I volunteered for the Global Game Jam here in Vancouver this weekend, mostly out of curiosity.
This is a 48 hour event that takes place over 3 days. The theme is announced Friday night followed by 20 minutes or so to come up with an initial concept and pitch; teams form shortly afterwards (some go it alone, not sure if this is riskier or not). Many people arrive with sleeping bags and sleep at the site. Some try to make it the whole weekend through without sleep but I think one nights sleep is the norm.
There wasn't too too much to do there as a volunteer, so I thought I would take pictures.
Here in Vancouver, it was at UBC (sorry, no pictures from the first day, when it was actually sunny for a change).
As everyone had signed a release form, no problems with me taking pictures of people (something I don't normally do) so I tried to get candid shots. At least one is posed (easy to spot) but for all the rest it was a nice exercise for me to try and do things I don't normally try with gear I don't normally use. Given that I was mostly using manual focus lenses that are new to me and that it's kind of voyeuristic to take pictures of people unawares, I mainly took pictures of people I know. Plus I was there as a volunteer, not a photographer. So I am open to removing pictures, if requested. I take pictures for fun after all.
The book reviews for 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience' at Amazon are interesting. In this book Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Cheek-sent-me-high apparently) talks about the nature of 'optimal experience' - being that period when we are completely absorbed in something that is neither too easy nor too hard (so pretty much the type of experience that a game designer tries to provide). There are lots of names for this condition (runner's high, being "in the zone", skiers don't have a name for it but when you are hitting the bumps just right it feels like you can do no wrong) but the reviewers seem to have mistaken a temporary feeling of 'grace' (what my friend Alex Mandryka from GameWhispering.com would call "the very purest dopamine experience") for some sort of spiritual goal. Personally I have experienced it most often writing computer code, accordingly I have tried to capture that state of extreme focus in these pictures, at least to the extent that I can recognize it.
It was all pretty inspiring, personally I'm still jittery from artificial lights, lack of sleep and probably too much caffeine. There were energy drinks there, probably not a good idea for me - I'm not used to them.
Finally, the Games (for downloading):