FOR SCIENCE! UK Game Jam ExPlay 2012 This Weekend

A picture from last year's jam.

My home represents the ideal. I am a gamer, my wife is a scientist. And combined, our interests make us THE GREATEST COUPLE ON EARTH. (Except she hates games.) Presumably modelled on our union is this weekend’s game jam from the Wellcome Trust – a science-themed event called ExPlay 2012. (The same Wellcome Trust who are supporting this year’s Make Something Unreal, as it happens.) Taking place tomorrow and Saturday in Bristol and London, it aims to combine the hardcore explorative processes of game making with the mysterious magicks of science.

I love this sentence from the jam’s site:

“Open to teams and individuals, the Games Jam will be led by expert bio-medical scientists from the Wellcome Trust, who will reveal a theme at the start of the 24 hour period during which participants will work round the clock to create a brand new, playable game.”

There’s one taking place in Bristol at the Pervasive Media Studios, and another in London at the Science Museum, both starting at 6pm Friday night, finishing 25 hours later early Saturday evening. (Except, er, they’re closing both buildings overnight, so teams will have to relocate until 9am the next day, which is a bit odd. Presumably this is because all the exhibits come to life at night time, which would cause distractions.)

This is all part of the Wellcome Trust’s initiatives to try to make people stop hating scientists so much, and scientists stop hating people so much, so maybe one day we can get past the genetically modified food thing and learn to get along. The yet-to-be announced theme will definitely be a biomedical one, and part of the jam is to have the place staffed by proper actual scientists to consult with the developers. If we’re not careful, we might learn something.


  1. Tom De Roeck says:

    She *hates* games? or just *certain* games?

  2. Fontan says:

    I’m both a gamer and a scientist, although completely unrelated to anything biomedical or the UK, for that matter. A shame.

  3. Mr. Mister says:

    I’m a gamer studying two careers, Maths and Physics, in order to become a theoretical physicist, and I’d love to shout at every develpoer there who stopped at the Newtonian level of physics engines. We need something more than just relativistic Asteroids!

    • westyfield says:

      Shout out for physics students! I too would love some sci-fi space combat games that take relativity into account. Battles like those in Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space series would be incredible.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      It’s dangerous out there, take this:
      link to

    • Bobtree says:

      Games still have a long way to go in the Newtonian dynamics department. Every time RPS writes about fake game doors that can’t open or regular ones you can’t destroy, I cringe.

  4. kwyjibo says:

    The Wellcome Collection’s latest (and still ongoing) exhibition is on transhumanism.

    It doesn’t feature Deus Ex once, idiots.

    • Zetetic says:

      Yep. To reiterate my gamejam comment:
      I find it a little odd to see this while the Wellcome Collection’s current Superhuman exhibition ‘exploring human enhancement’ – which had space to show comic books (superheroes), books by Gibson, short films tackling the subject artistically and these unnecessary videos (when written pieces would’ve been better) – failed entirely to examine the rather popular and high-profile discussions of the subject in video games. (Even if you think they’re ultimately a bit cack, DX:HR is surely worth a mention?)

      • BubuIIC says:

        I really like this DX:HR trailer (Not really a trailer, but don’t know what else to call it)
        It brings up a lot of the associated issues of augmentation and the sound and visuals are really nicely done.

  5. Foxfoxfox says:

    Am I reading this right – it costs £80 to attend?

    • Shockroach says:

      Nah, that’s for the festival with a bunch of talks next month. The game jams are free but all the places are taken so they’ve taken the tickets off the website.

      • Foxfoxfox says:

        :( oh well at least the decision is made for me and I won’t have to cancel all my other plans this w/e!

  6. Gap Gen says:

    I want to make a Pro Evolution Football where you can breed the players to create new superplayers, and cull the weaker players before they pollute the genepool.

    But yeah, more science in games. As long as I stop being scared by Spacechem.

  7. Skabooga says:

    Gracious, but this Wellcome Trust is promoting some of the more boring fields of science. Genetics and genomics? Biomedical? Okay, something interesting could be done with genetics, but when you tie it to the dullness that is genomics, that’s just asking for bland. Also, I may be biased.

  8. gwinnell says:

    Be sure to check out the games made at the previous Wellcome Trust game jam. FOR SCIENCE!

    link to

  9. Ovno says:

    This would have been great for me & my missus, I’m an Ex-Physicist / Software Engineer / Gamer and she’s a Bio-Medical Scientist…