Have you ever spent two days with your pals creating a full video game from scratch? As far as I’m concerned, it seems to be a matter that should be handled by specialists and professionals, but that is just untrue. In my opinion, every game creator, whether fresh or seasoned, needs to take advantage of the chance to participate in game jams.
The inspiration and drive needed to develop a fantastic game idea into a finished product quickly may be found at game jams. Games like Surgeon Simulator, Super Hot, and Goat Simulator are just a few of the fascinating game concepts that game jams have inspired throughout the years.
What Is A Game Jam Exactly?
The inspiration and drive needed to develop a fantastic game idea into a finished product quickly may be found at game jams. Game jams are modest challenges with the main objective of developing a game quickly. Although they mostly concentrate on video games, there are representations for other types of games, such as board games. They provide a great starting point for game production, the chance to pick up new skills, and the opportunity to meet people who have similar interests.
While businesses or groups sponsor some game jams, others are held by private individuals. In any case, they’re intended to provide people a chance to offer their expertise without a lot of hassle or worry.
Participating in a game jam is a fantastic way to develop your talents and gain exposure to as many people as possible.
Why should Every Game Developer take part in Game Jams?
As someone who has worked in the game industry for a while, you probably already know what a “game jam” is. For those who are new and not familiar with the term, you’re probably thinking, “What is the point of a game jam?”
The equivalent of a hack-a-thon for game developers, game jams place time and, more often than not, thematic or mechanical restrictions on creating games, prototypes, tools, and other interactive elements. The games are occasionally assessed, and winners are given a modest award. Almost often, participation in game jams is free!
I’ll explain why you should participate in the next game jam, whether you are an expert, independent contractor, enthusiast, or total novice! You are motivated enough to win if you found this page by accident.
Getting a Grip on Things
A game jam could be a beginner’s first exposure to game design, development, graphics creation, and music composition. It is an awesome experience to learn all the tools and use them to create something fantastic. Those who are artists or musicians may work on music or art; if you are a creative person, you can attempt creating levels and mechanics. Game jams are the ideal places to work out different muscles without stress.
Jams may also teach you a lot of skills that are useful during the development cycle. Abilities in planning, collaboration, ideation, and prototyping. These are all required for larger projects. Despite my claim that the workplace is stress-free, there are nevertheless challenging time limitations. You can gain some much-needed experience here if you are not accustomed to working under pressure.
Your ability to do tasks quickly will increase if you participate in game jams. For instance, as a programmer, you will notice certain shortcuts to creating the same thing that is functionally the same but not as visually appealing in the code. And as a team, you’ll discover how to decide what to play much more quickly. Making prototypes will also teach you a lot of tools and techniques that you can use on complete games or future prototypes since you’ve previously used them and know what they work best for.
Game jams provide a clear objective for creating a game. It’s much simpler to devote your efforts to such a short timeframe when you have been set a deadline for creating a game from scratch. You will probably acquire a playable game in a relatively short time because you can’t build a game that would take months or years to complete. As a result, you may be more motivated to continue working on the same game even after the game jam. Many well-known video games had their beginnings in game jams!
Attending game jams may help you understand what it takes to create a finished game, especially if you’re a novice game developer. There may be a surprise for some people when they realize just how much must be taken care of to create a polished and enjoyable game. Joining a team will also educate you on how to create games when there are more individuals writing code or creating visuals. Since creating video games requires a lot of cooperation, this may be an invaluable learning experience.
Find Fresh Game Ideas
When you have a short amount of time, you don’t spend months designing your games and trying to come up with the greatest potential solutions on paper. You are essentially “forced” to begin creating a game without a clear vision when participating in a game jam. This can occasionally result in incredibly original game concepts but can also lead to complete disaster. Acknowledging this reality before participating in a game jam would be best. You may quickly learn to develop and make games by participating in several game jams over a year.
Without deadlines, it’s quite simple to “think of anything better to do” than your assignment. In game jams, the deadlines are very clear and rigorous, and you can see how much time is left in terms of days, hours, and minutes. A few seconds even! Fast decisions result from this, which would often prevent you from creating a playable game. You are not allowed to “sit back for a couple of months” during the game jam. You must complete and send it!
Restriction Promotes Creativity
In keeping with this, the entire purpose of participating in a game jam is to push your boundaries and attempt new things. When given a topic that is as nebulous as “repair,” “one button,” or “tiny world,” you must decide (a) what it means to you and your team and (b) how to create an engaging game around that interpretation.
Limitations foster creativity. If your request involves mechanics, you might need to consider unusual controller inputs, mechanics you’d never use in a typical situation, new media, and more. Working within these limitations might give you fresh, intriguing ideas for future work. After everything has been submitted and your project has been submitted, you will see what everyone else has submitted. You may find a ton of different interpretations, interesting perspectives, and inventions to expand your creativity.
Get Out Of Your Bubble
From a networking aspect, participating in game jams has many tremendous benefits. It doesn’t often happen that project managers, game designers, developers, composers, artists, graphic designers, and engineers get together in one spot to make games. The greatest place to seek your next team member is at a local game jam. Now, in 2022, you are limited to participating in online game jams, which brings me to my conclusion. Game jams are a great opportunity to get a game developer out of their bubble and he/she can learn lots of new things.
Reduces Resistance To Experimenting
You’ll be more eager to give things a try and determine if they’ll work or not. However, it depends on how long it will take to create and test the functionality. Therefore, a precise time estimate will be helpful. You never know if a seemingly insignificant feature may significantly improve your game. Thus, you must attempt. When I say experimenting, I don’t only mean adding new game features; I also mean using code libraries or, for instance, some items from the Unity Asset Store that will greatly simplify your life.
The Best Game Jams for Beginners To Participate In
Game jams are becoming more and more well-liked. They have only recently become popular as the urge to participate in these events developed along with the popularity and accessibility of tools for creating creative video games. They are a lot of fun, excellent for learning, and may eventually further your career.
We have compiled a list of the best game jams for beginners here:
1. Global Game Jam
The Global Game Jam distinguishes itself from most previous game jams I have participated in. It was a lot of fun because it was the first game jam I’d ever taken part in person. The Global Game Jam is held throughout the world. However, it is frequently on multiple sizable college campuses. There is frequently an age limit, but at our school, we held one that permitted high school kids to participate with a parental signature.
2. Game Maker’s Toolkit
GMTK, often known as Game Maker’s Toolkit, is undoubtedly one of the best YouTube channels for game creation. Each movie is well planned and exudes sincerity regarding the player experience. With almost 1 million subscribers as of this writing, it is no surprise that the GMTK game jam was the largest game jam of 2020. The production value and calming tones of Mark Brown’s voice alone are enough to encourage watching a video or two.
After the jam, GMTK’s YouTube channel produced a video with Mark’s top selections and honorable mentions. Additionally, many developments from other prominent YouTube producers attempted to make a game with the same idea.
3. Beginners Circle Jam
A YouTube channel, social media account, or development firm should not be promoted during a game jam, according to the philosophy of Beginner’s Circle Jam. The jam is genuinely inviting for newcomers because its only focus is learning how to design games. The first game jam was held in June 2020 with 97 participants; however, it appears that the development community has taken a liking to the event because the most recent jam in October had 2,777 participants.
4. Ludum Dare
Twenty years have passed since the first Ludum Dare. Certainly not that long ago, I wasn’t making video games. The game jam culture is now more accessible than ever, thanks to the new technologies. Hopefully, some people will feel Ludum Dare will be well-organized given its age. The community votes on the subject in the weeks preceding the development, which might take place over a few days. Other players assess the games in the weeks that follow. Your game is more likely to obtain ratings the more votes you provide for other games.
Additionally, the aforementioned has made some awesome Twitch feeds possible in which broadcasters play and review games in real-time. This is intriguing because you can watch while someone plays your game and gives you feedback while being there. Nervous at times, but all part of the experience.
5. Nordic Game Jam
The largest and maybe most significant game jam in the world is the Nordic Game Jam. It is where the concept for such an event first emerged. It takes place in Copenhagen every year and draws game creators from all across Europe, including remote regions of the continent and Scandinavia, where the culture of jamming is highly prevalent. After a 48-hour marathon, 200 games—possibly even more—will be submitted to the competition because this year’s edition will feature more than 650 creators. You may even be tempted to claim this is the unofficial game development world championship.
Game jams are a great opportunity to network with other developers, boost your coding skills, and exercise your creative side. You may join in a game jam even if you are a beginner with little prior expertise, and you should not pass up the fantastic chance to advance your talents. Game jams are an excellent opportunity for seasoned professionals to try out a novel game concept or technique. The built-in rating system of a jam offers instant feedback and is a crucial tool for creators.
So why are you still waiting? Go ahead and get your game jam on to see what you can make!
Studio icons created by Flat Icons – Flaticon
Global Game Jam logo by Global Gam Jam
Game Maker’s Toolkit logo by Game Maker’s Toolkit
Beginners Circle Jam logo by Beginners Circle Jam
Nordic Game Jam logo by Nordic Game Jam