Something from Nothing


Posted on Feb 4, 2016

Global Game Jam


When I see giant electric towers, bridges, skyscrapers, and a bunch of other man-made structures I can't help but to marvel at them. I think to myself, "How many minds and bodies did it take to put this all together?" I also have the same appreciation for video games, and if I really think about it, it's one of the main aspects which I enjoy about them. Many times while playing a game I often ponder, "How did they make this possible?"," "How did they think of this?!" Well, I was lucky enough to get a small taste of the process at the 2016 Dwango Global Game Jam.


This past weekend I took part in Global Game Jam 2016. It was a great—albeit tiring—experience and I got to get a glimpse into the game-making world. In short, the Global Game Jam is a world-wide event which people of all skill levels and talents get together and make a video game over a weekend. Designers, programmers, and whomever else are put into random groups and then are tasked with creating a game based on a theme. For example, the event I was apart of GGJ 2016 sponsored by Dwango there were 10 teams with about 7 people per team (my team had 6).

参加申し込みはしたけど、、、。俺は、イベントがどう進むのか全く想像がつかなかった。だからUnreal Engine4(UE4)で足音とBGMと効果音の音をどうやって作るのか勉強しながらしばらく過ごした。それから俺は、FMODのミドルウェアでアダプティブミュージックも勉強した。だけど、イベントの1週間前にGGJではUnityの方が使えることが分かったから、UE4の勉強を休憩して、Unityの勉強を始めた。残念ながら、イベントまでにUnityを十分に勉強する時間が足りなかったけど、なんとなく理解はできてたと思う。。。

Prior to the event I didn't know what to expect, so I spent sometime learning how to make foot steps, ambient sounds, and back ground music in Unreal Engine4((UE4). Then I started to mess with FMOD and making adaptive music in UE4 as well. However, I didn't realize until a week before the event that Unity was the goto engine for GGJ events. So I switched over to Unity but didn't have enough time to wrap my head around scripting sound into a game. Nevertheless, I had a decent idea on how to do it (at least I thought I did).

Akai Synthstation 25


The night before the event while I was testing my gear I realized that my Akai SynthStation 25's keys weren't working. I took it apart but realized that it was going to be a project that would take more time than I had. So I had to scratch my planned visit to the Amano Yoshitake art exhibition and decided to head to POWERDJ's to pick up a new small midi controller. I wanted to get the AKAI professional MPK mini but they were sold out. So I settled with an AKAI professional LPK25 which has a cool little arpeggiator with a tap tempo function built it. I still have my eye on the MPK though... it would be great to use with MainStage for live performances.

俺が参加したGGJ東京会場は、『ドワンゴ会場@東銀座』で東銀座駅の近くにある松竹スクエアビルで行われた。会場にチェックインして、開始の時間になるとグループナンバーを渡された。GGJの会場内には、皆んなが活動するワークルームの他にも、休んだり眠ったりする休憩ルームも用意されていたし、会場の様子はニコニコ動画で中継もされてた。とにかくGGJの管理はスゴく良かった。開始早々には、小野憲史さんがイベントについて説明して、そのあとイベント紹介ビデオが流された。ビデオにはSiobhan RebbyとRamez Naamからの基調講演が入ってて、ビデオの最後に今年のGGJのテーマが発表された。今年のテーマは「RITUAL」だった。


The GGJ was in Ginza in the Shouchiku building which is pretty much in front of the East Ginza Subway station. After checking in I was given a group number (10) and from there it was go time. The event took place in 2 conference rooms, one where everyone worked and another empty room where you could go for a break/sleep. The event was actually very well managed and was also broadcast on niconico video's website. GGJ kicked off promptly at 5pm, the event organizer Kenji Ono gave a presentation about what the event was all about. Following that a GGJ video intro video with a pretty good chiptune trap beat was shown. The video showed to presentations / keynote speeches by Siobhan Rebby and Ramez Naam which were to prepare us for the theme of the game which was "RITUAL".


Next all the teams brainstormed to what what came to mind when we heard the word Ritual. Which naturally led to a pumpkin-throwing vampire student who needs to fight off garlic-throwing vampire hunter students... all before sunrise.


Since the game was action based I wrote a looping upbeat song that had an array of different sounding organs to give it a vampire / Halloween vibe. The SFX were made with Logic's EMF1 as well as sampled sounds I made on site. I wanted to implement FMOD and add a trill sound when the player got close to a vampire hunter but I lacked the know how and the time to learn. So I decided to make a commercial for the game using menu music that wasn't able to be used.



The game making process is very interesting and what I took away from it was that programing AI is the most difficult task while 3D design / animation is the most time consuming. The hardest part about it for me was making music and sound effects that matched the vision of everyone in the group. I enjoyed the challenge but I also felt bad that I wasn't able to help out with the coding. Although, I did have a lot of ideas that made into the game. Nevertheless, when I go to GGJ next year I will be ready to code the music and sounds into the game as well as have a firm grasp of FMOD.


  • たくさんのことを理解(勉強)しても、実は俺は何も知らない。
  • いい仕事したかったら、コミュ二ケーションを取ることが一番大事です。
  • 係人はなんでもできる人いいたほうがいい。(なんでもできる人が1人いるといい)
  • Slackは世界征服する。
  • 簡単のアプローチは一番です。(シンプルが一番)

What I took away from this experience:

  • no matter how much I think I know I truly know very little.
  • communication is the most important part in getting a project done efficiently.
  • managers should be a jack of all trades... and a master of some.
  • Slack is going to take over the world
  • keep it simple.


What blows me away is that within 48 hours a group of 6 strangers created something from nothing. Effort, cooperation, and skill are traits which helped us humans go from hunter-gathers to landing robots on other celestial bodies.


After a week's time the lasting impression is that doing sound design and music composition for games is what I love doing. GGJ was a great way to kick off 2016, it has motivated me to dig deeper and hone my craft as well as to learn more about sound engineering in games.


If Global Game Jam sounds like something you would be interested in check it out! Even if you have no knowledge on how to make games, Unity is free to download (as well as UE4) and there are a ton of free tutorials on how to use it. You have a full year until the next GGJ, so the sooner you get started the better!!!

You can checkout the game we made by clicking here or by clicking the game's logo image below.



さくりふぁいす学園 </div> </div> </div>