Hey Honolulu, Global Game Jam 2018 is from January 26–28! Let’s Get Ready!

Edward White
4 min readJan 15, 2018


Hey Honolulu! Global Game Jam 2018 is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited! This year’s jam will be at the University of Hawaii’s iLab from 5:00 pm on January 26th to 5:00 pm on January 28th, and we’re hoping you’ll join us. Don’t know how to make games? No problem, just keep reading our getting ready guide.

Step one: Make sure to register for the Honolulu jam site!

Step two: Join the Honolulu Global Game Jam Discord!

This year’s jam will be at the University of Hawaii’s iLab from 5:00 pm on January 26th to 5:00 pm on January 28th

What is Global Game Jam?

Global Game Jam is a worldwide 48-hour game design hackathon, where local sites around the world simultaneously create a game based on a secret theme that is only revealed at the opening ceremony. While Global Game Jam is a worldwide organization, the sites are organized by the communities they come from. The primary goal is to have fun and work with other people who want to make games!

The only cost associated with the jam is $5/day in parking fees, and we have sponsors that will be providing some meals, so please RSVP!

I want to make games but don’t know how to code!

Not a coder? Not a problem! Global Game Jam is all about games, not necessarily video games, so making a pen-and-paper, card, or board game is just as valid as making a video game. It’s also a great opportunity to shadow a video game team and learn.

Don’t know how to make a game? EdX and the Rochester Institute of Technology is offering a short, sweet, and free Game Design and Balance MOOC from Ian Schreiber, one of Global Game Jam’s co-founders. This is a great way to quickly become a valuable team member, and if you want to get deeper into game design, Ian also has free text-based game design concepts and game balance concepts (the mathy stuff) courses available.

I want to make video games but I don’t code!

In the past, Unity (one of the jam’s sponsors, available free to everyone) has been the most popular game engine among coders at GGJ Honolulu. While Unity is a very capable engine, it’s actually really easy to get started with basic functions, and Unity has a lot of tutorials to help new users learn the engine’s features, whether you’re a new coder or a crusty senior engineer!

If you want to learn more about programming in C#, the scripting language used by Unity, there are tutorials for that, too!

I want to make game art instead of games!

Games, especially video games, need a lot of assets outside the core game design, and we’d be super-happy to have you! One big perk for jammers who are 3D artists is a three-month free license of Houdini Indie, a very popular (and very powerful) VFX procedural pipeline suite. Whether you’re a 2D or a 3D artist, the best thing you can do is get familiar with Unity’s animation controls and the art asset best practices.

For musicians, both FMOD and WWISE have Unity integrations that are free to use for the purposes of the jam, creating opportunities to experiment with sound design and adaptive music. And hey, guess what, there are official tutorials for FMOD and WWISE, too! Additionally, there is a Global Game Jam diversifier category for performed music, so if you’re a performer, now is your chance to shine!

I want to get into the weird stuff!

One of Unity’s sponsors is Mapbox, which has an SDK and Unity support for creating AR games, along with tutorials to learn to use them.

Global Game Jam also has a yearly list of “diversifiers” that add another layer of design challenge. Some are meant to make your projects more accessible to gamers with conditions such as low vision, and others are meant to introduce interesting mechanics.

HI Capacity, our local group of Hardware hackers, are another popular group of jammers, and we’ve had a history of wacky control schemes at the Honolulu jam site! Not sure about tutorials for hardware hacking in games, but if you’re looking for weird, you probably got it already.

If you think it can be made into a game, we want you to come out!

I’m a streamer! I just like playing games!

We’ll be hosting a weekend-long livestream with local streamer Sleepy Sabin, who will keep the stream lively with jammer interviews, video essays, playtests, and more! We also have a confirmed time slot for the worldwide Global Game Jam twitch stream on Saturday the 27th at (high) noon, local time. If you want to swing by to playtest games or help spice up Damon’s stream, we’d love to have you!

What? Even more resources????

The Global Game Jam mothership has put together a list of jammer resources with tons of more general information. They’ve also put together a Google Doc with lots of game engines, frameworks, IDEs, 3D art resources, audio resources, and tons of other resources, in case none of this “how to in Honolulu” speaks to you.

I want to stay connected with the Hawaii game developer community!

Join the Global Game Jam Honolulu Discord!

Join the PixelHui meetup, a Honolulu-based group of digital artists.

Hey! Before you go!

Make sure you register for the Honolulu Jam Site! See you there!



Edward White

Internet spelunker, alleged technologist. Studying CS/Business at UH Manoa. Living a colorful life of adventure in Hawaii.