March 12-2020
“Be safe, make games”: Indie game developers in coronavirus hit Italy are having a “Quarantine Jam”

The outbreak of coronavirus has become a global concern now. The first case of coronavirus infection was recorded at a live  meat market in Wuhan, China, in December. It has since spread to more than 101 countries according to WHO, including the European regions, regions of Americas, Western Pacific region and parts of Asia.

Italy is one of the most critically affected countries in the world. The entire country is under an effective lock lockdown now and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte recently made an announcement that all shops would be shut except food stores, chemists and supermarkets.

Amid the quarantine, however, some indie game developers from across the country have found something to keep them busy and entertained – A Game Jam!

Named the “Quarantine Jam”, the event was ideated by Andrea Di Bartolo, a 3D artist and developer from CyberLab Studios.

Andrea Di Bartolo

Says he, “I was at home,here in Italy the government declared a total lockdown for the country, so I started thinking what can we do safely from home to keep people busy and entertained.Then I had an idea – a game jam!”.

Game jams are common across the globe, where a bunch of developers get together and create a game within a designated time, often around a single theme. Bartolo further says, “When I participate in a game jam I usually stay at home for the duration of it, so I contacted some other Italian indie developers and they all agreed and showed instant support and participation and so it started!”

The event will be taking place from Friday the 13, 20:00 (GMT+1) to Monday the 16th at 23:00 (GMT+1)

At the moment they have 205 people who have joined the itch.io page. Says Bartolo “At first we didn’t expect those numbers, but the word is spreading fast (faster than the virus we hope!)”.

Working remotely is possible and hence the organisers are connecting people together via their Discord server to make international teams.

The event is being organised by various Italian indie game developers and game makers’ communities. Among them are CyberLab Studios, Shuttle Studios, SviluppareGiochi and Dev Makes Games.

The organisation of the jam is being specifically done by Bartolo himself, Claudio Scamporlino – game developer, Samuele Sciacca – Youtuber and game developer, Samuele Padalino – game developer, Carmelo Ventimiglia – sound engineer and game developer.

While the world battles the spread of the now-declared Pandemic by WHO, people across affected areas are working remotely as more and more public gatherings across the industries are being curtailed.

“Our industry started quickly to make remote working available country-wide, it is possible to work from home at near maximum efficiency in this field, and for some indie software houses it is the standard even in normal conditions.”

Concludes Bartolo, “The main objective of this jam is providing both developers and gamers some entertainment while they are confined at home. If we can lighten up the day of just one person at this it will be a success for us, also we are supporting an initiative to donate money to various Italian hospitals that are in a very critical situation during this outbreak.”

The objective of this jam seems great and it is heartening to to see that so many developers have already taken interest.