After much toil, the No More Sweden 2010 game jam has come and gone. It was a wonderful experience for me, personally, for I have seen the whole trip somehow like an adventurous journey (fantasy helps making things better). The fact is that it’s a long way from here (in Rome) to Skövde, but it was surely worth it.

Skovde university
Cutting away all the unnecessary and personal details of my experience in Sweden, I found a lot of cool people both at the jam and out of it.
Erik Svedäng, which invited me in the first place, and Daniel Kaplan (head of Ludosity and co-organizer of the jam) were both very supportive to me, and offered help for housing and such in more than one occasion. Help that was not needed, fortunately.
Daniel Kaplan of Ludosity
Another cool guy is Daniel Remar, which ultimately won the jam too thanks to a very crazy game (aided, to be honest, by the funny theme made by Erik Sjöstrand).

Niklas Akerblad
Speaking of game making, I had the pleasure of working with Niklas Åkerblad, which is the bearded guy that made the music and art of Erik’s game Kometen. He’s a very talented painter just taking a look at games to see if it’s worth it, but mainly he’s a funny guy and a good co-worker. He even gave a very cool speech (in my opinion at least) about art in general, and its relation to games.
On to the jam then. The rules were that on the first day, everybody had to suggest some themes and write them down on a piece of paper to be put in a bowl. After that, each team picked up 3 themes and started making games.
Our themes were initially “Window-licker”, “Idiot” and “Co-op”. We felt like the first two were almost overlapped, so we traded “Idiot” with the Erik Sjöstrand team, getting in return the word “Mus” (mouse, in swedish).
Niklas working on the graphics of our game
After a bit of brainstorming, the idea for our game, later called Rowtard, was to do a navigation game in which there’s to retarded guys on a boat trying to save mice from drowning (because the mice are their best friend, you know). They have to work together, because each one of them has one oar.
After some time, the wind will go up and the sail fills, and the retards have to take turns on the rudder and ropes. There should have been also a random disability that showed up affecting both players, making the game less controllable and more difficult, although hopefully more fun.
Actually, not much of this worked at the end of the jam, as I incurred in some very bad math obstacles (very bad for me, being a mediocre programmer), but trying to put it all together certainly was a good experience. Also, Niklas was not mad at me for not finishing the game in time. He surely understood the spirit of the jam.

I had also the chance to present UFHO to the developers there. It was very nice to show my work in front of such an audience! Unfortunately, the cam for the streaming was out so I wasn’t recorded… I hope they have a backup registration, as I’ve heard…

Assorted Swedish devs
All in all, the whole trip was a refreshing experience because the guys were all very akin to my thinking. All cool guys with a passion, ready to jump with all their clothes into the realm of perilous game development. And they were nice too, not the average nerd that people expect 🙂
Among the others, I had the chance to meet my drawing idol Niklas Jansson, Dan Tabar (which is a very kind guy), Bernie Schulenburg (Die Gute Fabrik), Gualtiero Tabacchi, Kian Bashiri (the man who has asked us to burn the rope…), Martin Jonasson, Jonatan Söderström (also known as the Cactus, a guy who likes to tease me), Petri Purho, Michael Todd, and a host of other guys…

I have also made some funny interviews to all the participants, they will be edited together and put on Youtube as soon as possible! (read, next week)