UK games jam breaks world record

Game Jam
Image caption Games jam participants received their certificate from the Guinness Book of Records at the end of the event

A games jam held at Bedfordshire University in Luton at the weekend has broken the world record for the largest number of people taking part.

A games jam is a gathering of video game developers. Participants are put into teams and challenged to build games within a time frame.

A total of 329 students attended the 48 hour games jam, organised by Microsoft and online learning service Train2Game.

The games had to be built for Windows platforms.

"The UK now holds the world record for the largest games jam - it's an excellent achievement for the games industry," said Richard Wilson, chief executive officer of Tiga, the trade association which represents the gaming industry.

"To be able to develop a game in 48 hours is incredible in its own right - a console-quality game takes millions of pounds and months to develop."

London pride theme

Most of the participants were students on the gaming courses run by Train2Game, which is validated by Tiga.

The games had to have a "pride of London" theme and were built with Windows 8 software.

The students worked in teams and developed a total of 41 games in the 72-hour time frame.

Image caption The average age of the participants was about 25, said one student.

"Nobody actually went to bed," said Train2Game course leader Myra Smallman.

"You have to be very enthusiastic about gaming - being a gamer is being in a certain world."

The game judged the best by a panel of industry experts will now be developed further with a view to being made available on the Windows store.

The winning game, Royal Rush, involved getting a character version of the Queen around various monuments around London.

Windows platform

While Richard Wilson described Windows 8 as "an exciting platform" for games, others in the industry have been more cautious about it.

Speaking at the Casual Connect game conference in Seattle in July, Valve Software chief executive officer Gabe Newell described it as "a catastrophe" for the PC industry.

Valve Software produces the Half-Life, Left4Dead and Portal games series.

Mr Newell expressed concern that Microsoft's control of the Windows Store would mean far less choice and freedom for gamers.

"We have to continue to figure out how there will be open platforms," he said at the conference.

Although the Luton even now holds Guinness's world record title, other events have arguably been more popular.

Ludum Dare - a video game competition held several times a year - saw 1,406 video games submitted to its last four-day-long event in August, all designed around the theme of evolution.

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