University of Tartu Pro Game Jam 2022

From the 28th to 30th January in 2022, the University of Tartu Institute of Computer Science together with the CGVR lab organized their own game jam called University of Tartu Pro Game Jam 2022. A game jam is usually a 2-3 day event, where you find some interesting people and develop a small game together. Most often you do not have a plan or a team beforehand and there will be a theme for the game announced at the beginning of the event. This means that you will be in a completely new situation, get to brainstorm a game idea, need to assess your skills in implementing it, learn new things and meet new people. In the end, you have a small game finished, which you did not think you would ever make before the jam. It is usually a very educational, inspiring, and empowering experience.

During this game jam, we had a league system – we had two leagues: pros and juniors. Both pros and juniors had their own specific theme for the jam. Juniors used the Global Game Jam 2022 theme to make their game, which also let them participate in the Global Game Jam 2022. At the same time, pros used a theme that was created by the event organizers from the CGVR lab.

On the first day of the game jam, we started with the opening ceremony where the host of the evening Jürmo Mehine opened the jam by presenting the basics everyone needed to know in order to get started with this event. After that, a game designer guru Karl Erik Saks made a presentation on how to design a great game jam game. His presentation included vital details of what one needs to consider when participating in a game jam. Soon after that, the host of the evening started forming the teams.

The Games Looked and Felt Professional

In our game jam, we had 39 participants who formed 11 teams: 5 pros and 6 juniors. Team sizes varied from one up to six people. On the last day of our game jam, all of the teams presented their games and the best ones were awarded. Every team was able to finish their game. The pros and juniors both managed to create good-looking games that were playable and fun. Every game had well-thought-out mechanics and a unique feeling to them, despite having a similar topic to work with.

The Winners Were Rewarded

Pro League

Pro league teams definitely deserved their pro title and had made top-notch games with no help from the game jam instructor team.

I PLACE – Dices N’ Dragons

by Ralf Brait Lehepuu, Raiko Valo, Lorette Martin, Rauno Valo, Karl Erik Saks, Iris Kreinin

Most of the members of team Random Number Generators have participated in our game jams before and this time they managed to give a fine polish to their 2D game featuring dice and dragons. It is a really smooth dice rolling experience where the player has to use strategy to win the game. One needs to plan their moves well because the randomness of the game can lead to unfortunate results. In addition to being fun, the game has simple yet satisfying visuals that make playing that much more enjoyable.

II PLACE – The Coiner-Falham Experiment

by Markus Aksli, Mark Robin Kalder, Mattias Aksli

Team Publish and Polish created an awesome first-person view 3D game that contains a great story with eye-catching visual effects. This is a game that is best enjoyed when kept in mystery – it would be best if a player would experience the whole story themselves.

III PLACE – All You Can Eat

by Gris Reinesberg, Isabella Lee, Markus Margus, Jens-Stefan Mikson

Team Press SPACE to Jump brought food fights to game jam games in 3D. Now it is possible to experience picking up food and knocking out people with it. A simple fun idea brought to life with challenging and intriguing gameplay.

Junior League

Junior league teams managed to make their games also with a professional touch. They had slightly more time to create them and more opportunities to get help from the jam instructor team which they did not use that much.

I PLACE – The Lost Monk

by Jan Markus Salum, Oskar Unn, Mihkel Maspanov

Team Paaristõuked created a 2D top-down shooter with a twist of duality. The player is a monk who needs to fight off dark spirits.  The spirits come in two different colors and require a specific attack in order to destroy them. This means that the player needs to be careful and have a clear understanding of their next move, missteps will cause the spirits to grow even stronger.

II PLACE – Worse Together

by Valter Sarapuu, Valter Paats ja Liisa-Lotta Tõkke

Team AGC provided our jammers to experience climbing in a 3D environment with two characters who rely on each other. One must be careful though because incorrect decisions with one character can cause the other character to fall, resulting in a game over for both of them.

III PLACE – Oh no…

by Yo Soy Kini, Kevin Polakes, Siim Soonsein, Mari-Anna Lepasson

Team U.G.O (Unidentified Game Object) managed to bring horror to our game jam with their 3D game. The pet turtle is the star of this game which the player needs to chase and find before it starts chasing them back. The creepy atmosphere with scary graphics and sounds truly offers a horror experience that everyone needs to try out.