A Maze Train Jam 2020 - Cape Jozi
When the whole world shuts down and you can't go anywhere.When your mobile game jam is halted, because the train you wanted to have it on won't leave the station.
What does a person do? Most of us just stayed in lockdown. But what do programmers do?
Why, they just build their own world with its own train station, where trains can go literally any place, real or fictional. Welcome to Cape Jozi!
Over the course of the year 2020 it became increasingly clear that the annual A Maze Train Jam could under no circumstances be held in the way we had initially planned the project. Our international guests would most likely be unable to travel to South Africa. There probably wouldn't be a train running to Cape Town. With the narrow space of a train compartment social distancing would be impossible. And last, but not least, Playtopia was cancelled for that year.
Always keeping a watchful eye on the developing global situation in the months before, we had put our heads together, whispered and conspired and when it was clear that the Train Jam could not happen in the way we were used to, Plan B was already in the works!
With the support of EDEN, MCSA and the partner festival Playtopia we were able to create a wholly new world in VR Chat. The final result was a floating Virtual Reality train station above the landscape of Cape Jozi, a visual mesh between the stunning view of Table Mountain and the bustling Johannesburg skyline.
Between 8 - 13 December 2020 creatives from over 13 countries like South Africa, Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya and Cameroon and many more gathered here to leave their own stylish mark on this immaterial place. They gathered, workshopped, drew, designed, performed, programmed and downright fabricated not only the train station itself, but also connected worlds, which can be visited via the trains leaving the station.
If you still struggle to imagine what any of this would look like, take a look the video below by Joe Hunting aka Little Poe, who shot a small documentary about Cape Jozi and the connected worlds in VR: