Pirate Jam 2017: Indie devs, making games, on a boat

If you ever wanted to know what it would be like to make a game in a week while sailing around south-east Asia, American McGee and six of his new friends will soon be able to tell you. They’re currently halfway through the world’s first Pirate Jam, which set sail from Thailand’s west coast on Friday – and as well as games, they’re making plenty of videos along the way.

Spinning off from the concept of other “moving game jams” like Train Jam, Pirate Jam has also factored in time for the devs to enjoy their unique location. Days are spent sailing, fishing, swimming, diving and generally being piratical, as well as spending 5 hours a day on-shore making games. It’s also worth noting that those crucial development hours are generally located in one of Thailand’s many beach bars (like the Woodland Lodge on Ko Jum), because that just makes sense.

…no, really, it does. As McGee himself explains, “Staring at a computer screen while aboard a sailboat is a recipe for instant seasickness. Whole lotta nope!”

Plus, things like electricity and desk space are in short supply on a sailboat, so it really does make more sense to invest in a decent, waterproof shore bag and lug your laptop on and off the boat each day.

Incidentally, there are actually two sailboats along for the ride – McGee captains the SV Synchronicity, while his friends (and avid sailing vloggers) Liz Cleere and Jamie Furlong captain the SV Esper.

The six developers hail from all over the world, with a wide range of experience. Some have AAA backgrounds, others are long-time indie creators. Ed Kay, Matej Navara, Evan Greenwood, Tucker Abbott, Danny Day, and Renee Blair are creating projects based on the theme of “impermanence” – and their games vary from virtual card-based mech combat to a text adventure explorer to a game where you play as an iceman, melting in the summer sun.

McGee is keeping everyone updated via his YouTube channel, as well as posting happy snaps to Instagram and the whole team are sharing bits and pieces via #piratejam2017 on Twitter.

With a few days of development still on the calendar for Pirate Jam 2017, we are particularly curious to know whether you’ll need your sea legs to play these games, or whether an eye-patch is really required. Updates as they happen, from onboard Synchronicity and Esper. (We are all obnoxiously jealous, by the way.)

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