Prior to BioWare Austin, Rebouche worked at Junction Point as a designer on Epic Mickey, and while neither studio has instituted a policy of internal game jams yet, Rebouche said his participation in external jams have convinced him that this is the way to go. "I'm really here to make a simple proposition and not much more than that," he said. In his view, game studios should be doing game jams during "soft periods" -- before holiday breaks, between projects, and the like. He believes these jams can increase creativity, team cohesiveness, and job satisfaction.To help define the term "game jam" at his presentation, Rebouche showed Kyle Gabler's (World of Goo) keynote from the 2009 Global Game Jam. "This is a very valuable team-based exercise," said Rebouche, and not just because it will help the team, but because it can also help the business.
Not only have some "titans of indie gaming" such as World of Goo and Crayon Physics Deluxe come out of game-jame-style rapid prototyping, but if you know you have a major project coming up, you should set a theme related to that project and jam on it, he said. "Ideally a theme should be a leadership directive," said Rebouche. For example, "If you're working on a game that's about aliens coming to earth, you might want to work on a game on the theme of 'oppression,'" he said. Rebouche also said game jams should also "encourage role-switching." In a major modern studio, "the disciplines get very separated, and they tend to lose sight of how hard people [in other disciplines] work, sometimes."Switching roles "can teach you a lot about the complexities [others] deal with on a daily basis," he said. "If you can understand what stresses people are under in their daily lives, you can better understand who they are as a human being and how to work with them." Of course, on major projects, developers are working on very small pieces of the overall game for many years in a row, and thus lose a sense of their place in the context of the project, particularly at lower levels."People tend to get bogged down on projects," Rebouche said. "You can lose the sense of what you're doing -- lose the love," he said.
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