GameCraft founders take Irish model to London and New York

One-day gaming event aims to become international brand

GameCraft, the series of one-day events which have been held around Ireland since February 2012, is set to branch out to both Britain and the United States.

Described as “game jams”, GameCraft events see groups or individuals create a brand new game in just 12 hours, with winning entries then chosen by a panel of experts.

"It's something that could translate to anywhere in the world," according to co-founder Andrea Magnorsky of independent Dublin-based developers, BatCat Games.

Magnorsky hopes both the London and New York events (being held on August 10th and September 20th respectively) can help the group create an “international brand” in the mould of the CoderDojo movement, which began in Cork but now has outposts across Europe, Asia, South America, North America and Australia.


Foster gaming
"We've spoken with [CoderDojo founder] James Whelton about the potential of GameCraft to see if that's the way we could grow", says Magnorsky, who adds that a "not-for profit" business model is being adopted as "we just want it to foster gaming and wouldn't like to see the idea going commercial at all".

Both events will be managed in collaboration with the 35,000-strong ICT community group Skills Matter, whose chief executive, Wendy Devolder approached Magnorsky about GameCraft after she spoke at the Progressive .NET conference in London in May.

Skills Matter marketing manager Jane Blinkenberg says, "It's a really exciting idea that could be brought to a lot of different countries."

Blinkenberg expects "80 to 100" people at the London event at the Skills Matter eXchange in Clerkenwell, with a "cap of slightly less" in New York, due to venue restrictions at Brooklyn's Dumbo Loft.

'Game jams'
She says that, while both events are for adults-only, "future GameCraft events will likely be open to any age so people could come along with their kids and have a great time creating games alongside each other".

Explaining the appeal of the GameCraft events, Ms Magnorsky told The Irish Times that while "game jams happen all the time online", getting those interested in the area of developing games "into one room and getting them to work together face-to-face is something that makes this really different".

The first Dublin GameCraft event took place in February last year in DIT when more than 120 people produced around 35 games.

The next scheduled event in Ireland is being held in Derry’s Millennium Forum on September 14th as part of the week-long CultureTECH festival.