Question About Game Jams

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Num_2224, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Num_2224

    Num_2224 Member

    Jan 29, 2019
    Hopefully I posting this in the right section.

    Simple question with obvious answer but how does one start to make a game within the restraints of a game jam. While I'm not the best at using GameMaker Studio and I can't seem to put myself to make a game within the time limit if it means the game is half baked. I like the idea behind them but can't go off into planning stuff in my head with nothing to show for it. Granted just creating something on a whim has also caused my to stop the project due to a lack of focus. Even with creating goals and organizing what to do, I still can't complete a game jam.

    If anything just wanted to vent about that. I'd say it's my lack of focus but tips would be appreciated.
    - 2224
  2. Niels

    Niels Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    Well because a Gamejam gives a clear theme, you do have a focus on what you want to create.
    Also because of the time constraints you have to keep momentum, which actually helps you finish something
  3. CameronScottCreations

    CameronScottCreations Member

    Dec 1, 2018
    That's the problem with game jams. It's basically impossible to create a game in 3 days or however long the jam is. Most of the games that have a feeling of completeness about them are the product of experienced developers bringing in systems from other projects. For example, save system, menu, display manager, etc.,

    Furthermore, most people overestimate how much they will be able to get done in the short time span and as a result you usually have unfinished projects. So in a way you are talking about the true art of the game jam, the true craft, and that is being able to accurately scope and deliver on game design plans in the given time frame. If you can take the theme, and say, this is what we will do, and we will have x amount of work done in x days and actually deliver that amount of work and a relatively finished product then you've succeeded, bravo! The real art and craft is managing game scope and delivering.

    Game jams aren't for everyone. I'm thinking most people don't participate in them and for good reason. They demand a lot and offer little reward. It's usually more rewarding to give your time to your current long term projects. However, one way game jams can be good is if you want a break from your current project to work on something totally different. For example, maybe you've been working on a Card Collection Game for a year and a half and just want to make a simple shooter and take a mini vacation from your long term project. A game jam can be a perfect excuse for this and gives you the opportunity to share with others in the gaming community. For some, that can be rewarding enough on it's own.
    woodsmoke and Lonewolff like this.
  4. Widget

    Widget Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    Game jams are mostly used for practising developing something quickly and testing out ideas. This helps for development of you actual games afterwards. It's also a way to actually get something done, rather than being stuck working on a single project for months. The idea isn't to make a full game, it's really to learn and have fun.

    No one expects much from a jam game, even if you're unsure about it I'd still recommend doing one to any bedroom developer, you might like it and probably improve some aspect of developing games.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
    woodsmoke and Rob like this.
  5. Toque

    Toque Member

    May 25, 2017
    I like the description “it’s all about learning and fun”

    I did my first GM jam last time. A great experience. What really made it possible was teaming up with someone. It’s fun and a great motivator.

    You are more inclined to finish because you don’t want to fail someone.

    There is a thrill of the pressure as well.

    The personal reward of finishing a task.

    It’s fun being part of the jam community.

    Make a very simple game. You will more likely finish it. If it’s bad or wierd no one will care. Test out a crazy idea. I hope you try one.
    CameronScottCreations likes this.
  6. Michael Bateman

    Michael Bateman Member

    Jun 25, 2016
    Random Tips:

    1) Be extremely time disciplined. Keep your idea minimal and then if you have time at the end, add to it.

    2) Use pre-made sprites, e.g. from kenney. My biggest issue in jams is developing sprites as well as trying to code the game. Unless you're talented in this area, it sucks up mega time.

    3) A lot of people use pre-made scripts, e.g. for menús, buttons, movement, etc. Can save remarkable amount of time.

    You certainly can go into a jam starting from scratch, but accept your final product will be very raw.

    Just try and have fun and be creative :)
    Toque likes this.
  7. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

    Jul 14, 2017
    1. Practice before the jam. Create "just for fun" form A to Z some very easy games i.e. endless horizontal runner, snake, space shooter, tetris etc.... take a small scope but you need to finish the game!
    2. Do not reinvent the wheel every time, prepare proved and working tamplets for menus, navigation, terrain building, player movement, camera systems, resolution management, settings etc... (if you've done point 1 you have this point theoretically already covered).
    3. Review what abandoned projects you have in the drawer before the jam... Very probable something will fit the jam needs with some small adjustments and polishing.
    4. Do not code anything before you don't have a clear concept, ideas and solutions on paper.
    5. You need to be fluent with the engine you work... within 3 days there is no time to learn you simply need to know how do things!
    6. Think small! In game jams the basic gameplay concept and idea is most important, not big stories and tons of details...

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