The GMC Jam Suggestions Topic

Discussion in 'GMC Jam' started by Alice, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Lt. Farfetch'd

    Lt. Farfetch'd Member

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    I’ll also throw in my two cents, because if the suggestions on this topic are ever collated then I think a variety of voices is important.

    I attempted to whip up a game for the 10-day jam with a team. It almost worked out, but my finding was that Parkinson’s law was ever-present. My efficiency in most jams (whether online or otherwise) matches the allowed time. For me this explains why greater time did not mean greater quality or ‘more game’, so-to-speak.

    These days I’m not too sure of the demographic split among the more regular members of the forums. But for those who work or study during the week, I can see a clear incentive to maintain weekend jams.

    As raised by some others, the short format is pretty standard. At least from my experience lurking in these forums over the past ~6 years, game jams can vary a great deal, but the timeframe is a factor that is reasonably constant. Personally I appreciate that predictability, though I don’t think its loss would be any sort of dealbreaker.

    Everybody before me has raised good points, and at the end of the day jams are a beautiful thing for me because they are facilitated, judged and run by the community. Bearing these things in mind, I would say @dadio hit the nail on the head. The jam format can be a bit experimental, and there can be some variance. Be it 1, 4, 7 or 10 days - we won’t truly know the outcome until we give it a crack. And if the endgame is to have fun and learn then I’m sure both can be achieved irrespective of length. :)
     
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  2. curato

    curato Member

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    More time would have helped me this time. I am not sure about every time. I got about half way through the jam and realized I didn't have time to do all the artwork myself in time. Another day or two would have made the difference there. I had half a mind to advertise for an artist, but it seemed like there were several people that were programmers looking for artist at the last moment and not artist.
     
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  3. Misty

    Misty Member

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    The voice of reason.
     
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  4. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

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    Just a thought - if we were to try a 4-days Jam, I'd rather have it extend 24 hours before the current timeframe rather than some other setup (e.g. adding 24 hours after, or 12 hours before and 12 hours after). In other words, it'd be Thursday noon UTC - Monday noon UTC instead of the current Friday noon UTC - Monday noon UTC.

    Why such a setup? First it should be noted that the Jam timing is meant to save as much weekend for development time as possible - around 1st/2nd day for Eastern timezones and around 2nd/3rd day for Western timezones (with UTC weekend last from late day 1 to early day 3). So wherever we add the extra day, we don't get extra weekend time for pretty much anyone, but a workday time instead. Another thing worth mentioning is how Jam development is spread. It may vary across people and teams, but usually the first Jam phase involves brainstorming, while the last one has all these fixes, polish, putting the whole thing together and so on. In other words, the first phase isn't anywhere near as densely packed with development as the last one.

    So if we'd be adding extra workday 24 hours, we better have them at the first (brainstorming) phase - letting the ideas flow during the workday - instead of the final development phase, when most of the extra time would be "wasted" on work (or studies or whatever).
     
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  5. Misty

    Misty Member

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    Seems reasonable to me.
     
  6. Relic

    Relic Member

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    Very good argument there.
     
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  7. curato

    curato Member

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    I could see that if we had the theme the day before so we could think about how it needed to be set up so you could go full tilt when it started wouldn't be a bad idea. I was like 100% sure it was contrast it kind of blew my idea when I found out conquest. (not that was a big fan of conquest)
     
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  8. dadio

    dadio Potato Overlord Forum Staff Moderator

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    In spite of many people being quick to rain on Misty's parade about the 4 day thing...
    I think (for exactly the reason Alice pointed out) 4 days would be a good idea and really worth trying.
    I suspect with that extra "brainstorming day" we would see a general quality bump in entries...
    and we would possibly get a higher turnout as people had more of a chance to realise the Jam was running, before the "main chunk of dev time Sat/Sun" had already begun.
    So Dan, what do you think?
    Worth a whirl for the next Jam?
     
  9. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

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    Well, I can tell that if we (me and Siolfor) had that idea Friday afternoon (UTC), rather than Saturday afternoon as we did, we would probably have more time to polish our entry (specifically, I'd have the bullets prettified, clean up the HUD and particle effect the hell out of things). So, the first day having no idea what to make in the first place and actual development starting as late as the second day probably took some significant impact on our entry quality compared to if we had the idea ready at Friday afternoon.

    (the fact that the theme was neither CONTRAST nor CONSTANT completely throw my initial concept out of the window, and then when I glanced at Games Topic and found Dan's game titled "ALPS", I assumed that conquering mountains I had as my backup idea wasn't as original as I hoped)
     
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  10. Rob

    Rob Member

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    Late to the party as usual but for anyone who has more time in the week than on the weekend (such as me) a longer jam 4-5 days would be more appealing.
     
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  11. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

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    Ah, right, I wanted to touch upon this subject after the Jam, anyway. Could we perhaps try out the Thursday - Monday Jam the next time round, or maybe on some other occasion, or...?
     
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  12. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

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    @Alice :

    I'd well expect Misty to complain about unforced mistakes and argue for bending the rules to suit it, but I'm unpleasantly surprised that you'd follow suit as a leader.

    You've overplayed your hand and put too much time on things that players wouldn't notice in the midst of the action. You didn't stay flexible enough with your choice of topic and got burned. You should learn a lesson from that and apply it to future development, not trying to get a free pass on the lesson and changing the rules for round 2. You should set a good example for other competitors.

    It's not like I haven't made the same kinds of time management mistakes, in fact I did 3 times already (once with Starlight Convergence, once with my unpublished Jam #7 entry, and the latest with my unpublished entry for this current Jam). But the one thing I never did was arguing for the goalposts to be moved so that the missed shot would have scored. I also know Parkinson's Law well enough to recognize how pointless that would be if I fail to learn the lesson and improve on the skillset/toolset gaps that developing these entries revealed.

    For everyone else wanting to support the 4-day format, please STOP putting up arguments about how you could have done your entries better if you had more time. Anyone could have done it better if they had more time. Acting in spite of not having more time when you want it is what separated competitors that did well from others that did poorly, the prepared from the unprepared, the flexible from the rigid, and decisive prioritizers from want-it-alls. If you want an example of an argument I approve of, take a look at Rob's (#210). He focused on factors that can't be controlled by adequate practice and ongoing self-improvement, namely external commitments and scheduling.

    Until I see more sportsmanlike support for the 4-day format, I will stand my ground and say no. If so many of you are this hellbent on changing the timeframe of the Jam because of your own weaknesses in quick wit and rapid development, what else of the Jam wouldn't you kick and whine to change?
     
  13. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

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    @FrostyCat I would like to clarify a few things.

    First of all, I'm not exactly sure what you meant by "a leader". I guess it wouldn't be inaccurate in the sense of "one of GMC staff" or "someone who used to run a GMC Jam", but on the off chance you meant "a person who makes decisions regarding the Jam", I'm not one of these at the moment. So no matter how I adored or abhored the idea of the 4-day Jam in any form, I don't have any more power to decide that than most other Jammers.

    Also, it sounds like you misunderstood my intentions. The post seems to be based on an assumption that with 4-day format I hope to make up for my weaknesses and maybe rank higher than I generally do in 3-day Jams. That's what I gather from you mentioning the errors I have made, but most importantly from this bit:
    Please keep in mind that my post was in a direct response to dadio, who said:
    What I wrote about our entry having higher quality wasn't me saying "Our entry would be better with more time" as much as it was "Many participants' entries would be better with more time, ours for instance". So the point that "anyone could have done it better" is the point I tried to make myself, by giving myself as an example of "anyone". When I mentioned the merits of 4-days format, my goal wasn't getting ahead of others, but having the overall higher entries quality (as an avid reviewer, I do prefer having high quality entries to play through).

    I don't quite see how support for 4-days Jam would be unsportsmanlike if it affects most Jammers in the same manner. If there's anyone who wouldn't benefit from the extra brainstorming day, those would be people who already know the theme weeks ahead of everyone else, in a way making the 4-Jam setup more sportsmanlike compared to the 3-days one.

    Finally, I wouldn't exactly say I'm "hellbent" on changing the timeframe of the Jam. I won't deny I'm pretty enthusiastic - the extra brainstorming day sounds appealing, and yet it might avoid the severe problems 10-day format had (large scale Parkinson's Law + people being discouraged because they didn't have all weekend days free; there was also this awfully generic OVERCOME ALL ODDS theme). Plus, if we try out the 4-days format and it won't work, it will be a convenient reference for future discussions (as the earlier underwhelming Jam is for 10-day format). Be it the next Jam or maybe in a further future, I'd like to see 4-days format tried at least once, though I won't cry if it never happens.

    --- EDIT ---

    Ah, I've just noticed that remark about your unpublished entry for this Jam. If this extra day would allow you to actually complete this entry on time, it would be another reason for me to consider the 4-days format preferable, even though (or rather because?) it would mean more competition.

    (likewise, the humble turnout of the previous Jam is the reason why I don't think 10-days format is likely to work anymore)
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 10:22 PM
  14. Micah_DS

    Micah_DS Member

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    After more thought, I'm sold on the next jam having an extra day, starting Thursday.

    My main argument against it was that it'd be less of a challenge to help push me to increase my fast development and problem solving skills, but I just realized, if I really wanted to challenge myself in that regard, I could just do a GM48 jam anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ On top of that, if the GMC Jam further differentiates itself from the GM48, that makes sense to me as well.
     
  15. Rob

    Rob Member

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    Do you always have to be so mean to people?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 2:14 AM
  16. Toque

    Toque Member

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    Interesting conversation. As a newbie I guess I’m asking myself “what is the goal or purpose of these jams?”

    There is demand or desire for bigger more polished games? That’s the point of the jam?

    Higher participation is the goal?

    Everyone has their own personal goals for these jams? Impossible to please everyone.

    I have less time on the weekend so an extra day might help. But not sure it would. I don’t want to make bigger games. Small interesting or strange stuff. I will try again whatever time is decided. Not sure I would do ten days again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 4:20 AM
  17. Alice

    Alice Toolmaker of Bucuresti Forum Staff Moderator

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    I can't speak for everyone, but as a former Jam host and regular Jam participant, I'd generally like to see more entries, with higher overall quality and a good variety.
    Aside from that, it's an excellent opportunity to experiment and gather feedback (praise and criticism alike); speaking of feedback, having more reviews would also help.
    (though I suppose with more entries getting more complete reviews becomes quite a challenge)

    It's also because of these reasons the Jam hosts tried out different formulas, be it when it comes to restrictions (handicap or not, 3 themes to vote on, 3 themes to choose from, etc.; anyone remembers secret word?) or the timespan (like the recent 10 days).

    Judging from my experience, the best method to increase participation was waiting with the next Jam for half a year while relaunching the forums in the meantime, but I'm not quite sure it's easy to reproduce or reliable. *whistling*
     
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  18. curato

    curato Member

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    Honestly, I don't think the biggest hurdle to higher participation is the theme or the time frame (though they could help) I know I participated in one before and I started to this time but the idea I had didn't match the time I had to get it done (it happens). I know I am not always lurking on the forum every day. I have phases where I am on a lot and phases where I am on little to none. If I am on a lot and see it then I usually will consider participation if not I don't even think about it until it is long gone. Honestly, I think you need an email or something to get the news out to people that don't come here everyday. Maybe it should be an option on communication from yoyo. I get emails every time there is a new blog entry, but never hey there is an upcoming jam.
     
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  19. chance

    chance predictably random Forum Staff Moderator

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    Longer duration could increase participation, I suppose. Among people already inclined to participate, but have schedule conflicts, an extra day might allow them to join.

    An extra day might also make entries more "polished" and less buggy. Those factors are elements of quality, but they aren't necessarily elements of fun or innovative gameplay.

    So in the end, for a given set of games, I suspect the outcome would be the same. Whether the Jam lasts 3 days, or 4.
     
  20. Relic

    Relic Member

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    @curato I set this section of the forum to be watched- with emails sent to me when a new thread appears - which is usually 2 weeks before the next Jam
     
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  21. Rob

    Rob Member

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    that's a great idea
     

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