What is Train Jam?
Train Jam is a collection of developers traveling via train to the Game Developers Conference and creating games during the ~52 hours it takes to arrive in San Francisco from Chicago.
When is Train Jam?
Train Jam will commence on Thursday February 26, 2015 and finish on Saturday February 28, 2015. This will allow people a bit of wiggle room to setup their booths and/or explore San Francisco before GDC which runs from March 2 - 6, 2015.
Who is organizing Train Jam?
My name is Adriel and I am an independent game developer most recently based out of Boston. In 2013 I traveled from Boston to Seattle via Amtrak's Empire Builder to attend PAX Prime and decided that it would be super fun to jam on a train across country with my fellow game developers. This will be the second official Train Jam, which I'm sure will be just as amazing as its inaugural version!
How does this work?
As in a non-train game jam, there will be a theme announced at the beginning and participants will have 52 hours to form teams, conceptualize an idea, and create a game.
As far as the train ride goes, I will arrange all of the train-related logistics. You simply have to meet the group in Chicago's Union Station where we will all get on a train and start jamming!
How much will this cost me?
Ticket prices are not finalized for the 2015 Train Jam event, but below is a description of the two types of tickets that will be available
Individual coach class: These tickets do not include meals or beds - simply a seat on the train.
Superliner Roomettes: These rooms fit 2 ADULTS (so yes, you will have a roommate!) and include meals, as well as access to showers and other such pleasurable amenities.
Please note that tickets will be NON-REFUNDABLE.
When do I have to commit by?
As soon as possible after tickets go on sale! . . .and definitely before January 14th (this is when I have to provide Amtrak with a passenger list). There will be limited tickets available and once they are sold out, a waiting list will open up.
What about food?
The California Zephyr includes a sit-down dining car that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (food in the dining car is included in the superlner roomette ticket prices). In addition to that, there is a snack cart that serves various snacks throughout most of the day.
I will try to organize some snacks, but you should plan to bring your own. Keep in mind that we won't have access to a kitchen, so any hot food you would like to consume for the 52 hours will have to be purchased in the dining car or snack car.
Uhhh... what about hygiene?
There are no showers included with the coach class tickets. There are plenty of bathrooms where you can take a pseudo-shower (i.e. wash your face, brush your teeth, and possibly rub some wet wipes all over your body).
But... if you order a coach class ticket, be prepared to be a teeeeeny tiny bit smelly upon your arrival in San Francisco. Don't worry though, we'll all be in the same boat (errr. . . .train?).
How in the world do I sleep on a train?
It may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but it can be done. With a coach class ticket, you will have access to a single reclining chair to sleep in. These chairs are fairly spacious, recline quite far, have a decent amount of leg room, and have foot rests as well.
Personally, I was able to curl up on a chair and sleep decently the two nights that I was on the train last year (though I am speaking as a relatively small person).
Can I get on the train before Chicago?
Yes! I will (most likely) be riding the train from Boston's South Station to Chicago's Union Station. This trip takes about 24 hours and stops at multiple destinations along the way. If you live in the Northeastern United States, you can find a location along the Lake Shore Limited line to join up with us! If you're arriving from anywhere else outside of that area, just make sure you're at Chicago's Union station at least 2 hours before the train is scheduled to depart.
What about the return trip?
You will be responsible for figuring out your own way home. Train Jam is only for the trip out there.
What about Wi-Fi?
There is no Wi-Fi offered on the California Zephyr. I am looking into a few different options on how to deal with this. The most likely solution would be that we will have a limited number of Karma Wi-Fi devices available. This means that though there will be internet available, there will be limited access to it. Keep this in mind when preparing for Train Jam (e.g. save as much documentation as you can to use offline, download your tools before hand, etc).
This sounds AWESOME!
I know, right?.
Train Jam 2014
BIG thank you to everyone who attended and helped with the first ever Train Jam event! This went better than I ever could have imagined, and I'm honored to have had so many talented and inspirational individuals take part in this event.
Thank you again to all of the sponsors of Train Jam 2014 listed at the bottom of this page!
Let's Play Some Games!
Here's some of the games that were created during Train Jam 2014. I'm still working on collecting them all, so check back frequently!
14 Seconds - Play Online or Download (PC, Mac, Web)
Michael Hutchinson, Adriaan de Jongh, Eline Muijres DisconnecTed - Play Online or Download (Web) Anson Goode, Tony Opp, Joseph Ruel, Jack Stephens Finger Bringer - Download (Android) Abdullah Hamed, Joel McDonald, Matt Hudgins, Andrew Gleeson Oculus Team - Download (Oculus)
Alicia Avril, Andrew Gleeson, Amanda Wallace, Eric Chon Shield Lord - Download (Mac )
Allan Lavell, Ben Swinden, Devin Horsman
Stars Will Guide Us - Play Online or Download (Web)
Disconnect - Download (Android)
Rami Ismail, Brice Puls, Benedict Fritz
Spidren - Play Online
Waiting For Ganondot - Play Online or Download (Web)
Alicia Avril, Amanda Wallace, Andrew Gleeson, Eric Chon, Eric Robinson
War Cry 3 - Play Online or Download (Web)
Ben Geisler, Norm Nazaroff, Zac Vasquez, Mack Diedrich, Curtis Zuehls, Brittany Arnett
Zero Bars - Play Online or Download (Web)
Off The Grid - Play Online
Ryan Wiemeyer, Jamie Sanchez, David Laskey, Chris Wade
Slow Disconnect - Play Online
Adriel Wallick, Andrew Gleeson
Station 27 - Play Online or Download (PC)
Brice Puls, Benedict Fritz
Space Jeff - Download (PC)
Lucid Sense Deprivation - Play Online
Nicholas Ralabate, Quincy Jermy
DiscoMath - Play Online
Bruno Campagnolo de Paula
Window Vistas - Download (Mac)
Kaho Abe, Ramsey Nasser, Heather Kelley, Ivan Safrin