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.
Who is organizing Train Jam?
Adriel Wallick is an independent game developer most currently based in the Netherlands. In 2013 she 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 her fellow game developers.
When is Train Jam?
Train Jam will commence on Thursday March 15, 2018 and finish on Saturday March 17, 2018. This will allow people a bit of wiggle room to setup their booths and/or explore San Francisco before GDC which runs from March 19 – March 23, 2018. There will be TBD non-mandatory activities on Wednesday March 14, 2018 for attendees who arrive in Chicago early.
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, we 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!
We will have a non-mandatory pre-jam get together the day before the train leaves, where attendees will be able to pick up their information packet and mingle with their fellow jammers.
After the jam is over, we will have a Train Jam booth space available at GDC throughout the week where all of the games created during Train Jam will be displayed.
GDC generously provides us with space to show off the games created during Train Jam. As a participant of Train Jam, the games that you submit after the jam will be available for all attendees of GDC to play throughout the week of the conference! Purchase of a Train Jam ticket does not include a ticket to GDC, and access to GDC is not required to have your game available at the GDC showcase.
Okay…What IS a Game Jam?
A game jam is a gathering of developers who get together to design and create a game within a short span of time. For a more in-depth explanation, check out the Wikipedia page. Also, check out other game jams such as Molyjam, Global Game Jam, and Mojam
How much will this cost me?
We work hard to make Train Jam as affordable as possible. For the 2017 Train Jam event, the prices were as follows (we will have all of these ticket types available for the 2018 event, however prices will change):
Individual coach class $180USD: These tickets do not include meals or beds – simply a seat on the train.
Superliner Roomettes $475USD per bed: This ticket includes one bed in a Superliner Roomette room. These rooms fit two adults and include meals in the restaurant car, as well as access to showers and other such pleasurable amenities.
Family Bedrooms $550USD per bed: This ticket includes one bed in a Family room. These rooms fit two adults and include meals in the restaurant car, as well as access to showers and other such pleasurable amenities. These are much more spacious than the Superliner Roomettes, so you’ll have a bit more wiggle room!
Deluxe Bedrooms $700USD per bed: This ticket includes one bed in a Deluxe bedroom. These rooms fit two adults and include meals in the restaurant car, as well as a private shower and bathroom.
Accessible Bedrooms $475USD per bed: This ticket includes one bed in an Accessible bedroom. These rooms fit two adults and include meals in the restaurant car, as well as a private shower and bathroom. There is also ample space to fit a wheelchair, and all facilities within the bedroom are accessible for persons with physical limitations.
All bedroom prices are PER PERSON, and we will work with all attendees to ensure that everyone is comfortable with their roommate.
All tickets include all sponsor provided jam amenities including a pre-jam breakfast, snacks, coffee, and the opportunity to showcase your jam game at GDC.
Please note that tickets will be NON-REFUNDABLE.
What about food?
The California Zephyr includes a sit-down dining car that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (this food is NOT included in the Coach Class tickets, but IS included in the price of all bedroom tickets).
Snacks and drinks from the cafe car are generously provided by out sponsors, and options can be viewed here. If you have specific dietary restrictions, please contact me so that we can work through options.
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. Because we are traveling through many remote areas in the United States, there will be extremely limited access to any internet, including cellular data. 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).
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.
All bedroom tickets have fold out beds that will make your sleeping experience just a tiny bit better!