University of Tartu Pro Game Jam 2024


The University of Tartu Pro Game Jam 2024, held from January 26th to 28th, was a collaborative event catering to both gaming enthusiasts and professional developers. The event encompassed two parallel tracks: the Global Game Jam 2024 for junior participants and an advanced game development challenge for seasoned professionals.

Splitting of Juniors and Pros

The overarching theme of the event was to foster creativity and learning among junior participants and competition for more professional game developers. Junior teams, comprising 22 individuals organized into 5 teams, were tasked with creating games that embodied the theme “Make me laugh.” In contrast, 48 professional developers, forming 11 teams, tackled the theme “Future is Past” while incorporating game assets related to Tartu, in alignment with the celebration of Tartu as the European Culture City in 2024.

The Schedule: From Idea to Game

The event schedule was structured to facilitate intensive game development within a 48-hour timeframe, commencing with the opening ceremony on Friday, January 26th, which included team registration and the revelation of themes. Karl-Erik Saks provided guidance during the opening ceremony, offering insights on game jam participation. Subsequently, participants engaged in game development activities throughout Saturday, culminating in the submission deadline on Sunday and presentation of their games with award ceremony, January 28th.

The Games Were Good

The conclusion of the event featured a voting period followed by game presentations and an award ceremony, highlighting the achievements of participants across both tracks. Notably, the event emphasized inclusivity, welcoming professionals, hobbyists, and students alike, with tutorials available for junior participants to facilitate their involvement.

Overall, the University of Tartu Pro Game Jam 2024 provided a platform for individuals with varied levels of expertise to collaborate, innovate, and showcase their talents in game development. By fostering a supportive and dynamic environment, the event aimed to inspire creativity and foster connections within the gaming community.

The Winners of the Junior League

I PLACE – Make me Laugh More

by Jekaterina Maasing, Sissely Pärn, Angela Jelisejev, Ivo Voika, Helen Nurm, Tristan Glehen

Embark on a comedic journey in Make me Laugh More a lively 2D rhythm game where players assume the role of a Joke-ster with the noble aim of eliciting laughter from Her Majesty, The Queen. With its engaging gameplay and humorous premise, this game promises entertainment for players seeking delightful challenges and amusement.

II PLACE – In a Sauna with Finnish Man Jyrki from Ailionjärvi

by Ander Saarniit, Kaaren Tenson, Raul Adamson, Gregor Artur Mäe

As you venture through the picturesque outskirts of Ailionjärvi, Finland, you chance upon a verdant landscape. A local Finnish gentleman extends a gracious invitation to his sauna, to which you graciously acquiesce. Engage in a challenging sauna endurance duel with Jyrki, the renowned sauna aficionado of the town. Prepare for a formidable adversary and summon all your strength and resilience to emerge victorious in this heated competition!

III PLACE – Make Them Laugh

by Alfred White, Rasmus Jürgenson

Commence your comedic journey and assume the role of a stand-up comedian tasked with delivering punchlines to complete jokes. Successfully finishing each joke earns you points, while failure results in point deductions. Achieve points to emerge victorious, basking in the blessing of comedic success. However, be wary, as plummeting negative points spells defeat. Strive to avoid the consequences of failure, as they are best left unexplored.

The Winners of the Pro League

I PLACE – Tiksu Toksu

by Ekke-Markus Muttika, Liisa Leit, Raigo Kõvask, Ott Saar

In Tiksu Toksu, time is in a state of flux, blurring the boundaries between past, present, and future. Cowboy Daniel embarks on a mission to corral numerous Tiksus that have escaped amidst this temporal chaos. These Tiksus play a crucial role in completing the Game Jam Asset Pack.

Navigate through the tumultuous landscape where past, present, and future intertwine seamlessly. At any given moment, your surroundings may shift between different temporal states. Present Tiksus evade capture, while future Tiksus pose a greater threat by actively pursuing you. Past Tiksus remain in their egg form, making them easier to corral but slower to move.

Your objective is to herd as many Tiksus as possible to Tartu University before time runs out. Exercise caution and strategic maneuvering to navigate through the dynamic temporal landscape and secure the valuable assets needed for the Game Jam.

II PLACE – GameJam Simulator

by Lauri Sarap, Ats Johannes Kaup, Kaur Vadi, Laur Saks, Kristjan-Peeter Ivask, Kertu Ivask

Embark on an exhilarating adventure in GameJam Simulator as you endeavor to outwit the renowned game developer, Daniel Nael. Armed with a time-traveling device, you journey back to crucial junctures of the game jam, strategically altering your game to secure triumph. Navigate through pivotal moments, making calculated decisions to refine your creation and emerge victorious in the competitive world of game development.

III PLACE – Bridging Depths

by Kevin Polakes, Kaspar Saarekivi, Kristin Pruuli, Egert Kanep

As you set out to admire the stone bridge, an unexpected occurrence sends you plummeting through its structure into a mysterious time loop. Upon regaining consciousness, you find yourself trapped within a labyrinth teeming with enigmatic puzzles and an otherworldly portal. To escape this perplexing realm and return to your own world, you must navigate the maze’s intricate pathways and gather magical gems strewn throughout. Only by piecing together the scattered gems and restoring power to the portal can you hope to break free from the confines of the time loop and reclaim your reality.

The University of Tartu Pro Game Jam 2024 transcended mere weekend festivities, leaving an indelible mark on both its participants and the surrounding community. It served as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of collaboration, the inherent joy derived from creation, and the exhilarating challenge of stretching our creative boundaries.

As the event drew to a close, it left in its wake a legacy of inspiration, enlightenment, and empowerment. It stood as a testament to the boundless ingenuity and collaborative spirit that define the game development community at the University of Tartu.

Anticipation mounts for the forthcoming University of Tartu Game Jam, as we eagerly await the innovative projects and burgeoning talent that will emerge. With each iteration, the community is poised to further evolve and flourish within the dynamic realm of game development.