Ranked in itch's Top 10 Jams of 2016
Welcome to the second annual BUTTERSCOTCH SHENANIJAM, the official game jam of Butterscotch Shenanigans! It's about time to jam with some of your favorite developers, and also Butterscotch Shenanigans!
We are inviting our podcast listeners, fans, players, game dev pals, and even wild internet randos to join us in a 48-hour game jam. Will you be there, or WILL YOU BE A RHOMBUS!?
Is this your first jam? Is it your hundredth? Either way, we've got loads of tips and tricks for you.
At the start of the jam, you will be given a theme, which you will need to incorporate into your game in some way. In 2016, these themes came from our game dev comedy podcast's titles. We may OR MAY NOT do this again this year. More details to come as we close in on the jam date!
Do you want a SOCIAL jam experience? Hop on into the Butterscotch Community Discord to showcase your progress and chat with other BscotchJammers while you crank out your UNRULY MASTERPIECE! It's open 24/7, and you don't even need shoes to get in. You can join the Discord any time, even long before the Jam starts, and you can stay as long as you like afterwards, too!
Is your hobby shouting into the void of the internet, hoping to acquire the transient attention of complete strangers? Then we've got a hashtag READY FOR THE TAKING! Use our custom, hand-crafted hashtag, #shenanijam, and acquire those sweet, sweet, life-affirming little pink hearts!
This isn't a competition in any important sense. BUT! Getting feedback on your work is a great way to know where you can improve. Games submitted to the Shenanijam will be scored by other participants of the jam. Scoring categories for the Shenanijam are:
After scoring ends, the Bscotch crew will pull down a handful of the top rated games and put together a gameplay video (with commentary) for the WHOLE WORLD TO ENJOY!
Check out last year's video for a tiny taste of Shenanijam glory.
To submit your game, you will first upload it to itch.io using the normal submission method. Then, you will be able to submit your uploaded game as an entry to the Shenanijam through the Shenanijam's itch page (right here)! We will also ask for a link to a gameplay video or trailer.
Since the game upload is uncoupled from the jam itself, you can upload whenever you want! But the jam's submission button will stop working when the jam is over. So upload as early and often as you want, but not as late as you want, unless the latest you want to upload is early.
On your game page, please include which theme you used for your game.
Submit your game in whatever format you think provides the best end-user experience. There's a huge variety of hardware out there, so it's always a good idea to target whatever is the most common configuration. In our experience, your game will get the most plays if it includes a Windows version and uses a simple mouse + keyboard combo, without requiring the use of peripherals (like gamepads). And even though VR is all the rage right now, almost no one (statistically speaking) has the equipment needed to play VR games. But if you have a crazy game idea that only works with 15.3 players using DDR pads and pool noodles with Oculus Rift on your own custom Linux kernel, hey, that's your prerogative! We definitely won't play it, though (and neither will anyone else). But ehhh... you do your thing!
All game submissions will need to include a link to a sub-2-minute Youtube video. This way, even if someone doesn't have the time or the hardware to download and play your game, they can still experience the magic you created! We have also added this requirement for your benefit; people will very rarely (or never) download a game that only has screenshots and no video. By having some video footage of your game, you make it more likely that people perusing itch.io will take the time to check your game out.
We recommend using Fraps or Xsplit to record video. It should be neither fancy nor theatrical; just a short video showing gameplay will suffice! When you submit your game to the jam, you will be prompted to provide a link to the video.
Is this a competition? What can I win? Nope, this is not a competition. Even so, you will walk away having won the experience of a lifetime. The judging aspect of the jam serves two purposes: to help you understand how to improve for your next jam, and to help us find the standouts. It is intended to be friendly and useful!
How big should my team be? Can I go solo? You can make a game on a team of any size, though we have found that teams any larger than 3 people tend to get bogged down and have a hard time getting things done. You can also go solo if you like! We call that "Hardcore Mode." Also, if you die while making a game in hardcore mode, you do not respawn and we are not liable. We said it here, so it's legally binding.
What if I've never made a game before? No problem! There's no time like the present!
How do you even MAKE A GAME? We recommend Game Maker Studio 2 for all things 2d, though if you are already a decent programmer and are looking to make something in 3D, Unity will be more up your alley. Game Maker in particular is very friendly to newbies -- even people who don't know how to program at all! It also comes bundled with a bunch of tutorials, so you can run through some how-to's before the jam starts.
We use Inkscape for all of our in-game art needs, and we highly recommend it. It's free! Sam, our artist, has a bunch of Inkscape tutorials on our Youtube channel, so that should help you get an idea of how to use the tool.
For sound, you can use bfxr to generate 8-bit style sound effects, and you can find free music all over on the web. Our go-to site for jam music is freemusicarchive.org. But that brings us to the next point...
Do I have to make everything from scratch? You do not. However, as always, ethics are IMPORTANT! It is your responsibility to ensure that everything in your game is legal for you to use. That means you need to check the licenses on fonts, music, audio, code, or any other assets that end up in your game that you didn't create yourself. Be careful!
Can I use the Shenanijam logo in my game or in an article, or something like that? Yep! You can also use it to promote the Shenanijam and spread the love. We've put together a handy license for the Shenanijam logo. If you want to use the logo somewhere, check the license!
Where can I get even more sage jamming advice? Check out our living how-to-jam doc!
WAIT. I also have to make a video during the jam? But how can I make a game AND a video? If having to also make a video during the jam sounds stressful, don't worry. It doesn't have to be stressful! For our jam games we simply turn on Xsplit, boot the game to the title screen, start recording, play the game in a way that quickly shows off everything we did (with a 2 minute countdown timer running on one of our phones), then hit STOP RECORDING. We just upload that puppy right to Youtube and call it done! The whole process takes 5-10 minutes, though if you've never used your recording software or Youtube before it'll take longer.
Here's an example outline of what a good (and easy!) video might include:
Some things to consider: