Submissions open from 2023-04-01 10:00:00 to 2023-04-08 10:00:00
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Game development challenge to make a first person grid based dungeon crawler game in just 7 days.


In this context a dungeon crawler is a grid based RPG viewed in first person and with 90 degree turning. Examples of classic dungeon crawlers are Dungeon MasterEye of the BeholderPool of Radiance and Bard's Tale etc. 

New for this jam is that we will have a theme. That's right, we are raising the bar! :)

For those of you that are unfamiliar with this jam or the dungeon crawler genre take a look at previous jams and their entries:

Theme

The theme will be revealed when the jam starts.

Goal

  • A finished and reasonably polished dungeon crawler; not a prototype, proof of concept or tech demo, but a small game you can play from beginning to end.

Voting

There will be a panel of judges who will rate and rank each game based on the following criteria:

  • Graphics - Is the game aesthetically pleasing?
  • Audio - Does the game have nice sfx and music?
  • Gameplay - How fun is it to play?
  • Completeness - Is it an unfinished tech-demo, prototype or a complete game?

Prizes

Prizes will be announced later.

Game specific rules

  • The game must have first-person exploration at all times. (See the above GIF). Exceptions are point to point overworld map movement (fast travel), combat screens, cut scenes, town screen, inventory screen other relevant screens.
  • The game must have explorable locations. It doesn't have to be a dungeon in the traditional sense. It can be urban environments, outdoors, spaceship interiors, planetary surfaces etc. (depending on the jam theme). Whichever environment the game has it must be viewed and explored in first-person.
  • The game must have step movement on a grid. Smooth transition between grid squares is allowed. Half-steps or dividing a logical grid square into smaller squares is NOT accepted. The size of a square should equal the size of the wall segments it is connected to. Think of a grid square as a cube with ground, four walls and a ceiling.
  • The game must have 90 degree turns in the cardinal directions, North, East, South, West. Smooth transition between 90 degree angles is allowed. Mouse-look is also allowed. Games which let you turn 90 degrees up and down are allowed.
  • The game must have a player controlled character (or party of characters), or the abstraction of a character or persona.
  • The game must at the very least have some basic stats. (Minimum a single health/power bar)
  • The game must have a death/perish/fail condition, or some other end-of-game mechanic.
  • The game must have at least one way to affect character stat(s). Examples are resting, potions, items with bonuses, food, water, powerups etc.
  • The game must have combat or a similar mechanic for determining outcome of certain situations, enemy encounters and events.

Other rules

  • You can use any game engines, libraries, pre-existing code/algorithms, pre-existing art, etc.
  • The game must be a new game project started and finished within the 7 day time frame, not just another week of work on an existing one.
  • The game must be free to download and play to the end. A commercial version of the game may of course be released after the jam ends, perhaps with added content and features.

Recommendations

We strongly recommend that you have a strong focus on adding a solid implementation of movement and turning. If you add transitional movement between grid squares and transitional turning there are some things you should consider:

  • Too slow transition speed will make the player wait unnecessarily and it slows down the overall pace of the game.
  • Make sure your game respond to input while moving. Queuing the input allow the player to initiate a turn or a move before the current transition has ended. This prevent full stops and allow for a fluid movement and turning.
  • Perspective (field of view) is a very important part of crawling a dungeon. If the field of view is so narrow that the player can't see parts of the floor square he/she are standing on but instead is facing a wall which fills the whole viewport, orientation will be extremely difficult. It is highly recommended to show parts of the current floor square and also side corners. This enables the player to easily see if there is an exit to the left or right. See the above GIF for a good example of proper field of view. Often a this is done by adjusting field of view and/or pulling the eye-position back a little bit.

When possible you should consider adding an option to toggle between instant and transitional movement and turning. Some players prefer one over the other.

We recommend that do some research on existing games and discover for yourself what works and what doesn't.

Preparations

Be sure to read the rules carefully before you start outlining your game idea. I advise you to remember that there will be a theme. It's important to take that into consideration when you plan and prepare. It might stir things up quite a bit if you lay down a lot of work in advance.

It is recommended to be prepared and have at least a rough design idea of your project before starting. It's a daunting task to make a game in just a week so plan well and keep scope narrow. It's infinitely better to submit a visually simple but feature complete game which you can play from start to end than a single level "demo" with eyecandy graphics and many absent or unfinished gameplay mechanics.

Community

Join our Discord server for discussions, feedback, brainstorming and recommendations for engines, tools, assets etc. to use when developing a dungeon crawler.

If you want to team up with someone let it be known in the discussion board or in our Discord server. There might already be someone there to team up with.

Use #dcjam2023 to share progress or tweet about this jam or your game :)