Central Orlando GGJ 2011

Central Orlando GGJ 2011

This year, the GA SIG decided to branch out and do work with the Global Game Jam

Gaiya Title ScreenTara Tefertiller, the current chairperson, happen to live in an area with a local chapter. The Central Florida chapter was nearby, and working with the chapter leader, an accessibility advocacy motive was born.   We wanted to get accessibility in and decided a merit competition would be the most appropriate fit. It would be a way to award those who participated with high accessibility goals with out punishing those who did not, all while still letting everyone learn something about accessibility. Games would be given a point score based on features incorporated into their game. More important features were given points, and the scoring took into consideration features that didn’t apply to titles. For example, if a game did not have speech it would not be penalized for not having subtitles. A few teams stepped up to the challenge and the Game Accessibility SIG could not be more pleased with the results.

Here is a gameplay video of our winner as it was at the end of Global Game Jam (for a video of the updated version please see the team’s Facebook page):


The winner of the IGDA GA SIG Global Game Jam Merit competition is Gaiya:The Origins of Deeproot by team Epic Wedgie. When it was time for scoring, this group did an amazing job of incorporating a number of key features in their game. Gaiya provided a tutorial mode, which allows players to ensure that their controllers or custom equipment is compatible with the game, in addition to letting players practice. In game, there are no important sound effects or voice over to be missed, making the game deaf gamer friendly. There were never any points where the player would be required to tell the difference between something red and green, or blue and yellow. This made the title color-blind friendly. Finally, the game was a one switch, or a one button mode game, which can be very helpful to gamers with several types of mobility issues. Not only were all of these features incorporated into their game, but the game was fun. I really playing it.

Acknowledging that more work could be done on this title, team Epic Wedgie has taken even further steps post Global Game Jam to make their title even more attractive to the hearing and visually impaired. If one took a look at the game posted at the end of the GGJ, one would notice that the voice over on the main menu, which provides the game’s background story, was lacking subtitles. Additionally, in game one would notice there were several moments were brown objects were on a brown background or perhaps grey objects on a grey background and so on. This could make this title hard for some gamers with low vision. Since the end of Global Game Jam, team Epic Wedgie has continuedwork on their title and added subtitles to the main menu and adjusted the color in game
to make them more high contrast.

The updated game is available for free download here.

Also, the team has announced they they plan to make updates to the game, including more levels, checkpoints, and multiplayer. Be sure to be on a look out for those.

Again, congratulations to all the members of Team Epic Wedgie; Ben Bair, Michael Burroughs, Krystal Churchwell, Kawon Davis, Joe France, Adam Harte, Chad Hoover, James Lewis, Tim Mayo, Bryan Solero, Ryan Turner and David Weiss.

Tara with most of Team Epic Wedgie
IGDA SIG Chair Tara Tefertiller presenting the award to most of Team Epic Wedgie

Quotes from the Team:

Kawon Davis: Creating GaiYa was a fun and amazing experience, because I got to work with highly motivated and amazing people.

Adam HarteIt was a short but amazing ride. I loved the chance to be a part of such an awesome team!
James LewisIt was an exciting opportunity to create a game with a bunch of talented individuals, and for that I’m thankful.

Ben BairI thought the Jam was fantastic.  I worked with a team of great people to make a fun little game. I can’t wait to do it again next year!
David WeissYou must never look at the 48 hour time limit as a battle of endurance.  It is a practice of patience, balance, and trust.  Those who view it as the later will see the difference it has well before the time limit reaches 0.
Michael BurroughsWe weren’t going to settle for the minimum. We already decided that we were going to push ourselves by making a digital game and an analog game for the GGJ. When we found out about the Merit competition, we pushed ourselves to win it. We came out with two solid games and our digital game had the best accessibility features out of all the entrants. It is quite an honor to be a part of a great group of individuals who are all willing to push to be the best.
Chad Hoover: In an event where groups of individuals come together for a common cause. What comes out of that common cause is either a outstanding blend of talent and passion or a mess of styles and really bad communication. The first was true to Team Epic Wedgie. We came knowing what we needed to do. Left our egos at the door and made two solid projects that more then just ourselves would be proud of in the end.