How to survive a GAME JAM?!

The Global Game Jam is the event to be part of, soon. So we collected some points you should consider, especially when this is your first game jam:

- Don't try out new tools - use engines, frameworks and things you know (or even invented).
- Use programs like GameMaker and Unity or frameworks like FlashPunk and LÖVE2D which were built to make games.
- There are several tools to make your life easier, like sprite editors, level editors, etc.

- Try not to make a whole game, instead experiment with ONE gameplay feature.
-> Or: Remake a simple game, but with a new twist or a different style.

- Also graphics should be a simple as possible.
-> Think also about drawing footage on paper and scan it. Be creative!

- Try to not work alone, shared fun is double fun!
- Communicate to others what you can do best (programming, graphics, etc. - or even subsets: pathfinding algorithms, pixel art animation, etc.). Team up with like minded people with other skill sets.
- Talk to your team members and find out what they're interested in.

- Breath, eat, sleep. Go out for a walk. You have three days, use them well, but not only for working.
- Talk to other teams! Look what they are doing. Show your work. Don't get stuck with yourself!
- Sleep! Ideas and solutions to problems come up better when you are fresh minded!
- Don't just eat sugary stuff and pizza. Bring also fruits and vegetables with you, and don't forget to drink much. Or you will just feel full and immobile.

- Your first idea turns out to be stupid? No problem! Start anew, instead of trying to work around (and painting yourself into a corner). Remember: "If you realise you're riding a dead horse - dismount!"
- Don't immediately start with your first idea.

- Most important lesson! There are plenty of game jams over the year. This doesn't need to be the best game you ever did. Just relax and enjoy being part of it!

If there are more suggestions you would like to add, write them in the comments! We would be pleased to hear your experience.

3rd place and further plans

The voting phase of Ludum Dare 22 finally ended and my hopes to be in the Top 50 were fulfilled - even more than that. "Soliloquy" is on the tenth place in the "Overall" category and, even more satisfying, on the third place for "Innovation". This really is something to brag about if there are 717 participants.

For me, Ludum Dare is about trying new things, and being rated by many fellow game developers so well in the corresponding category is really rewarding. Still, I stand to my rather ... negative port mortem, as this Ludum Dare made me feel very exhausted. But I saw that the next Ludum Dare in April 2012 will be an anniversary, a round 10 no less, so I'm tempted. :-)


In other news, there is, or rather: will be, Tri 2. "Tri" was my entry for Ludum Dare 20, a game about creating triangles in the game world and overcoming obstacles with them. The feedback for it was highly positive, so we are making a full version out of it as our first commercial PC/Mac game.


Of course, everything will get changed. ;-)

There will be a new setting, a new story, and more gameplay. There is nothing written in stone right now, so I don't want to spill most of the beans just yet.

But in order to keep myself motivated, I started a devlog on the forums of TIGSource, with status updates, thoughts about the process and the occasional screenshot. And we have even more plans with it: for the first time we want to try crowd-funding, for financial support of course, but also as some kind of marketing multiplier. The plan is to start a campaign in February, as soon as we have enough material, like a functional prototype, or concept arts from Jana.