My disastrous attempt at joining four game jams simultaneously
What’s up with game jams these days? How come making game has become such a popular hobby? In the past, I usually would have to wait several months for Ludum Dare, and occasionally there’d be game jams popping up now and then. Well now, just look at compohub.net for the list of game jams crammed within the last weekend:
That’s eleven game jams going on exactly at the same time! I’m not complaining… does it sound like I’m complaining? I just think it’s crazy. How can people participate in all of those jams? I know you’re not supposed to do that, but jams are not like movies. They don’t stay a couple months in the theater. Well you know what’s even crazier? Trying to participate to as many jam as possible, with one game! So I joined the madness and did that.
I wouldn’t say this post is about what not to do. I’m sure it’s doable and it would be quite a feat. Just letting you know though that my attempt was pretty disastrous. I wouldn’t say it’s really a failure. At the end, I got a game that seems to have potential. But if you do want to try to cram four or more game jams into a single game, I think you’ll find this post useful.
One game to join them all
There’s many jams I had to cross out.
- The Interactive Fiction seemed more like text base, or at least story based.
- I was thinking I’d join Indie Quilt, but it actually requires Unity. It seems really interesting (a game collab made by several dev for a game to be sold for charity). Hopefully I’ll be able to learn Unity by the deadline. It’s piece of cake, right?
- At first I wanted to join GDSE, but somehow it needs an stack exchange account with a reputation of 5 to join. What kind of elitist sh*t is that? I can’t join with my reputation score of 1, which I got just by creating an account?
- Nine Worlds Game Jam seemed like it was location based. It seems to require reading a book, which I’m not good at.
- Ripples of Change… I could still make that one, but I really don’t have any good idea to make a game with water.
- I was thinking of joining Arbitrary Gamejam 12 this time, but I really couldn’t understand any of the themes. I know the definition of each word was spelled out, but I couldn’t really visualize what each word really meant. Why can’t they pick a theme like potatoe?!
- Ruled out the ASCII game jam. I didn’t make ASCII art since my first game ever, about twenty years ago.
At the end, there were four games jams left. (five if I include OneGameAMonth, which I usually join automatically). Alpaca Game Jam, Epic Game Jam, Monster Mash, and Spectre Game Jam (not mentioned on compohub.net).
Like I mentioned before, if you’re going to have a game in multiple jams, you might end up with a mess of random ideas. I pretty much got what I asked for.
For monster jam, I just had to make my main character a monster so that was easy. To join alpaca, I had to include destruction. That’s the reason I added the ability to destroy bricks with bombs. The theme for Spectre jam was glow. It had other themes too, but glow was the obligatory one. I’m sure they will roll their eyes when the only way I could include the theme was: “collect the glow thingy to finish the level”. Yeah that’s kinda cheap. Now there was also this epic game jam. Turns out Epic Game Jam by itself doesn’t have just one theme, but something like 20 themes. I know you don’t have to do all of them, but some of the elements in there are quite tempting. Also, I’m not sure I did quite well with the main theme (“First Time”… hey it’s my first time drawing pixel art for my game!). So I tried to include a few of their subthemes (Rainbow duck, Red haired turtles, alcoholic carrot…).
For all the art, I used the makepixelart tool, which lets you make pixel art online. I found this tool to be quite amazing, except for not having the ability to import pixel art I produced. (well I’m sure they have that ability if I paid the $2 they ask for…)
Need better time management
I think what I needed for making this game is better time management. I really just crammed a lot of ideas into the game before I actually had what I could consider a game. My friend was also giving me ideas, but it really took a while before I could stop cramming ideas and really make the game. Also, that weekend wasn’t completely free for me. There was World Cup and July 4th, and I have to eat! I give a lot of excuse, but really the culprit was Civilization 5, which I keep getting addicted to. I really need to control myself.
The game was realized unfinished for Alpacala and Epic Game Jam so I had to finish it the next day. I really thought I’d make Monster Mash deadline, but compohub.net had the time wrong due to the difference of time zone, so I missed the submission deadline (which is a bummer since it’s really the one jam where my game really seems to fit). I also submitted for Spectre game jam, but given my dodgy interpretation of the theme, I don’t expect much.
At the end, this helped me get out Darwin Gator, which had a unique gameplay that I’ve been wanting to experiment with for a long time: A puzzle platform game with one-button control (because it’s designed for mobile).