Today I wanted to talk about Game Jams, what you can get out of them and the kind of projects that are developed during these events.
So let's start with what a Game Jam is, for those that do not know a Game Jam is a gathering of developers from all aspects of the gaming industry with the goal to create a game in a short period of time. These Game Jams usually last for 2-3 days however, some can be longer but the main aim of these events is to gather a small team of like minded developers and create a short game based on a theme which can vary from something simple like “Four” to more complex to “Shakespearean”.
Now that you know what they are you may be thinking where can I find these? Simple really either check out the indiegamejams website or just Google “local game jams” they are everywhere. Once you find the event get yourself a ticket, usually free, and show up at the event with whatever equipment you are going to need and just start Jamming.
I actually attended the Global Game Jam this year and loved the experience. It was my first Game Jam and it really gave me the idea of the kind of games developed at these events and the mentality and energy of the attendees. When I attended that Jam I was with two Artists that I knew from University as well as joining a team full of programmers and designers. Personally I believe that if you want to attend a Game Jam you should bring along some fellow developers that you have worked with before, especially at your first Jam.
So you have your tickets, your team, your equipment and your theme, what now? First of all don’t try to develop something MASSIVE, remember you only have a weekend, so focus on something fun and quirky with simple artwork and gameplay features that will be easy enough to put together with your team in the time that you have.
Some may be thinking why bother with a Game Jam? It sounds like a lot of work for little reward, but the point of these events is not to create the next AAA title that will generate millions in revenue. Instead the focus is to create new and interesting gameplay features while working around the short time frame and smaller teams. That said there have been a few famous games created from Game Jams that have indeed went on to generate millions in revenue such as Jones on Fire, Surgeon Simulator and Goat SImulator but the majority of the games made during Jams are simple short games that have not gained worldwide success, some of which can be found on the Global Game Jam website.
The reason we have decided to talk about Game Jams today is because we here at Late Panda have decided to run our own private Game Jam. We thought it would be a great idea to stimulate team workflow and test our development methods while building a portfolio of work. We will be meeting up on the 25th of November 2016 and staying in a house until Sunday night developing a game based on a random generated Game Jam Theme. We have decided to title our private Game Jam “House of the Rising Jam” due to it being set in a house and it being our first Jam, we thought it would be a funny twist on “House of the Rising Sun”.
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