UC Irvine

Jam Site Owner: 
Log in to contact Tess Tanenbaum
Entrance Fee: 
Open for entire 48 hours
Jam Site Description: 

This year we’re excited to be partnering with UCI Illuminations, iThrive GamesThe IGDA of Orange County, and UCI’s Video Game Development Club for the Global Game Jam.

Information for Jammers

Registration: All Jammers should register on the GGJ website.  If you register, and then decide that you don’t want to participate this weekend for any reason, please remove yourself from the site.

Code of Conduct: The UCI GGJ site is an inclusive environment that welcomes a diverse group of participants!  Please read and abide by the official GGJ Code of Conduct.  Please respect the facilities and clean up after yourselves as needed. We reserve the right remove jammers who violate either the letter or the spirit of this policy.

Parking: While the GGJ at UCI is free for any and all participants, unfortunately parking is not.  A map of parking kiosks and their hours can be found here. The closest parking garage is the Anteater Parking Structure, and the closest lot is Lot 12.  Both require that you purchase a permit at a kiosk before you can park.  Permits can be purchased for up to 24 hours at a time (the countdown starts when you purchase the permit) with a maximum cost of $14/24 hour period. We strongly encourage you to carpool with friends, or to take transit if possible.

Arrival and Keynote: We will be checking people in at 4:30pm, outside of 6011 in Donald Bren Hall. The keynote will begin at 5pm, and will run for about an hour, followed by time to get into teams and meet people.  Do not worry if you are going to arrive late – we won’t turn anyone away tonight! Along with the Keynote we will also reveal the official Theme for this year’s jam.  Please do not post or transmit the theme to anyone outside of our site until the final keynote in Hawaii is finished.

Overnight Hours: This year we are experimenting with keeping the site open for the full 48 hours of the jam. While we encourage everyone to go home and sleep for at least 6 hours, we will not be kicking anyone out.  We will have some spaces designated as quite/dark areas for people who want to catch a quick nap without going home, so if you think you’re going to crash here be sure to bring a sleeping bag, and/or some pillows.

Meals and Snacks: As with previous years, we will be providing a vast array of snacks and drinks.  We will not be providing full meals, but there are many places to eat nearby. Most notably, University Center is a short walk or drive from the jam site, and The Bluffs is a short drive away.

Internet Access: We will be providing internet access via the UCI campus WiFi network. Information about registering your device is here. Please note that we cannot guarantee wired/ethernet connections in the rooms, so plan accordingly if you are bringing a desktop computer.

NEW FOR 2018: All Ages Jam Site!

For those of you with kids, who know kids, who like kids, who know and like people with kids…the Global Game Jam is for them too!  The young jammers site this year is at the Old Rec Center in UCI’s residential housing community Verano.
Where: Old Rec Center @ Verano Place 3300 South Verano – Parking Lot #24Drive straight in and the spots directly ahead are for the center (no parking permit needed for pick up/drop off) and your vehicle will be pointing directly at the Old Rec Center building. Young Jammers still have to register at the official at the main GGJ page. Participants interested in jamming at the All-Ages site should contact  Marie Tsaasan ([email protected]) directly after registering for the jam.

Special iThrive Prize!

iThrive Games exists to create meaningful experiences for teens that enhance the knowledge, mindsets, and skills they need to thrive through development and across the continuum of mental disorder to wellness. Across our initiatives, we co-design with teens and emphasize teen voice and accessible products and experiences. We consult with scholars in developmental science, neuroscience, learning science, and social psychology (among other fields) and consult with game developers and artificial intelligence experts to understand the complexities of creating meaningful player experiences and to facilitate the creation of transformative games that prioritize teens’ developmental and mental health needs.

This year, iThrive Games has generously sponsored the UCI GGJ site with a special prize for the top three games to use their diversifier.  More details are forthcoming soon!

NEW for 2018: Support the Jam Site! Buy a T-Shirt

We’re running a Teespring campaign to raise money to thank the many volunteers who donate their time to make the UC Irvine GGJ site a success! Proceeds from this campaign will go towards a “thank-you” dinner for our volunteers, and towards building an ongoing budget seed for future game jams!


When is the Global Game Jam?

The Global Game Jam runs for 48 hours, from January 26-28, 2018  We will be starting our Jam at 5:00 pm on the 26th.

Where is the Global Game Jam?

The Jam site at UC Irvine will be in Donald Bren Hall. Registration and Keynote are in room 6011.

Who can participate in the Jam?

The UCI Global Game Jam site is open to to everyone with an interest in making games, not just UCI students.  We encourage participation from all potential Jammers from the broader games community at UCI including members of the games industry who are interested in a chance to do something wild and creative with their spare time. The Main Site is 18+, however we have a nearby all-ages site for minors who wish to Jam. If you are interested in participating in the all-ages site please register on our GGJ main page and contact [email protected] for more information.

Does the Jam cost anything?

Nope – it’s free! If you are driving a car onto campus, you will have to pay for parking.  The nearest parking structure to the venue is the Anteater Parking Structure, which is $10 a day. We encourage ridesharing and carpooling.

How can I participate in the Jam?

Every Jammer needs to sign up for the Jam though the official GGJ website. http://globalgamejam.org/2018/jam-sites/uc-irvine

Should I come to the Jam with a team of  people I want to work with?

Actually, part of the fun of the Jam is getting a chance to connect with other designers and gamers, so we strongly discourage doing any teambuilding before arrival.  Think of the Jam as a chance to stretch yourself, to meet new people, and to explore game design ideas that you might not get to explore under other circumstances.  The GGJ is a great environment to take risks and learn new things, and there is usually a very broad range of skills and talent in the room to work with.  We have found it helpful to arrive with a sense of what you are interested in doing: are you a writer? an artist? a programmer? a designer? a musician? a playtester?  You don’t have to be an expert at any of these things to have a good time, although it is very helpful to be at least familiar with games, and to have some experience with either game design, or with production and development more broadly.  We will do our best to match people up into teams that have a good balance of skills and experience, so that everyone has a chance to succeed, but it is important to remember that the central objective of the GJJ is to find the fun in game design.

What if I’m not a programmer?  Can I participate in the the Jam?

Games require a very broad range of skills and abilities: not just programming.  We’ve been to game jams where none of the participants were programmers, and all of the games that were made were pen & paper games, card games, and board games.  Chances are there will be many people at the Jam with programming skills, but also plenty of people there who are good at other things.  Everyone should be able to participate in a meaningful way, and we will work to help you find a spot where you can make a contribution.

Can I bring a work in progress to the Jam?

No.  Technically we have no way to stop you from doing this, but it isn’t really in the spirit of the event.  This is why we have an inspirational keynote at the beginning, and a top secret theme that we don’t reveal until you arrive.  The goal is for people to imagine and create a new game from nothing in a weekend.

What happens to the games after the Jam?

One of the conditions of participating in the Global Game Jam is that any games you make on the weekend are Open Source, and shared on the GGJ repository.  This is another reason why Jammers are discouraged from bringing existing works and intellectual property.  The GGJ as an organization isn’t interested in getting involved in any IP disputes over copyright or ownership.  We also want to make the jam a safe place for professionals within the industry to express their creativity without creating any conflict-of-interest with their day-jobs and employers.

What Should I Bring to the Jam?

We will be providing the following:

  • Internet Access for all Jammers
  • Power for computers, laptops, chargers, equipment, etc.
  • A space, and tables and chairs to work at.
  • Snacks and beverages.
  • Sleeping Bags, Pillows, and other comfy things.

Jammers should plan to bring anything that they think they might need to make their games.  This could include computer systems with appropriate development tools and software installed, sketching and art supplies for brainstorming and concept development, audio recording gear and music making tools, dice, cards, tablets, styli, and any other creative tools that you use or would like to use to help create your games.

Food Options: 
Meals provided on site.
Who Can Participate: 
Age Restrictions: 
18+ only at main jam site. Contact [email protected] for info about the affiliated all-ages site.

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