[10 TIPS] WHAT I’VE LEARNED ON GAME JAMS

I’ve done a lot of finished as well as unfinished projects. I was on 17 game jams and 2 hackathons. On my last game jam, there were 5 of us in the team, yet we didn’t finished our game. It’s sad when so much work gets into trash, just because it’s unplayable. All the assets, a lot of code and music is going to be forgiven forever 🙁 I don’t want this to happen ever again. That jam is my (another one) lesson for the future. I write all things that we’ve done wrong for self-development purpuoses, and since It’s better to remember what to DO instead what NOT to DO, I will point out it in such way.

10 TIPS THAT HELP TO MAKE YOUR GAME TO THE END

What to DO on game jams: (to finish the game and maybe even win)

  1. Have at least one good and fast, experienced graphic artist (we lost our artist, and one of programmers become one. (it’s always a bad idea as you can see)  He was making background city in blender for ~16 hours…) I don’t remember any game jam when the winner team had no graphic artists at all.
  2. Select one main programmer for gameloop and main scene. Let the other make AI or menu etc. (on the new scene of course because repository is going to make shit :P) Change concept (and mechanics) slightly. Maybe if we had started totally new project in middle of a jam we’d make it. Maybe not. Don’t change core mechanics after design process have ended and everybody approved the idea.
  3. Merge everything before half of the jam. The gameplay and levels should work before half of the jam, min 10 hours before end. This is the most important thing in the game. There are always mini-features, bugfixes and sounds and music and menu and UI to do. Do it at the end.
  4. Make backups. Repository likes to mess up everything.
  5. Sleep polyphasically (or mono if you can’t). Tired people are so inefficient
  6. Organization. Use TODO lists like trello. Assign tasks to people. Write everything: list of assets to create by graphic artist, list of songs for musican, gameplay mechanics for programmer etc.
  7. Estimate time needed to create all assets and code. Multiply it by two and add time for bugs and screenshots, description etc. Make sure you have the time for everything and a lot of additional time, which will be needed for 100%. If you estimate it correctly, you will definitely make finished and complete game. We wanted to make too big game, and changed idea to many times, so we didn’t finished it. We would even finish it if we’ve organized in correct way.
  8. Make a repository before a jam. If working in Unity, everybody should have unique scene and later marge it using prefabs.
  9. Make sure every member of the team has the same vision of the game. Make moodboard and storyboard for the game. Point out all core mechanics and game elements. Design game screen, menu screen and so on on paper.
  10. Walk around, talk with people, play their games, ask about projects, have fun, learn new things, software, devices, professions, get in touch with the devs. Don’t sit all the time

Work in a team or alone, as long as you’re good artist and programmer it doesn’t matter.

I hope this conclusion will help you to finish every project you want to.

I encourage to share my blog, give a like and if you have other ideas how to improve game-jamming just write a comment below!

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