Hamar Game Collective | Audio – straight to the heart of the matter
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Audio – straight to the heart of the matter

04 Jan Audio – straight to the heart of the matter

This year, audio is the special theme for the Global Game Jam hosted by Hamar Game Collective.
– We want to follow up on all we learned from the late Jory Prum, and honor his memory by creative play with game audio. 
Portrait of Jory Prum

Jory Prum (Photo: Tanya Constantine)

Game audio is often underestimated, drowning in work on gameplay and artistic style. But audio has the capability to lift an experience to a new level. Audio plays directly to your feelings – and is indispensable to creating the immersive experience most gamers long for.

Have fun with audio
For Hamar Game Collective, the feelings run even deeper. For us, game audio was also synonymous with the inspirational Jory Prum, a guy who was all about emotions. He singlehandedly lifted the whole Norwegian game developer community – both when it came to appreciating and prioritizing game audio and also as a door opener to all kinds of game development contacts the world over.
– We chose audio as the main topic for this year’s Global Game Jam in Hamar for two reasons. We always like to have a local topic that gives our game jam a special twist, and game audio is generally underestimated and especially so in a hectic game jam setting. And the second reason is Jory’s passing last spring. He has been so important to us – and a regular visitor to Hamar’s game jams for years – so we just had to do this to honor him as well, says Bjørnar Frøyse, technical artist in the Hamar Game Collective-company Krillbite.

– Jory’s enthusiasm at our Global Game Jam’s is a good example of the contribution he made to the Norwegian game development scene. He went out of his way to help as many games as he could get better audio, being an enthusiastic helper to all. He also brought a lot of his equipment with him, offering audio resources to the jammers, and made sure that people communicated and collaborated in a good way. This year, we’ll try to follow his example and make sure that we take what we learned from him and pass it on to new jammers, says Bjørnar, also hoping that the audio focus of 2017 might help bridge the void that Jory’s absence at this year’s Global Game Jam will create for many of the participants.

Digeridoo at Global Game Jam Hamar 2017

Digeridoo – or don’t? (Photo: Siw Espeland)

Great examples 
He also hastens to add that it is a bit too simplistic to say that audio has a low focus. Many indie games are known especially for their music and sound effects, and there are also several great Norwegian examples, like Tinimation’s «Klang” and Hyper Game’s «Eggggg» from 2016.
– But for students and young people, who are the majority at our jams, audio often comes last. Mainly because they are small teams with programmers and artists, who might lack audio resources. We hope they will learn how to work with audio early on in the project – and to use audio as an integral part from the start. Games just get so much better when the audio doesn’t feel like an afterthought, but as a central part of the whole experience.

Voice actor for the keynote
Nicki RappThis year, the keynote will be by Nicki Rapp, an internationally renowned voice actor known for roles like “Lili” in Doublefine’s Psychonauts, “Lilly” in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, and the incredibly well behaved children in The Sims 2 and 3.
– Voice acting is one of the things that hardly gets done at game jams, mostly because it demands studio resources and specialized voice acting skills. This year we will also make it possible to get good voice acting for the games. We will also have sound related workshops and audio equipment to inspire and help the jammers, says Bjørnar.

Creative collaboration in Hamar
On January the 20th, Hamar Game Collective (HGC) is arranging a Global Game Jam for the ninth time. The event’s tickets were gone in under 24 hours, and the event looks to beat last year’s record attendance. In 2016, the Hamar event made the global Top 20 list of jam venues and was the 6th largest in Europe.
– The Global Game Jam event is really important to us at Hamar Game Collective. It encompasses so many of our values. We exist to be a community where we can learn from each other and create a creative space all our companies benefit from. Arranging jams and test bonanzas is a way for us to invite the larger game dev community in to share in this creative collaboration, and January’s Global Game Jam is really the year’s biggest gathering for us – giving us lots of energy and many new friends every year. We’re really looking forward to yet another great gathering, says Runa Haukland, HGC’s daily manager.

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Top picture: Photo by Henriette Myrlund
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