Textile Game Controllers Jam

Saturday, May 30 – Thursday, June 11, 2020

How can electronic textile techniques be used to create bespoke, alternative game controllers?

This game jam will provide participants with the opportunity and support to apply the skills introduced through the Textile Game Controller Workshop Series (2018-2020) to fully developed e-textile game controller prototypes.

Registration closes May 27. Please note that we will be delivering materials kits to all participants on foot and by bike in the GTA only.


Day 1: Saturday, May 30, 12-4pm
Launch, Testing, Developing Teams, Concept & Project Development

Day 2: Saturday, June 6, 12-4pm
Project Development workshop w/ check ins, co-working, office hours

Day 3: Thursday, June 11, 6-8pm
Show & Tell


For this jam we will use the Adafruit Circuit Playground as the brains of our game controllers. Everyone who attends will receive one of these boards to keep. Our e-textile sensing methods will include digital switches, analog sensors, and capacitive sensing pads made with a variety of materials including conductive fabric, thread, and fibre. Possible techniques for sensor making include sewing, embroidery, ironing, gluing, and felting. All of the needed materials and tools will be provided.

As a participant you have the option to bring your own team if you have people you know you want to work with, to be matched with a team if you’d like to meet some new collaborators, or to do a solo project.

For the game controller prototypes, self-directed approaches are welcome but if you need guidance we will have plenty of project examples and tutorials to get you started.

The game controller that you create can be used to control a screen-based game, either a game that you’ve already made or a game that already exists. You might even be able to work up a little game sketch during the jam that you can use to test your controller. Alternatively, you can choose to make a hardware-only game that uses the lights and speaker on the Circuit Playground board to provide feedback.

Your game controllers can take the form of a holdable (like a traditional game controller – something you can hold in your hands), a wearable (a game controller that lives on the body), or a game controller that’s situated in the space around you (lives on the floor, wall, table top, etc). After many weeks of being glued to our keyboards and mice we are very excited to make new physical interfaces with you!


WHAT: A multi-session sprint focused on the development of textile game controller prototypes
WHEN: Due to the new remote format we’ve extended the game jam over several weeks. Saturday sessions are 4 hours long, some of which will be spent on Zoom and some of which will be spent making with optional contact available via Slack. The jam will conclude with a Show and Tell which will be open to other DMG members who are interested to see what was made!


This is an interdisciplinary jam! We welcome people with experience in any of the following areas: game design, game development, electronics, coding, electronic textiles, non-electronic textiles, fashion, and beyond!

This jam is not restricted to DMG members so that people who have experience with textiles or electronics but are new to games can join.


This game jam is part of a partnership between OCAD University’s Social Body Lab and game:play Lab and Dames Making Games, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Engage Grant. We will have lots of our team on hand to support your prototyping including Kate Hartman, Yiyi Shao, Olivia Prior, Chris Luginbuhl and Manisha Laroia.


We’re bringing the jam to you! This game jam is very materials-focused. Each participant will receive a bespoke Textile Game Controllers Kit that contains a Circuit Playground, e-textile materials, and the sewing and crafting supplies necessary for the techniques that will be used in the jam. Kits will be packed safely, using gloves and masks. We will be delivering these by foot, bike, and car so will require your address and phone number so as to be able to coordinate drop off. Our hope is to be able to bring some of the tactile awesomeness that we were expecting from our in-person game jam into your home environment!


You will need a computer and internet access. Software tools that we will be using include Zoom, Slack, and Arduino + libraries, so you will need to be able to install this software on your machine. The Circuit Playground requires a standard USB connection. If your computer has USB-C ports you may require a special dongle.


Because we are distributing materials in advance, we do ask for a fairly firm commitment to participating in all 3 sessions. That said, we know it is a dynamic and demanding time, so if last minute emergencies come up please just let us know.

If you require any type of accommodation to make participation easier, please let us know and we will see what we can offer in this new format. Unfortunately we’re not able to offer child care but your kids are most welcome to peek into our Zoom calls and we of course understand if you need to pop in and out.

We will also be careful not to keep you on a 4-hour Zoom call. We are working on support materials such as videos and diagrams that can be reviewed asynchronously so that learning can take place in a variety of formats and at different times.


Never jammed before? Never made a game? That’s ok, we’ll make sure you have resources and support to make this a great experience! Drop us an email or find Jennie, Izzie, or Kate Hartman on Slack if you have any questions. Be sure to join the #textile-controllers channel, too.


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Interested in joining DMG? Dues are $10 per month. Members get discounts on paid workshops, access to private events and studio sessions, member jams, and more.

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