Enschede is one of the great places to be at when attempting game design. This near foreign city at the border between The Netherlands and our German neighbors houses many game design-related studies. Game sound design at the conservatory, School of Art at the ArtEZ with many talented crafters and painters, the Saxion which houses not one but two game design studies: Game Engineering and Game Design & Production and last but not least the University of Twente which delivers great Computer Scientists and Creative Technology students. All of which didn’t work together. Like, at all.
I had a little conversation, like we always do on random moments, with a bunch of people from the university which I knew made games. We discussed the waste of so much potential for people from different fields to work on the same task, something big corporations also struggle with. Just like our very own University at the time (I was then still studying Industrial Design and wanted to work together with Mechanical Engineering, which didn’t happen).
Building the Community
We eventually stumbled upon the crazy idea of building a game design community. We hosted some discussion evenings where we created teams and brought people from all over town together due to personal and not so personal connections. A humble start of around 7 people including one of the teachers from that same university which had his own connections with the music scene. With people like that on board and a facebook group soon after, the community growing rapidly.
Eventually, we started to host some game jams where people were free to join us in a way too hot and under-ventilated room full of man cave fumes to build some games within a weekend. It was a great success! Also, we (me and Siewart, my partner and co-founder of Random Abductions and the community) hosted some lectures on game design, free of charge. Those also got the word around and now, after 2 years we are 138 h3. The facebook is filled with projects, art assets, cries for help, inspiration sources and Job descriptions. Which is great!