I’ve maintained for years that everyone has art in them. Maybe it’s an album, could be a painting, a poem, or maybe it’s a game. Unfortunately making a game is a long process. Many of your favorite games took tens of thousands of hours to build across years, or hundreds of people. So how do you go about making a game that is uniquely yours? You could get to work right now and MAYBE make up for your smaller team size by the time you die, or you could try out a game jam.
For the uninitiated, game jams are limited time events where individuals or teams build a game under different sets of constraints. Some jams feature themes, others take place over a few days/weeks, some have both. There are tons of different ways jams operate, but the goal is always the same: finish a game.
So how do you go about joining one of these mythical events? Let me introduce you to our Game Jam Tracker. Game jams happen all the time. Seriously. As of the time of writing this post there are more than 20 games happening RIGHT NOW. Yes that’s a lot. So let’s sort through all of these options and find what’s right for you. If you’re new to the jam scene you might want a jam that’s a little more open. The Anything Goes jam lets you make whatever you want. Perhaps you need somewhere to start from, in that case check out the Bitsy Mixtape jam. It has a theme and an engine requirement!
If none of these suggestions thrill you, the jam tracker lets you check out all of the jams registered on our site on a gantt chart so you can see when your favorite jam starts and ends. You can also click through to any of the jams’ pages and read more about the rules or submit your game. There’s an alternative view for all of the jams currently scheduled in the area below the chart.
Unfortunately no one can tell you how to jam. You can’t force someone to abide by your creative process, and what works for someone else might be totally uncomfortable to you. What I can tell you, is what to do after you’re done jamming. Many jams will have a voting period after the jam itself closes. Check out what other people made while you were working away. If your jam has a theme you’ll be amazed to see all of the ways other people interpreted it. Furthermore: go vote! If someone made something rad, let them know by engaging in the democratic process. Maybe there’s a prize involved, maybe it’s just for feedback, either way letting someone know you liked their project is just a nice thing to do.
Finally, once you’re a jam master consider giving back and starting your own jam or helping run an existing one. Running a jam can be a ton of work, so giving back to the community is always appreciated.
Now that you know how to get started, get out there and make a game!
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