For some of our readers game jams may be familiar, for someone they may be familiar but don't understand why people are so "hyped" about them. I'm going to drop my "two cents" of why game jams are important and why YOU should attend one as well.
Game jams are normally organized as "physical events" where people come together, join small teams and start making a game from scratch. By using game engines (like Unity, Unreal, Game Maker, Construct...) games can be made within hours, or sometimes during a couple of days or even weeks.
Nowadays a lot of game jams is being organized in platforms like Game Jolt and Itchio. All types of communities come together and make games from their home computers and share the game for the world to play.
Game Jams offer a perfect environment to get into making games, learn teamwork, programming, graphics, and other necessities to make complete games.
I'm going to list six of the most important things, why game jams are the best environment for anyone to get into making games:
Game jams offer a concrete goal to make a game. You have given timeline to make a game from start to finish and it's much easier to dedicate your time for this type of a small timescale. Because you're not able to design a game which would take months or years to finish, you will most likely get a playable game within very short period of time.
By doing so, it can boost your motivation to keep on working with the same game even after the game jam. A lot of popular games have started their journey from a game jam!
Especially if you're a rookie game developer, attending game jams give a lot of insight what it really takes to make a complete game. For someone this can be surprise to see, how much stuff you need to take care of when making a polished and playable game.
If you decide to join a team, this also teaches you how to make games when there are more people making graphics or code. This can be priceless learning experience, since making games is mostly teamwork.
4 DISCOVER NEW GAME IDEAS
When you have limited timescale, you don't design your games for months and try to figure out the best possible solutions on paper. When making a game on a game jam, you're basically "forced" to start making a game without a clear vision. Sometimes this can lead to very unique game designs, but sometimes into a total failure. When attending a game jam, this is a fact you should accept as well. By attending multiple game jams within a year, you start to learn how to design and create games in a very short period of time.
Without deadlines it's pretty easy to forget your project and "think something better to do". Game jams offer very strict and clear deadlines and you can actually see the time left as days, hours and minutes. Or even seconds!
This leads into fast decisions, which might normally keep you from actually making a playable game. During the game jam, you don't have an option to "sit back for couple of months". You need to finish and ship it!
2 COMMUNITY & TEAM BUILDING
A lot of friendships is being made during game jams. Especially if you join a game jam team. This can be very bonding experience for the developers and in many cases, the same team continues to make games after the game jam. This can be your "shortcut" into game industry, if you do your part well enough.
1 HAVE FUN
In the end, the most important part of game jams is to have fun while making games. When being at the game industry, it's easy to forget the "fun" part of making games and focus on the "business" side of everything. This can be devastating for game development careers. Game jams work as the best environment to remind yourself, why you wanted to start making games in the first place and why you're still making them.
I hope you enjoyed this article and got some "new" ideas for game jams!
Join our community of game developers!