Making games is a stressful, indoor and often solitary job. Developers burning out from poor working conditions and unhealthy lifestyles is common. Pirate Jam offers participants most of what is missing from the lives of game developers: camaraderie, sunshine, playfulness, beautiful scenery and a break from the daily grind. And Pirate Jam does so while still being about doing what unifies game developers - making games.
I want to have a long career in games, I don't want to burn out and start searching elsewhere for meaning and survival. Every Pirate Jam I've attended has left me feeling refreshed and healthier, with a renewed passion for my career. I've been 3 years in a row so far, if I'm lucky I'll get to go again.
Being from South Africa, where the game development community is small, it's a real privilege to be able to connect with developers from around the world. Being able to ask questions and gather insights from an onboard Unity representative has been particularly useful, and I've taken that value back home with me.
I find the creative and playful atmosphere of Pirate Jam very conducive to doing good work. The routine of sailing from island to island, and the enforced downtime between jamming has helped me develop ideas more cohesively and communicate them better to my teammates. While every game jam produces unpredictable results, the ideas I've explored at Pirate Jams have been some of the more consistently well realized.
On top of everything else, traveling to Thailand with teammates and living on boats for more than a week was a fantastic opportunity to grow closer to the team I work with and share amazing experiences with them. Our company is stronger and more cohesive for being able to participate at Pirate Jam.
For a game jam that takes place on boats in Thailand Pirate Jam is brilliantly organized. In fact for any jam, Pirate Jam runs impressively smoothly. The participants needs are invariably anticipated, in the face of extreme conditions, and the participants are looked after with diligence and care. Making 20 game developers feel safe and comfortable AND productive aboard yachts is an exceptional feat.
I am immensely grateful to have been able to participate in Pirate Jam.
Sincerely, Evan Greenwood (Founder of Free Lives)