The OLPC Physics Game Jam Wants You!


I received an invitation to a cool event the other day and thought this might be of interest to some of you since it looks like a fun way to spend a weekend:

"Partly because we're starting to see the fruits of Box2D (an open source 2D physics engine) running on the XO and partly because we just-haven't-had-a-good-one-in-a-while, the OLPC Physics Game Jam competition is being held August 29th-31st, 2008 in Cambridge MA. Participants, in teams of 2-4, will have 48 hours to construct physics-based games for the XO laptop.

Yes, physics can be fun!

Prizes will include an OLPC XO and various tech goodies, and all participants will be properly decked out with OLPC/Jam swag.


  1. Professional developers (suggested: teams of 2-4)
  2. Independent developers (suggested: teams of 2-4)
  3. Level designers
  4. Youth developers (suggested: teams of 2-4)
  5. Remote developers (suggested: 1-4 team members) - Takes place via IRC, much like the Ludum Dare.
  6. Staff and support (graphic artists, musicians, sound designers, video producers, event supporters)

Instructional events will include:

  1. Eric Jordan of the Box2D project will be giving a talk on developing physics games with pyBox2D for the OLPC XO.
  2. Nirav Patel, Google Summer of Code student working on vision processing for the XO will describe combining physics and vision processing for interactive games.
  3. Alex Levenson, OLPC summer intern and creator of the x2o physics game will talk about level design for his game.

More information can be found on the Physics Jam page."

I really wish I could participate but unfortunately I'm all booked out that weekend. It would have definitely been a good and fun way to get back into programming as I haven't had time to code anything in several months... In any case I'm really looking forward to seeing the results of the jam!

Update: Please also see Brian Jordan's comment below for last-minute updates regarding prizes, swag and other details!

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So is the outcome going to be something like Phun ( )? That would be a neat toy to have on the OLPC, although it is a bit resource hungry on slow processors.

Christoph -- thanks for the announcement!

I'm really excited about tomorrow, and some new things have developed since I emailed you the announcement:

We are having physics jam tshirts made by XOExplosion!

Prizes will also include a prize pack from iLoveMyXO and various swag (I heard mention of SUPERBALLS) from XOExplosion. Remote participants' prizes will be shipped.

People can follow the jam online (including watching live events and recordings of them, as was done at GrassCon) at

Remote participants will be getting help and providing input to the jam on and possibly with a Skype conference and/or gobby session.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to where we should set up a blog to post incremental jam updates, and teams can post teaser images?

Also, as post-jam faire (which should be of interest to the attendees, on and off line): Sunday at 4PM, we will be co-hosting one of the Support gang meetings ( ) at 1CC about learning activity development and creating a volunteer activity dev community, much like the support gang has done for volunteer laptop support. It will be hosted by myself, long-time educator Caryl Bigenho and OLPC Learning VP David Cavallo. This event will be broadcasted and available later at, (and this event was thrown together at the last minute -- so it will be informal. pajamas encouraged)


Brian, thanks a lot for the update, I'll include a note in the original article above to make sure that people see it.

Wrt to a blog for incremental updates I'm thinking that a tumble-blog such as would work well, e.g. like we do on the olpc austria soup:

And even though I won't have time on the weekend to follow your progress I'll definitely look at the videos.

Thanks and have fun! :-)

Set up a blog at blogspot -- I hope others who are interested in posting during the jam will email me brianatlaptop to be added as editors! Group blogging, as seen during the Ludum Dare: can be a very effective tool in intimidating and rattling your competition :)