The Indie Game Jam is an effort to rapidly prototype video game designs and inject new ideas into the game industry. Started in 2002 by a group of game designer-programmers, the event features a shared game engine technology hacked on by other designer-programmers for a single long weekend. The games resulting from that weekend are then published, open-source, on the IGJ web page.
Each game engine for each Indie Game Jam poses a gameplay question:
- The first Indie Game Jam was in March 2002 - the engine asked what developers might do with 100,000 sprites active onscreen at one time.
- The second Indie Game Jam was in March 2003 - participants had Zack Simpson's Shadow Garden technology to use - human shadows projected on the game screen were the primary interface.
- The third Indie Game Jam, in March 2004, was based around Atman Binstock's 2D physics engine, using PlayStation2 controllers.
- The fourth Indie Game Jam, in March 2005, explored human interaction using 3D characters.
- The fifth Indie Game Jam, in November 2006, asked developers to build games around a sound library written by Atman Binstock.
Hosted in Oakland, California just before the Game Developers Conference, the IGJ runs on sponsorship and donations.
The following people have participated in the Indie Game Jam (listed alphabetically):
- Sean Barrett, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Atman Binstock, Charles Bloom, Jonathan Blow, Jason Booth, Chris Carollo, Doug Church, Ken Demarest, Vincent Diamante, Ryan Ellis, Richard Evans (AI researcher), Chaim Gingold, Austin Grossman, Justin Hall, Chris Hecker, Robin Hunicke, Brian Jacobson, Ryan Junell, Jesper Juul, Adam Lake, Marc LeBlanc, Mike Linkovich, Art Min, Dean Macri, Casey Muratori, Daniel Neuburger, Dan Ogles, Kim Pallister, Ocean Quigley, Dan Schmidt, Brian Sharp, Zack Simpson, Randy Smith, Michael Sweet, Thatcher Ulrich, Robin Walker.
These people have included employees of the following companies:
- Ion Storm Austin, Oddworld Inhabitants, Valve, Maxis, Intel, Eidos
The Indie Game Jam form (single engine, single weekend, many participants, many games) has been adapted by other like-minded groups, notably some game programmers in Lithuania and Dallas (see link below).