June 18, 2020

Global Game Jam NEXT - Games Education for the NEXT Generation

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**This page is regularly updated with information on the Game Jame NEXT - Please check in regularly for updates and news**

Are you between the ages of 11-17 years and interested in making games? Challenge yourself and try it out at the Global Game Jam NEXT this summer 13 – 24 July.

As has been the case for many events worldwide this year, we will unfortunately be shifting the 2020 edition of the Global Game Jam next into virtual format.

It is not all bad news though, as the virtual format gives us the opportunity to jam for longer and have access to a whole array of educational materials (tutorials, recommendations, etc) and mentorship.

What is GGJ NEXT®? Games for the next generation

Similar to our GGJ® event for adults in January every year, GGJ NEXT is designed to stimulate collaboration and teamwork; it is not a competition.

It is a time to explore, learn, and experiment. Honestly, there are and there will be plenty of competitions related to videogames, we don’t need another one. What we do need as a place to meet people who want to work on projects together, a place where you can go to ask questions, and a place where you can see first hand all the awesomeness (and the hard work) that goes into making a game.

This year the Institute of Digital Games and the Directorate for Digital Literacy & Transversal Skills (Ministry for Education and Employment) are running the Global Game Jam NEXT after the success of last year’s pilot. Last year the jammers only had 4 hours at the workshop, so it was difficult to complete anything at all, but plenty of time to learn. Ian Caruana went home and finished his nice little Cheese Platformer.

(Apologies for audio quality it was a noisy, echo-filled room).

What is a Game Jam? Make games like a real game designer

The goal of a game jam is to come together and make a game (be it a videogame, board game, card game…) Jammers quickly come up with new ideas, and make quick sketches of how they might work to prototype and playtest. Often jammers have a theme or central idea to work with. The brief time span will encourage creative thinking and hopefully innovative experimental games.

The GGJ NEXT jam will happen all over the globe based around a central theme.


GGJ NEXT 2020 will be running online with a combination of:

  • 1 week of teaching videos and worksheets to guide and teach your jammers

  • Extension tasks for kids who want to take their learning further

  • 1 week of guided jamming

  • Support from industry mentors

  • Support from GGJ NEXT staff and volunteers

  • A Discord server for GGJ NEXT participants, with your own private channel to support your jammers through the 2 week event

Parents are requested to register their children here.

More information about the schedule and events will be posted on this page as it becomes available from the central organising team of the Global Game Jam NEXT.

You can contact us via contact form on the website, Twitter, or Facebook if you need any additional information.

Schedule for Global Game Jame NEXT 2020



Learning and Tutorials

13th July 2020

Day 1

11h30 -12h00 Kick-off and Introduction – Institute of Digital Games

The local organisers will introduce the jam and go over the process with the attendees. There will be a short Q&A Session

12h00 – Introduction to Jamming – GGJ NEXT

GGJ has prepared a number of resources that will help students through the jam. Students will learn about thinking like a designer, there will be some exercises to help them. Finally they will receive and introduction to the many tools they can use to design their game.

12h15 - 16h00 - Identity Verfication Interviews Organisers will speak and verify that you indeed have children participating in the jam. Please book a slot from here.

14th July 2020

Day 2

10h00 Submit the tasks and assignements from yesterday on Discord for feedback by Jasper and Iro and fellow jammers.

Parts of the Game – GGJ NEXT

Attendees will learn about various parts of the game and how to make iterations of their game. And how to improve on iterations.

15th July 2020

Day 3

10h00 Submit the tasks and assignements from yesterday on Discord for feedback by Jasper and Iro and fellow jammers.

Prototyping and playtesting – GGJ NEXT

How and why to make a paper prototype and how to get other people to play the game and get their feedback.

16th July 2020

Day 4

10h00 Submit the tasks and assignements from yesterday on Discord for feedback by Jasper and Iro and fellow jammers.

Games as Systems – GGJ NEXT

This section will get students to think more deeply about the choices they make in the game and player psychology.

17th July 2020

Day 5

Thinking Creatively About Game Ideas

How to get game ideas and how to find new and interesting ways to make things into games.

18-19 July

Weekend Break

No activities planned.

It will be a time for the groups to recoup, recover, and get ready for the jam to start.


20th July

Day 6

10.00 – 10.15 Activity 1 Introduction

Welcome participants

Let’s see who we are – use voice, camera, or write in the chat a game you like and what it is you like about this game – an element of the game you enjoy. It may be any game – digital, physical, board, card game.

10.20 – 10.25 Activity 2 Group Activity – Designing outside the Box

Originally developed by Michael Gi https://ggjnext.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/GD0-DESIGNING-OUTSIDE-THE-BOX.pdf

Imagine this in-game scenario:

There is an enemy guard standing watch at a door to a building.

You (the player) must get in the building.

What would you do? (What solutions should be available?) Write as many ideas/actions as you can!

Think about what game systems the developers would have to create to accommodate each solution (what components, elements, mechanics, sounds, images etc should be available)

Post your answers here: https://padlet.com/irovoulgari/theguard

10.30 – 10.50 Activity 3 Individual Activity – Design a Game

This guided game design activity is based on the GD4: A five-part game design framework (https://ggjnext.org/event/the-parts-of-a-game/) and the Let's Grow a Game Activity (https://ggjnext.org/event/prototyping-and-playtesting/)

They fill in this guided game design document.

This activity is individual – children may not have selected their team yet, or they may be reluctant to share their ideas with everybody.

1. Now, let’s do a warm-up activity, before listening to the keynote and theme of the GGJNext, and work on a group activity based on the theme of the jam.

2. You’ll try to very quickly design a game.

3. Click this link and follow the instructions on the form to design your own game.

4. Send to participants the link: https://forms.gle/gwJjJakpwgdXmspS7

5. When the activity is complete, we present some of the game ideas.


The key part of the jam where we learn the theme that will guide the jammers and they receive their first inspirational speech. Then the jam proper kicks off!

We’ll watch a short video with a presentation and the announcement of the theme of this year’s GGJ Next games.

11.10-12.40 – UActivity 4 Unlocking Creativity and Brainstorming – Institute of Digital Games

Design a Game (group activity) based on Cards

This activity may follow the theme announcement, and children can design their game based on this theme.

Theme: Connections

1. Participants are separated in 3 teams (zoom rooms).

2. Groups will be assigned.

3. Each team has its own space (google doc) for brainstorming and designing their game. Each doc has a different set of cards the team must use to create their game. Guiding questions are also included.

4. The link for each team is shared in the chat box of each room.

12.40 – Team Formation – Institute of Digital Games

1. Guided from the brainstorming activities we will encourage participants to find teams and facilitate discussions. They may choose to stay in the teams of their previous group activity.

2. A discord group will be set up for each team, so teams can chat.

3. The idea is that participants from other teams can follow what is going on, offer help, discuss, etc. It is not a competition it is an event where all participants hopefully have fun creating a game and meeting new people.

4. Next steps. The expert panel on Wednesday. What? Where? When?

21st July

Day 7

Finalise game ideas, assign roles, begin work – GGJ NEXT

While coming up with ideas for games is a lot of fun, at some point roles need to be handed out and a final idea needs to be settled on. GGJ NEXT has some resources to help.

22nd July

Day 8

Game Development

Here the teams start getting versions of their game ready. Checking whether the idea will work or not in simple terms. Trying to have a rough playable version of the main mechanic is usually a good idea.

15h00 – Expert Panel Showcase

The Institute of Digital Games has organized a panel of experts including, Iro Voulgari, Vanessa Camilleri, and an industry expert to give feedback on the games (and progress) the jammers have made. The panel will help the participants focus their effort and can answer any questions or address any issues that they may be encountering in terms of the game. Participant should be prepared to explain the game to the panel in 5-10 minutes. This is not to judge the game, but to help the participants improve their game and finish in time.

23rd July

Day 9

More Game development

Keep on refining the game.

24th July

Day 10


This is the final stretch! This is what it all comes down to. In this day participants put the final touches to their games. You might need to cut parts out, you may need to replace parts, you’ll find out what needs to be done to finish the game.

16h00 – Showcase with the expert panel!

You get to show off your creations to the expert panel and your fellow jammers. The expert panel will play the games (and the others will hopefully watch and play as well). They’ll give some feedback in terms of what they liked and maybe some ideas for problems the jammers may have encountered.

This may be recorded to edit a video of the game jam including the thoughts of the participants some shots of the games and some points of discussion.

After registering keep an eye on this page as we'll be regularly updating it with the schedule, new speakers, and activities!

In addition to a number of international game developers, Malta will have a local guidance from the two main organisers:

Dr Iro Voulgari - Institute of Digital Games

She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Digital Games and teaching staff at the Department of Early Childhood Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. She has studied Educational Sciences at the Department of Education Sciences in Pre-School Age, Democritus University of Thrace in Greece, holds an M.Ed. on Information Technology, Multimedia and Education from the University of Leeds, UK, and a PhD on Massively Multiplayer Online Games & Learning from the Department of Educational Sciences & Early Childhood Education, University of Patras, in Greece. Her research focuses on game based learning, game studies, and digital literacy. She is teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses on digital games, virtual worlds, and learning technologies. She has organised several workshops and events relevant to game based learning, Information and Communication Technologies in Education, and Digital Storytelling in local and international venues. She has worked on several Nationally and EU funded research projects on the design, implementation, and assessment of learning technologies and digital games in teaching and learning.

Jasper Schellekens - Institute of Digital Games

Jasper is one of the organisers of the Malta Global Game Jam. He has been part of the organising committee since 2016 and is a veteran jammer having completed a number of Game Jam Games including a couple of digital games like How was you day? and a few board games like Babelship. He has been supporting the research and communications of the Institute representing them at international trade events and festivals such as Science in the City. He was involved with the design of Xtreme Yoga a small game for eye-tracking research and Construction BOOM!

Expert Panel:

The participants will receive feedback on their games from an expert panel. Once at mid-way point to provide some guidance and once at the end of the jam in order to give them a good idea what they did well and hear some suggestions on what they could improve. In addition to the organisers, the Expert Panel is composed of people working in the industry and in games education.

Dr. Vanessa Camilleri - University of Malta

Dr. Camilleri's lectures at the Faculty of ICT. Her work is in the area of human-computer interaction, virtual reality applications, and serious games. Before she joined the Faculty of ICT she lectured at the Faculty of Education, where she was teaching Computing in Education, as well as Educational Technologies (including open education, and eLearning) for a number of years.

These experiences have contributed to Dr Camilleri's strong beliefs in inter-Faculty collaboration. She is also a great believer in quality Education that is a key factor for success in today's world, and that is further enhanced by the digital possibilities and technology applications that are driving much of what makes up our society.

Her publications are mostly in the areas of autonomous learning projects and possibilities and her current research interests are in the field of Virtual Worlds for Education and Serious Applications. She is also involved in 2 funded projects that deal with the the use of games for learning.

Sara Abdilla - Dorado Games

Sara is a graduate of the Institute of Digital Games and is now working in the videogame industry as Software Developer for Dorado Games, primarily on their Conflict of Nations game. Dorado Games is focusing on designing, developing and marketing digital online games with a focus on mid core players from all over the world and the team draws on knowledge from more than 60 published titles across many platforms. She has also worked with small Maltese startup studio Mighty Box developing, documenting, testing and debugging their digital games projects. Her research at the institute explored a game designed for cats specifically, after all humans aren't the only animals that like playing games. Sara is also a veteran of the game jam where last year she made Shattered with her team, a game about exploring different fragments of yourself.

Christos Sintoris - University of Patras

Christos has a decade of experience in designing and developing location-based multiplayer mobile games. These are games that are played on location and which usually require that the players think about their surroundings. Most recent is the game Taggling, from last year. He works as a Teaching & Research Associate at the University of Patras in Greece, where, among other things, he guides students in the development of their own location-based games.

Nikoleta Yiannoutsou – Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Nikoleta has almost 10 years of experience in designing games. Her work involves design of location based games though her collaboration with the University of Patras, but also the design of half-baked games which are provocative games designed so as to be changed and modified. She has worked also with multisensory technologies (Virtual reality and haptics) exploring the involvement of the senses in the learning and gaming experience. She has worked with SMEs, Academic and Research institutions across Europe. She is currently a scientific officer at the Joint Research Centre in Seville Spain working on collective reflection tools, which are designed to support the development of the digital capacity of schools.

George E. Raptis - University of Patras

George E. Raptis (MSc, PhD) is a User Researcher in Human Opsis and HCI Group, University of Patras, Greece. His current research interests focus on human-computer interaction and game playing. He has published research works and has taken part in EU-funded projects that focus on the use and implementation of novel game design and development tools and techniques.

Local Mentors:


Areas of Expertise

Times available


Owen Sacco – MCAST and Institute of Digital Games

Unity and GameMaker

Mostly available 20-24th July

Preferred times –

14:30 - 18:30


Iro Voulgari – Institute of Digital Games

GameMaker and Game Design

Mostly available 20-24th July


Stanislas Mihaljcuk – Institute of Digital Games (M.Sc. Student)

Game Design

Mostly available 20-24th July


Emannouela Marla

Unity and Game Design

Available 12pm-6pm on 20-24th July



Global Game Jam NEXT has a resource library including tutorials on how to use the user-friendly GameMaker software as well as using Scripting and Coding or using Analogue games.