Playing it healthy in Laurea Game Jam

InstagramCapture_08e0923f-6862-4cdc-bdf2-cb36ab4228d8Last weekend I had the opportunity to focus on something I had never done before – producing an actual game from scratch. Laurea Game Jam (25th – 27th September) brought together know-how from programming, health and concept design to make games for adopting healthier lifestyle. One weekend and little less than 30 participants in five teams resulted in hundreds of new ideas wrapped up as five new game-for-health concepts.

Laurea Game Jam is part of European Jam Today network, which aims to support the gamification of education. Games are fun, innovative and natural way to learn. Game Jams have been organized in several European countries throughout the year 2015 with the same aim – to develop a game with healthy insight. And to make it more interesting, the best game will be awarded in each Game Jam, and all the winners will meet in Barcelona Jam Today Fair, where they will represent their final products.

Laurea Game Jam turned out to be inspiring, fascinating and challenging. 48 hours of brainstorming, designing, coding and thinking healthy turned out also victorious for our Team Bonfire as our game, the Hungry Cells, caught the first price! Hooray!

Jamming with the team

Game Jam offered actually two great challenges to tackle – to develop a game, of what I knew very little about, and form a well functioning team in 48 hours without knowing your team members beforehand. In my opinion the team is the most crucial factor in whatever you want to achieve. During the Game Jam weekend, I learnt a lot about game making, multicultural teamwork and myself.

I landed in a team with four others. Aleksander and Roman were students in Aalto University. They had a vision of a game that would teach children better habits. Me, Aida and Sari from Laurea MBA programmes joined jamming with these guys.

After one night of brainstorming I felt a little desperate. Many ideas were thrown in the air. I thought we would never hit the finish line in time. I shouldn’t have been that hasty as I was terribly wrong! We did manage to narrow down our thoughts to such an idea – an adventure in a blood vessel – that our Roman the Coder could start to work on the day two. Well done Team Bonfire 🙂

Developing the Hungry Cells

Roman used Cocos2d, which is a tool for coding iOS games. The first achievement was when he managed to create the scene of the game, the blood vessel. Yay, it moves! Then a cute little Red Cell showed up. While Roman was coding, Aleksander designed screenshots and I provided ideas that were based on actual functions of the human body to educate the players. Sari and Aida gathered information about healthy lifestyle.

Later on we started to hear funny sounds from the corner of the room where Roman was coding. He added his own music and self recorded sound effects. Soon the game had a name – the Hungry Cells – and it started to look and sound more and more as an actual game. It was fascinating!

The day three the whole picture of our game was clearing up. Some finalizing and bug detection had to be done and I worked on our presentation for the judges. Finally, after a tough competition, The Hugry Cells was announced as the winner! The Red Cell gets to go on stage in Barcelona Jam Today Fair in November. How exiting is that!

See the game and the presentation from Jam Today website (not published yet, but will be shortly).

Thank you for the great teamwork Roman, Aleksander, Aida and Sari!

Post written by Meiju Mäkinen, Laurea MBA student

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