The GMTK Game Jam is an annual game making marathon, where individuals and teams try to make a game that fits a theme, in just 48 hours.
Thousands of games are submitted as designers improve their skills, flex their creative muscles, and try to get their game featured on Game Maker’s Toolkit. You can see (and play!) the past winners here.
The theme for the jam will be announced when submissions open. Previous themes have included "Roll of the Dice", "Joined Together", "Out of Control", and "Only One".
Who can enter? Anyone, of any age, from anywhere. You can work alone or in teams.
When does the jam begin? The jam begins on the following day/time, depending on your time zone (see the itch.io countdown above if your time zone is not listed):
What is the theme? The theme will be announced when the jam officially begins!
What can I make my game in? Anything, provided you can upload a file that runs on Windows or browsers, and doesn't require any additional hardware or software.
What assets can I use? The game should be developed during the jam, but you may use pre-existing code and can use whatever art and audio assets you have the legal right to use. However, we ask that you do not use AI to generate any assets or code.
When should I submit my game? You can submit your game at any point after the jam begins. If you submit early, you can update the game at any time before the jam closes.
Who will judge the games? Games will be judged by the public. Mark will then play the Top 100 games and pick his favourite 20. All of the results will be revealed when this process is over.
What will the games be judged on? Games will be ranked against the following criteria: enjoyment, creativity, and presentation.
Is there a Discord I can join? Yes! Please click here to gain access.
Who can enter?
This is an online game jam, so anyone, from anywhere, aged 13 or older can enter the jam. (Those younger can take part, as long as a parent or guardian uploads the game).
You can work alone or in teams. There is no limit on the number of people per team and people can be in multiple teams.
Only one person needs to join itch.io and submit the game. However, if others on the team also join itch.io, they can be tagged as contributors. (On your game's itch page, pick "Edit", "More", "Admins", and follow the instructions).
What's the theme?
The theme will be announced at the very beginning of the jam.
Your game should follow the theme, and you will be asked how your game fits the theme on the itch.io submission page. That being said, you will not be disqualified from the jam if your game doesn't adequately fit the theme.
When does the jam begin and end?
Game Jam 2023 begins on July 7th at 18:00 BST. The jam ends on July 9th at 18:00 BST. You can submit at any time during the jam (and we recommend you get your game up early!)
When it comes to what kind of game you can make, we’re ultimately looking for games that are suitable for a general audience, and that are really easy for people to download, play, and judge. With that in mind...
What can I make my game in?
You must produce a digital computer game, that runs on Windows - or web browsers supported by Windows. You can support additional platforms (such as Mac or mobile) if you like, but a Windows / browser build is necessary.
The game file needs to be uploaded to itch.io when you submit.
You can make your game in whatever engine, programming language, or software you like. We recommend engines such as Unity, Unreal Engine, Game Maker, Godot, Construct, and PICO-8.
You may use engines designed for specific genres such as RPG Maker or Adventure Game Studio, but we don't recommend it as the GMTK Jam is intended towards making games with brand new concepts and gameplay mechanics.
Can I make..?
We try not to put limitations on what people can make, as long as it fits the eligibility discussed above.
Just note that many players will be alone (so they may not be able to adequately judge local multiplayer games) and will only have a few minutes to try your game (so get to the point quickly!)
Your game must not contain nudity, or hateful language or visuals. This could see your game being disqualified from being considered as a jam winner. Please consider avoiding extremely strong language and excessive gore, as the jam should be suitable for a general audience. If you’re uncertain, err on the side of being less gratuitous.
Please don’t make games about or based on Mark Brown, the GMTK brand, or any Jam mods - it’s easy for parody and inside jokes to go wrong.
This game jam is about making a game during a 48 hour period. This is a race to make a game, and everyone starts running when the jam begins! As such, we expect you to make the vast majority of the game during this time.
However, as the jam is primarily about flexing your design chops, we don’t expect you to make everything in the time slot (unless you really want to!) So...
Can I use pre-existing code?
Yes! You can use pre-existing code, libraries, and functions. But we ask that you don’t write code specifically for this jam, ahead of time, or use generative AI tools that can create code, such as Github Copilot or ChatGPT.
You can also create things like a blank Unity project, a Github page, or your itch.io profile in advance to save time.
Can I use pre-existing art and / or audio?
Yes! You can use whatever art and audio you have the legal right to use. We'd recommend making your own stuff (especially your own art) but it's up to you.
That means you can use pre-existing sprites, textures, fonts, models, shaders, animations, sound effects, and music - including public domain assets, assets you have purchased, assets you have made yourself, or assets that are (legally-acceptable) derivative works of existing media.
However, we ask that you do not use generative AI that can create assets, like Midjourney or DALL-E.
You should credit all external art and audio in your game description.
Upon submission, you will be asked whether your team created the vast majority of the game's art during the jam. (This does include animations, but not shaders or fonts). And you will be asked if you made the vast majority of the game's music, during the 48 hour period. (This doesn't include sound effects).
This is a way of highlighting the artists and composers who were involved with the jam, and this will not impact your rating.
Can I use generative AI to create code, art, or music for me?
This year we're asking that you do not use generative AI tools like ChatGPT or Midjourney while making your game. All the code, art, music, written text, and so on should be made by a human, and you shouldn't use these tools to brainstorm or provide help. This includes the artwork on your game's page and thumbnail.
The jam moderators cannot advise you individually on what code or assets you can use, including the use of AI, so if in doubt, be cautious and make your own stuff! And they cannot advise individually on what answer you should provide to the submission questions, so please use your best judgement.
How do I submit a game?
You should upload your game to itch.io like it was any other game. From there you can upload the files, and provide additional details.
You should make the game free (or let the person pick “any amount”), and you must set the game as "released", not "draft".
Then, you should come back to this page on itch.io, click submit game, and choose your game from the dropdown box. Answer the required questions to complete the submission!
To ensure that your game is in the jam, please go to your game's itch.io page and look for the badge that says "Submission to the GMTK Game Jam 2023" in the top right.
If it's there, you're in! If not, please submit again. If problems persist, please visit the Discord channel for technical assistance.
When should I submit the game?
You can submit the game at any point during the 48 hours, and we recommend that you get something up nice and early!
Until submissions end, you can change the itch.io game as much as you want (such as uploading a new build, or uploading a separate Mac version, or changing the details) and it will automatically change the game that's in the jam. You don't need to un-submit and re-submit.
The jam ends at 18:00 BST. We will add an extra two hours after this time, as a grace period for late submissions, last minute bug fixes, and Itch.io server problems. After that, submissions will be closed - with no opportunity to upload or change your game.
Once the Jam ends, the GMTK Game Jam team cannot help you get your game uploaded or changed during this time.
During the voting period, you will not be able to change the game, and must not link to other versions in the description or comments. Whatever's uploaded to itch is what will be played and judged.
If we experience any issues with itch.io's servers due to the load, we may extend the deadline. More details will be on the GMTK Discord.
Can I change my game after the jam ends?
When the jam ends, there's a one week rating period (details below) where you must not change your game. Uploads to the jam will be locked, meaning you can no longer provide bug fixes, additional versions, or extra levels.
Also, please do not put links to other builds (such as "Game jam upload has a bug! Please play this one!”) in your description or comments. This may see you being disqualified from the jam. Whatever you upload before the jam closes is what people will play and judge.
If you delete your game during this period, we will not be able to help you and you will be disqualified from the jam.
You can change your game's page during this time though, including the thumbnail, description text, screenshots, and page design. You'll want to do this as fast as possible though, as the majority of the ratings happen at the very start of the rating period.
Once the rating period is over, you're free to update your game however you please, charge for it, release it on other platforms - the game is yours, do what you wish with it!
Are the games judged?
Yes! For one week after the jam ends, people will be able to rate your game against three criteria:
Enjoyment - How enjoyable the game is to play
Creativity - How interesting, original, creative, and inventive the underlying idea is
Presentation - How the game looks and sounds
These three criteria will add to to your Overall rating for your game.
Everyone is eligible to rate games - and will be able to find them on the itch.io page for the jam, after it ends.
Those who submitted or contributed to a game will be able to judge whichever games they like. Others will have to vote on games provided at random, until they unlock full rating privileges.
At the end of the rating period, the overall rank for the games will not be immediately shown. Instead, the jam host Mark Brown will get to see the games and will play the top 100 ranked games in the overall category. He will then pick his favourite 20, and make a video.
When the video is released, the 20 winning games will be shown and the public rankings will also be displayed.
How does Itch.io's ranking algorithm work?
Itch.io takes into account the number of ratings a game receives to ensure that things remain fair (for example, a game that receives 1 five-star ranking will not beat out a game that receives 100 four- and five-star rankings). The exact nature of this algorithm is not made public knowledge.
Hey, this person is cheating!
If you suspect foul play or encounter a virus, please use the report button on Itch.io.
Here are some places where you can find art, fonts, music, and sound effects for your games.
Many of the assets are eligible for use in the jam but check the license before using and provide credit in your game’s description!
Click here to get logos, which you may wish to add to your project.
- Anything you make during the GMTK Game Jam is your property. GMTK claims no rights or ownership of your game.
- Any game submitted to the GMTK Game Jam may show up in a GMTK YouTube video without your express permission.