One Laptop Per Child Game Jam

olpc game jam
Now I really wish I could code in Pygame or Python. Tweak out graphics and animate movement, so I could be joe-cool enough to participate in the much anticipated OLPC Game Jam on June 8-10 in Needham, MA.

Now what's a "OLPC game jam," you might ask? Ben Sawyer says:

Attendees bring their laptops and we install the game building SDK on it (Pygame/Python is the SDK but FLASH works too so if you're going to make Flash games come as well) and everyone sits around and builds games for the next 50+ hours (sleep optional).

The idea is that 50-100 people come and we have fun working solo or in teams to build 15-30 games. We will have XO Laptops to port games too once you get it working on your own system (Pygame works on PCs, Linux, Mac, Windows,etc.) and then at the end of the day we sit around and look at the collective work. There may even be some prizes...

The Escapist reports that the One Laptop Per Child Game Jam will also have a bit of structure to all that code jamming fun. The event will be split into four "development tracks" centered around a particular aspect of the laptop:
olpc code jam
OLPC game code faster!
  • Mesh Networking: Each XO has mesh networking capabilities that allow it to broadcast and connect to any laptop around it, allowing activities to easily be made collaborative.
  • Camera: Each XO has a videoconferencing-quality camera embedded to the side of its display.
  • Tablet Mode: The XO laptop has a distinct tablet mode where the screen can output high-resolution b/w graphics in sunlight conditions and features built in game-pad like buttons. This mode might lend itself to specific styles of play including one involving real-world activity beyond a confined space.
  • Malleable Games for Learning: A key consideration of the OLPC effort is certainly learning. However, more importantly it is hoped that kids can use the laptops to create their own games and experiment deeply with learning games by having access to modify and change them as part of a learning process. This track will elicit games that speak to this ideal.
And while the Game Jam isn't free - its $50 for pizza, $100 for pizza and dorm space - if you hurry, you can apply for a $30 CogniToy scholarship. Or, if you are code-challenged like me, you can just enjoy the Game Jam comic.

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