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The Global Game Jam Community Spotlight: Ben Pritchard & Bullion

Ben - Bullion on a Cinema Screen

The Global Game Jam Community Spotlight tells stories from the amazing people who participate in GGJ in one way or another.

 

UK-based grassroots game studio Leda Entertainment's latest game is Bullion - The Curse of the Cut-Throat Cattle. 🏝️‍☠️

 
"Hi! I'm Ben Pritchard, a grizzled old coder

with enough 2D art and audio design ability to be dangerous and co-founder of UK-based grassroots game studio Leda Entertainment. "What's a grassroots game studio?" - I'll come onto that in a bit! I'm also the principal game designer, gameplay programmer and chief post-it note wrangler for Leda's latest game "Bullion - The Curse of the Cut-Throat Cattle".

 

While Bullion did not start out as a Global Game Jam project, it could have been very different - or still languishing on the drawing board! - had it not been for GGJ: it was at my first jam in 2016 that I met Matthew Isteed - a 3D artist on the same team as me, who ended up joining the Bullion project and it was thanks to his skills and enthusiasm that we were able to take what had up to then been just a concept into full development. Additionally, other GGJ events I have attended since then have provided knowledge and connections that have been invaluable in shaping Bullion into the game it is today.

 

Bullion Gameplay

 

I've attended a number of jams since then, and at a number of different locations thanks to moving from the London area to Gloucester! My favourite site has to be LondonMet Accelerator (2016/2017): amazing energy, everyone there was well up for working with new people, and the games I was involved in making took me in directions I hadn't even considered... "Tipris" (2016) is probably the best example of this - it was a puzzle game where the player had the ability to seperate into two forms, and you had to coordinate the movements of these two to solve each room. The team for this was eight people and despite being a programmer, I barely wrote a line of code in this one - instead, I ended up in more of a project manager role, coordinating the rest of the team... experience that proved invaluable for Bullion, and has also spilled over into my day-job career!"

 

"Global Game Jam and it's community is awesome in how it brings together people who share the love of making games and provides them with the opportunity to further their skills and abilities."

 

Bullion at Bristol Comic Con

 

"Coming back to the "grassroots" game studio thing, I believe "indie" has grown too big: it's everyone from solo bedroom coders to ex-AAA developers... it feels like 99% of the games industry! So we describe Leda Entertainment as "grassroots" because we're about people - both players and developers, and this is why we think Global Game Jam and it's community is awesome in how it brings together people who share the love of making games and provides them with the opportunity to further their skills and abilities.

 

Ben - Developer Central

 

I'd definitely recommend joining GGJ to anyone who has started dabbling in making games - although I would say that to get the best out of a jam, you want to be at an in-person site (Discord is great, but nothing can beat the spark of actually being there!), and take the time to find out about your chosen site: I ended up working solo one year because when I turned up at the site, I found out that all the other jammers were students on a game design course, and they were all in pre-made teams! That's not to say that I didn't have a good time, but it was missing some of the energy that previous jams had had...

So here's to future jams, to the knowledge that will be shared, the friendships and connections that will be made, and ultimately the games that will grow from them - for an example of just what is possible, check out www.bulliongame.com!"