The site registration was straightforward, and part of the site approval process required a telephone conference with a regional coordinator. This was extremely helpful, and our conversation helped me avoid many potential problems with logistics. I was invited to a Slack instance for GGJ site organizers, although I found it to have a very poor signal-to-noise ratio. Fortunately, the organizing committee had set up an #announcements channel that only they could write to, and it was really sufficient for me to just follow that one.
My department was very supportive in this endeavor, allowing me to use up to three rooms in our third floor hallway area, although we only ended up needing two. They also provided printer access and a generous snacks budget. We celebrated the opening and the closing with pizza, and we had a variety of healthy and sustaining snacks available during the day. Thanks to my wife for doing the grocery store runs and bringing the edibles. It was interesting to me that the participants, who were mostly all undergraduate students, devoured the individually packaged foods such as granola bars but were much more hesitant to eat from containers, such as raisins, trail mix, and baby-cut carrots.
But I get ahead of myself! I advertised the event through my department's Facebook group, some posters hung around my building, a campus-wide announcement, and targeted emails to some colleagues across campus. We ended up with 27 people registered, of whom 18 showed up. In my conversation with the regional coordinator, she had mentioned putting in a small entrance fee in order to dissuade no-shows—and offset the cost of swag such as site-themed shirts—but I decided to keep it as open as possible. I am really happy with the turnout, given that it was not heavily marketed and not a well-known event outside of jamming circles.
|Hard at work|
|First playable demo|
|Checking out the Vive|
|The team from Byte|
|My team and our whiteboard|
This video gives a gameplay overview:
I enjoyed my GGJ17 experience, and I'm quite grateful that Alex and Darby came on short notice to share the weekend with me. A lot of jammers were already talking about coming back next year. It was not an unreasonable amount of work to host the site. Although the biggest commitment is the weekend itself, there was still a lot of communication and planning that went into it. I had hoped to find some like-minded folks on campus who would help shoulder the load, but it ended up being all my responsibility. I am leaning toward hosting again in 2018, which will be the tenth anniversary, but I'm not committed to it yet. I'll make that call next Fall when I can assess other responsibilities. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and thanks to all the GGJ organizers, sponsors and participants!