Hi everyone, I was busy in the last months, but I´ll continue updating the blog.
Today I´ll show some games that I helped to develop in Gamejams and a few tips for those who will participate in a Gamejam.
Here is the list of all my previous gamejam games:
CupZombies - https://odanielcamargo.itch.io/cup-zombies (GameJam +)
Space Rescue GG - https://globalgamejam.org/2019/games/space-rescue (Global GameJam)
Freedom - https://viasonhos.itch.io/freedomfreeyourself (2º Mix Game Jam)
Minitais - https://gamejolt.com/games/minitais/430664 (GameJam +)
Guardian Spirits - https://kaish.itch.io/guardian-spirits (GameJam +)
Kiri, The Little Shadow - https://itch.io/jam/mad-game-jam-2022/rate/1421086 (MAD GameJam)
Halloween Witch Night - https://diegogamedev03.itch.io/halloween-witch-night (GameJam +)
Ice Fire - https://globalgamejam.org/2022/games/icefire-4 (PlayCrafting Global GameJam)
Boom! Boom! Castle - https://alternative-control.itch.io/boom-boom-castle (Ctrl + Alt Game Jam)
Before entering a Gamejam you have to see if the Gamejam will be online or local.
It´s okay to be afraid of going to a local gamejam in your first try (plus we´re still dealing with Covid-19 worldwide). You can try a online gamejam to get some experience.
Itch.io is a good place to find good gamejams - https://itch.io/jams/
The most famous gamejams are:
Ludum Dare, Global Game Jam, Game Maker’s Toolkit, Nordic Game Jam, Game Jam +, Indie Game Jams and Weekly Game Jam
Now, here are the tips:
Who can participate in a Gamejam?
Anyone can participate, as long as they are over the age of majority (in most places it will be 18yo, but always check in the gamejam rules). People from ages 16 & 17 can participate with a signed parental permission slip. Underage jammers can also participate if they are accompanied by a legal guardian.
Experience is not necessary. Designers, developers, artists, musicians, knitters, gardeners, architects, everyone and anyone is welcome to try their hand at making a game. You can lean many new skills and support your team by contributing ideas, playtesting, and giving moral support. You could work on a non-digital game or a paper prototype, and then there's no need for code!
Do I need a team formed before the gamejam?
There´s no need to come to the gamejam with a team.
Most people will form a team on the opening day of the jam and you will get the chance to work with new people. You can also make new friends at the gamejam.
Keep it simple/short!
Try to create a game that can be delivered in the gamejam.
Most gamejams lasts only for 48h or a entire week, but some gamejams have even smaller time (like one hour) or can take a whole month!
Stick to the Theme!
Every gamejam will have a theme, and the majority of the gamejams will only reveal the theme at the start of the jam.
Participants start to work in teams, brainstorming and creating games around the theme.
Some gamejams can have diversifiers, dificulters and contest/prizes that are more bonus themes for your game, but you should stick to the ones that you can really work in your game.
Use a simple game engine
Try to use simple game engines or at least a engine that you are familiar to.
The most known engines are Unity, Game Maker, Unreal, Godot, Construct and RPG Maker.
Some gamejams will require a specific game engine, like RPG Maker Gamejam that you can only use RPG Maker or Visual Novel Gamejam that requires Ren'Py, TyranoBuilder or similar engines.
Brainstorm before you actually start to develop
Take your time with your team brainstorming ideas before creating a single line of code. It´s easier to develop a game when all the team have a clear idea about what they need to do, instead of rushing things and making something that wasn´t well planned.
Working against the clock while making a game can be very tiresome, but you´ll quickly learn which parts of a game must be cut in order to deliver the game. Publishing something with a small amount of time will help you in creating your own games after the gamejam and you get some managing experience with deadlines and dealing with team members.
The more jams you compete in, the better you get in managing your time and your team.
Gamejams are great places to meet like-minded people and get your name out there. Some famous indie games like Celeste and Hollow Knight even started in gamejams.
Joining gamejams allows you to make friends and create teams that you can share your gamedev journey with.
Even if you enter the gamejam with a pre-made team or by your own, you can make friends in the other teams or with the mentors of the gamejam.
Don´t try to create the 'perfect game'
It´s okay to fail and make a bad game in a gamejam.
The objective of a gamejam is to get some experience and your focus should be directed in finishing the game with yout team.
Cut unnecessary features
Quality over quantity. Remove things that are too complex or aren´t working in your game.
Experiment new ideas
Gamejams are great to foster your creativity.
Sometimes you can create games that are very diferent from the games that you will develop. It´s okay to improvise.
Just try to have fun while creating your gamejam games.
Use placeholder or free assets
If you have lack of artists or if the programmer is creating the game while the artist is still working in the assets, using placeholder or free assets will speed up your game´s development.
Don´t forget to add Audio do your game!
Even if you can only use free assets, don´t forget to add audio songs/fx to your game.
Adding these will bring more life to your game and can make your game even better.
Playest your game
Even if you only have a small time to develop your game, try to playest and get feedback of your game, that can improve your development and help you fix somethings that aren´t clear or are properly working for the player.
Get enough sleep and eat properly
Lack of sleep/food can hurt your performance during the gamejam, so take good care of your body and your teammates.
Some gamejams even recommend taking time to rest during the gamejam, and these breaks can help you to came with great new ideas for your game.
Submit a version of your game at least one hour before the deadline
Sometimes you can have network problems and can´t submit your game when you are closer to the deadline. Submiting a early version of the game can help you to submit something before the end of the deadline. And remember, you can try to upload another version until the end of the deadline. Some gamejams even give another hour after the deadline for late jammers that couldn´t submit the game.
Design a good thumbnail
Hundreds of games can be created in a single gamejam, try to come with a good name for your game, a good logo design plus a good thumbnail and screenshots of your game to differentiate yourself from the other games.
Even better if you can make a trailer and gameplay video, create nice text descriptions, complete with a section explaining the controls of the game.
Finish your game!
The main goal of a gamejam is to develop a playable game. Even if you submit a game with minimal functionality, at least you worked on a game from start to finish!
Learn from your mistakes
Gamejams are a great place not only to create, but to make errors and learn from it.
Even if your game fails, you can learn from your mistakes and try to make it better in the next gamejam.
Play other games made in the same gamejam
It´s a great thing to test any other games as much as you can from the gamejam, so you can compare your game with others ones made in the same theme. You can learn a lot from talking with other teams, while each one can benefit from giving feedback of the games.
Feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are starting your game journey.