Null DIES at Global Game Jam 2019 – Egypt

May 28, 2019 | ElHassan Makled

A Brief History

Very few people know that Global Game Jam 2015 significantly shaped what Null DIES is today. In 2015, we (Null DIES) met at the ITI for our first game jam ever. A game jam is a hackathon, where developers and artists come together to develop an application under a general theme. The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is an annual event where developers and artists are given a theme and are asked to develop a game relating to it (the theme) in 48 hours.

Ever since GGJ15 we have joined multiple jams such as Ludum Dare, story driven game jams, etc. Game jams are very helpful for game developers and artists (experts and beginners). We realized in every jam we explored new methods of development, art, design, and workflow. The time limit of the jam (48 hrs in the case of GGJ) helps you to validate and explore mechanics you’re interested in. Further, it helps you see a full project cycle from idea inception to execution to finalizing and submission. There are multiple benefits for individuals and teams to join game jams, in my opinion the most important one is that you fail fast. Working for 48 hours is not that much, but focusing on a mechanic or a concept for 48 hours instead of a month saves you a lot of time, money, and trouble.



GGJ 2019 – New Frontiers for Null DIES

GGJ 2019 was not just another Game Jam that we participated in. It is the first time we sponsor a Global Game Jam site (ITI). It was our honor that we sponsored next to a great giant from the game industry, Unity. For an indie game development studio from Egypt to have its logo right next to Unity meant a lot for us. Part of sponsoring and participating in game jams is to support the community of developers in Egypt. As young game developers searching for the support was genuinely difficult at our time. Since we are involved in the industry, we would like to fill this gap with the rising Game Dev generation.

The Booth

Our booth has stayed the same for quite sometime, we have been working on Drop it VR and showcasing it for quite sometime. During this booth we felt we need to show something different, there is a game lurking in the shadows for sometime. Something only very few people have seen. A couch game called Swordball, you will know more about it in time. This four player game is super fun to play with friends on a couch.


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Of course our booth wouldn’t be the same without a VR experience, Drop it VR is going through some evolution of its own. We are excited to show you the next form of this game and soon you will have it.


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The Talks

Every talk's cringy selfie
Every talk’s cringy distorted and blurry selfie

We were asked to give the keynote speech for the Egypt ITI site. It took us some time to think of what should we talk about, then we realized that the best thing people need at the moment is a guideline to survive the jam. We gave a similar talk to a group of students at a hackathon before, but this time we decided to tailor it to the global game jam itself. We decided to divide the guide into 3 days (similar to the jam) telling developers and artists what to focus on in each day.


Global Game Jam 19_ Survival Guide to Hakathons


We then gave a talk about game design and a workshop to help developers create their very first VR Game. The game design talk was a generic one that helps designers and developers understand the principles and purpose of game design, also was full of memes. In this talk we shed light on how games are a set of rules and how these rules create complex choices. Furthermore, how can you enhance these choices to make the game more interesting. Finally, we discuss a simple process on how to design a game.

Evolving to Homoludens GGJ


In the VR workshop, we helped players develop their first shoot ’em up VR game using Unity3D and an HTC Vive. Unfortunately, there was no presentation here to be presented, this was a hands on experience, people developed and played their game.

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The Jam




Let's Make Something Fun!