors open.

  • 5:00 pm - Showcase/Jam awards.

  • 6:00 pm - Closing.

  • ~7pm - Join us for an after party at the Watchtower restaurant (280 Lester St, Unit #105) after the showcase! 

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