This is an article series of stories about the GDC scholar experiences in March 2022.
Jorge M. Carvalho, who’s been participating and contributing to the Global Game Jam ever since he first started as a student in the game’s industry back in 2016, is one of the Global Game Jam Scholarship recipients for GDC 2022. Jorge comes from Portugal and is Co-Founder and Lead Developer of Whales And Games - and a moderator for GGJ Discord server. He had always aspired to be at the GDC himself, but unfortunately with intercontinental travel costs included it’s been an inaccessible dream.
“However, I really yearned for the opportunity, as I felt it’d be a great leap in experience for me as a developer, as well as someone who can contribute to their local community!” Jorge says.
The prospect of a GGJ Scholarship helped Jorge to reduce the hesitation of committing to a trip.
“It was a huge joy to receive the email confirming I'd been selected! Of course, as we all know today, the COVID-19 pandemic ended up roadblocking the 2020 edition of GDC. I eagerly awaited the event's return, and it was finally this year that me and other scholars finally got the chance to make our way to San Francisco! And honestly, it was very well worth the wait!” he celebrates.
Global Game Jam Rountable at GDC 2022.
On the community side, Jorge looked forward to meeting with some of the other GGJ scholars and jammers; as well as the people he had the chance to meet online through the Games Industry Gathering.
“Ultimately, my goal was to grow our network of amazing and diverse people we know from the industry, both for our studio’s future, as well as for potential community opportunities and initiatives that could potentially come together in the coming years!” Jorge says.
Hanging out with the peers was the highlight of the GDC for Jorge, as it was to many other attendees. Taking part in the Global Game Jam Roundtable was one of the most important moments: “In fact, after the event, we even sat down to make multiple portraits in the style of Townseek of some of the key individuals that we shared our time with. From producers, to fellow independent developers, to community leaders, we got to talk a bit about every role, and learn a little bit of everything.”
Townseek-style portraits by Jorge M. Carvalho and his long-time friend and business partner José "Moski" Sánchez.
Jorge tells that GDC helped complete a leap in mentality that he had to take during the pandemic which is understanding that everyone in this industry is an equal and a peer.
“While as students we feel very compelled to put other developers on a pedestal and undervalue ourselves, it’s important that as we grow as developers to understand that everyone around us, be them in the indie, in the AAA, or in the education space, is just trying their best to create something memorable or potentially world-changing”, he reflects on the experience and continues:
“While imposter syndrome may present itself at times, one can help push against it by recognizing that learning and developing takes time, that skills improve as one practises more, and that everyone that has made the games one admires had to go through a similar process of understanding what they wanted to make and who they wanted to be.”
Jorge expresses his gratitude to Global Game Jam, both because of the numerous years of fun participating in the jam itself, as well as because of the personal growth that he has achieved, thanks to those experiences and the games made over the years. He believes the event will continue being an important part of his developer career for the upcoming years and of the overall game’s industry; especially as we start turning towards a new generation of jammers.
GGJ Executive Director Tim Cullings, José "Moski" Sánchez and Jorge M. Carvalho.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be at GDC and for the privilege of having received the scholarship, and this trip marks another important step on my growth both as an individual, as a developer and even for us as a studio. I’m incredibly grateful for having met Tim Cullings, several other Global Game Jam jammers, and for continuing to be a part of this incredible and diverse community!”
Jorge wants to encourage and motivate everyone to try applying for a GGJ scholarship once applications open again for next year’s edition.
“I especially recommend it if you come from an underrepresented or growing game development community, as you can come to make a huge impact in your local community! I wish you the very best, and cheers!”, he adds.
GDC 2022 venue.
You can read more about Jorge and his team, and their Global Game Jam Online experience from The Community Spotlight: Townseek.
All the photos provided by Jorge M. Carvalho.