Participate in Game Jams!

The end of January means that we can take part in Global Game Jam again! And as a site organizer, I’m highly encouraging you to participate this year! No excuses! πŸ€“

Taking part in game jams is, in general, are a great experience and a place where you can meet new friends! πŸ™Œ

Don’t believe me? Let me elaborate on that a little bit more. 🀩

What is a game jam? πŸ€”

Participants of LubJam 2020

If you are new to game dev, you may not know about the greatest thing about this industry – game jams!

What are they? You can think about it as hackathons but for game developers – contests for making games, often with limited time.

Rules may be different for every event, but you should write your code and make your assets in general. There might be some exceptions to that, but it’s up to the event organizer to decide.

My jams!

The first game jam I’ve attended was in PoznaΕ„ back in 2013 or 2014. It was a charity game jam where I failed to make something complete. The first lesson learned – don’t make too complicated things in very limited time. 😬

After that, I had a chance to take part in other game jams over Poland and in the USA. Each of these events was unique in some way or form. Some of them were at conferences, some in theatre, and some were at universities.

As I mention earlier, game jams are great places where you can meet people who are also making games. In my first jams, I was making games with people whom I never met. After some time, I was going with my team, but I like to challenge myself to work with strangers from time to time. Maybe I’ll do that this year? πŸ€”

Brainstorming at Las Vegas Summer Game Jam 2018

Until this year, I was only attending game jams with real locations as it was easiest to meet with people and work together. This time it will be different as we still have restrictions in Poland about a gathering of people, but would it stop us from having a great time? Definitely not!

How you should prepare yourself?

Before you attend a game jam, you should prepare yourself for the next who knows many hours of jamming. Speaking of my own experience will have to prepare yourself mentally and physically.

Take a good rest before the event, go for a walk, clear your mind. Game Jam may not be a marathon, but it isn’t a sprint also. It’s something in between, so you have to be wise with your work. πŸ˜‰

During the game jam, don’t be afraid to take a break. Go and speak with other teams, check their work, play their games. You are part of that community, so be nice!

Meet people on game jams!

I would also highly recommend making some SMALL (really small), as you will encourage many obstacles down the road, and you will have to rush your game to the finish line. Believe me, I’ve been there and done that… πŸ˜…

Have a plan for a jam!

Of course, you have to have some plan. The good idea is to do things that you have experience already – programming, game designing, making art, recording music.

For me, it was mostly programming, that’s what I do for a living. πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

But you can put some twist on that! For example, make a game in a new way, use a different design pattern, and approach problems differently. The choice is yours. πŸ€“

Have a plan!

Yes, I’m a site organizer

Since 2015, I’m site organizer for LubJam – site of Global Game Jam in Lublin!

I always encourage people to participate in this event, even if someone doesn’t have any game dev experience. For those people, this is a great place to check if they like working on games and understand how this works!

LubJam is just one of many sites for Global Game Jam, and you can find sites that are “closer” to you on their website. Go and find one is near you!

Yay! Stage!

But Global Game Jam isn’t the only game jam. There is much more, and you can find them on pages like itch.io or indie game jams.

Just do it!

It doesn’t matter if you have an experience or not. You always be welcomed at such events. You will have an opportunity to learn something and meet new people. Someday you may fund a game studio together with people you met there? πŸ€“

So do you plan to attend this year’s Global Game Jam? Or maybe you have plans to do other game jams? Let me know in the comment section below! Of course, don’t forget to share what you’ve made!

In a mean-time, sign up for the newsletter to be notified about my next posts!

Hope to see you next time, and good luck making awesome games! πŸ€“

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