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The Winners:

There were so many great games in this Jam! The good news is, you ALL get the Kenney Donation Pack!
We'll be in touch soon with your download keys!

The winners of the Loom SDK turbo subscriptions:

Best Graphics

March of the Cards

Best Sound

March of the Cards


Most Polished

March of the Cards

Best Use of theme

The Yellow Wallpaper


Stayed True to the Source Material

The Yellow Wallpaper

Most Innovative Use of the Source Material

The Yellow Wallpaper


Best Non-cc0 game

Oliver Twist

The Grand Prize winner of $1000 thanks to Nicky Case
and the fantastic open source game Nothing To Hide:

Paper Jekyll

See the rest of the results here!

A huge thanks again to Nicky Case. When you're done playing the winners, go try the Nothing to Hide demo here:

Video by Nicky Case, music by Stratkat

Nailed to a door. A forgotten will. The pages of an old book. A love letter in transit. It can convey our deepest thoughts, and our loftiest dreams. It can become a swan or a thousand stars. For hundreds of years, it has been the way we communicated our ideas to one another. The theme of the Public Domain Jam is:

PAPER

Tired of the constant flood of Cthulhu and zombie games?

Part of the reason they're everywhere is that they're both well known and free to use, and a lot of people who make games aren't aware of just how many good stories they're carrying around with them.

There are SO MANY other stories and characters out there that are also free to use:

Robin Hood, Zorro, Dracula, John Carter, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Alice in Wonderland, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Hercules, Paul Bunyan...

The list goes on forever, and these are all stories that are free to be remixed and remade by anyone.

Whatever the reason,
a lot of these stories aren't out there in games yet.
so let's MAKE SOME!


Why not make a Robin Hood archery game, a Sherlock Holmes point-and-click adventure, or go crazy and make a Les Miserables bullet-hell shmup?

1) Find a PUBLIC DOMAIN story or character
2) Make a game between May 17 and May 24
3) Submit it to the jam page

Games will be rated on:
Graphics / Sound / Fun / Polish
Staying true to the source material
Most innovative use of the source material

and a special bonus theme to be announced at the start of the jam!

Bonus Category!

During the submission period, all jammers will have the option of submitting their game with a download of all code and assets released under a Creative Commons CC0 waiver. These games will appear on an additional leaderboard after the jam.


A Message From Gritfish

I announced the Public Domain Jam a month ago as a reaction to the over-use of some themes in the indie game scene, but since then, I've been flooded with nothing but enthusiasm from people over their love of works in the public domain.

One developer has planned to make a game based on Kalevipoeg, an Estonian folk tale with some similarities to America's Paul Bunyan. Another has planned a game based on the story of Lysistrata, where the women of Greece withhold sex from their husbands and lovers to force them to negotiate peace and it all goes hilariously wrong. I can't wait to see what other stories will turn up.

I'm happy to announce that the Public Domain Jam will now be boasting a $1000 prize for the highest rated CC Zero game!

This will be the first game jam on itch.io to support the releasing of games, their source code and assets under the Creative Commons Zero (CC Zero) waiver. This means anyone is free to download, remix and reshare those games.

Nicky Case, creator of indie game "Nothing To Hide" and organiser of the Open Game Art Bundle, has donated the prize to support the creation of games like these, and their release under the Creative Commons Zero waiver.

The Engine Co. have also joined us in supporting open development, and are offering free Loom Turbo subscription (the premium edition of their cross-platform game engine, valued at $500) to the winning entry of every rating category (best art, best sound, best use of theme, etc.), and are giving a free month of Loom Turbo to anyone who wants to use it in the jam.

If you're interested in using Loom SDK for the jam, sign up for a free account HERE, and send an email to ben[DOT]garney[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

Finally, the top 100 games overall will receive a copy of the Kenney donation pack, a bundle of free to use art and sound assets.

A message from Nicky:

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

By quoting Isaac Newton, I'm borrowing his shoulders to make a point:
The future is a remix of the past.

Many creations build upon the old & familiar to make them new & unique. Games especially. That's why we need to have a stronger public domain, a stronger creative commons, for the artists of tomorrow to learn from the artists of yesterday.

I love open art. I organized The Open Game Art Bundle, and am open-sourcing my upcoming indie game, Nothing To Hide. That's why I'm also hosting a $1000 grand prize for the best CC Zero game to come out of this game jam! I want to support artists who not only borrow from the public domain, but also give back to it.

Recent copyright laws make it harder for us to build upon the past. Creativity is shrugged off, given a cold shoulder. The Public Domain Jam won't jumpstart Renaissance 2.0. But it's a step forward. Taking a stand, standing upon the shoulders of giants.

Now let's make some games.

Click here for FAQs About the PDJ

How can I tell if something's OK to use?

It can be pretty tricky to tell if something is actually in the public domain. Public Domain is different in almost every country.

If you're in the US, Project Gutenberg is an incredible resource for you to get started. Goodreads has a massive list of books that are in the public domain. LibriVox is also a great resource for audio versions those books.

Works that are in the public domain in the U.S. may not be public domain in your country! If you're not in the US, Project Gutenberg has sister-projects in many other countries, that are a good indication of which books are Public Domain for you.

Can I start making my game now?

YES! The jam has started! GO!

Using works with modern remakes

If you're going to use a public domain work that's had a recent, memorable remake like "Sherlock", or "Romeo and Juliet", please be careful to avoid using the distinguishing aspects of that remake. It's fine to take Shakespeare and put it in a modern setting, but the character/set designs from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet AREN'T public domain, and aren't okay to use.

Do I have to release MY game as public domain?

No, but there will be a special award category for games that release their code and assets under a Creative Commons CC0 waiver.

Can I use public domain art/sound assets in my game?

No. You should make your own art/sound

This was a really hard one. While the point of the jam is to promote the use of public domain work, it's also a game jam where people are scored against each other, and a game that's used a lot of pre-built assets is likely to have an advantage against a game where all those assets are made from scratch. That's kind of against the spirit of game jams, so we're possibly going to deal with public domain art/sound assets in a separate jam later on!

Do I have to work solo, or can I work in a team?

You can do either. Working in teams is totally fine.

Do I follow the public domain status of a work in my own country, or in America?

Your own country. That's where the retelling is occuring, so that's which status should be applied.

Got a question that isn't here?

Ask me on Twitter, and I'll add it.

Games submitted(61)

A 1001 Nights'-themed Public Domain Jam entry!
Platformer
Unity
Consult the oracle while protecting your pulp supply! Detonate mines!
Shooter
Windows, Linux
A short BBS LORD inspired text RPG based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Rpg
Html
A Visual novel based on the Grimm's Fairytale Snow-white
Other
Windows
Scheherazade's tale, revisited! #pdjam
Other
Html
You Gotta Beat That Steam Engine, John!
Platformer
Windows
The Purloined Letter is a first-person exploration game inspired by the titular story by Edgar Allan Poe.
Adventure
Windows
Escape from the headless horseman
Platformer
Html
Mysterious Island
Rpg
Windows
Roll your barrel down the hill and squish some kids!
Action
Html
Inspired by the fairy tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” and created for Public Domain Game Jam
Puzzle
Windows, Mac OS X
stealth action thievery simulation platformer!
Platformer
Html
Hunt Moby Dick with harpoons but keep your crew in mind!
Action
Windows
3D Navigable Joke/Commentary
Windows
Use and abuse your own creation to kill it before it kills you
Platformer
Flash
Public Domain Jam entry based on the short story by Kafka
Other
Html
Public Domain Jam Entry
Action
Windows
Throw bundles of cash in to the sea, fun! (WebGL)
Simulation
Html
A short, interactive comic.
Adventure
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
A local multiplayer game where you battle your friends with your army of cards!
Strategy
Flash
A paper-esque, Kaguya-hime inspired, bullet-hell shmup!
Shooter
Unity
An arcade-style bullet-hell game based on Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest"
Action
Unity
a game created for Public Domain Jam, 5/2014
Action
Html
Based on the Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story.
Other
Unity
A fun take on Cervantes' "The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha," made for the PDJAM
Other
Html
It's like wizard of Oz but in space
Action
Unity
Happiness is a hack away.
Other
Html
Play the final moment of those who have fallen for the invasion
Action
Windows, Mac OS X
Sail Odysseus back to Penelope in less than year
Simulation
Unity
A one-minute management sim based on the short story by Kurt Vonnegut
Simulation
Mac OS X
Public Domain Jam
Action
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
In "The Most Dangerous Game" novel Rainsford had a battle against Zaroff which was never described.
Action
Unity
a Treasure Island Game
Adventure
Flash
Wreak havoc on a mysterious island
Adventure
Windows
An interactive tale of cosmic horror.
Adventure
Windows
Jesus Meets Legion again
Simulation
Android
Turn into a range of characters with unique abilities
Platformer
Unity
Get to your "Paper" Time Machine in this overly simple platformer
Platformer
Windows
Play as little red as you protect your grandmother! Made for the Public Domain Jam.
Action
Unity
Public Domain Game Jam entry about hidden things.
Other
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Fly on, Icarus!
Other
Flash
Get that paper back!
Platformer
Html
A futuristic rendition of the Scheherazade tale
Other
Html
Inspired from Macbeth, a very simple game for #PDJam2014
Other
Windows
A short game about Cyrano de Bergerac, featuring a card-based battle system
Strategy
Unity
The Mokumokuren are taking over your old shōji. Stop them before they take over the entire wall.
Other
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Survive in the castle of Dracula
Adventure
Windows
A game about Jesus as a Ninja
Action
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
White Fog
Simulation
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
entry for pdjam / lowrezjam
Action
Html
Point and Click Adventure Fairytale
Adventure
Html
Because anyone may be little match girl. Do not close our eyes for the suffering.
Other
Windows
An abstract interaction of two poems. For Public Domain Jam.
Other
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
2 player game in which Don Quixote tries to defeat a windmill
Other
Unity