Hello everyone and welcome to our Summer 2017 edition of My First Game Jam! For the uninitiated, this game jam is designed for beginner game developers to try their hand at making something new, or for experienced developers to practice new skills and experiment. If you'd like to take a look at past jams, check out our first, second, and third jams held.
Here's a few tips and links to get the most out of the jam. If we didn't cover something in this guide, try our FAQ or message us on tumblr or twitter. We highly suggest you go over this post thoroughly.
Check out our resources!
We've compiled tons and tons of lists and threads for you guys in order to help you out on your jam journey.
Wondering what engine to use? We've got a thread for that. Still stuck on your concept? Try some of these idea generators. Completely clueless as to where to start? Try this thread. Need a team for the jam? Check the teamfinding channel on our Discord. Looking for gamedev resources? We got you covered. Looking for free assets? Guess what— we've got a list for that too.
Still need some help? Shoot us a question and we'll see what we can do.
Make a dev log on the community!
A development blog is a blog in which a game developer or team talks about the process they've made over the course of the game's creation. Maintaining a devblog keeps your audience in the know and helps facilitate productivity so you'll have something to blog about. It also serves as a record of problems you encounter as well as the solutions you find for those problems.
Development logs are essentially the same thing, except we'll be using the jam forums rather than a blog. However, you are free to use both the forums and your own blog as you develop your game.
Doing so is not necessary at all, but check out all the logs from our first jam! In order to get the most out of your jam experience, it is vital that you interact with your fellow jammers and the community surrounding it. They'll provide valuable feedback and support to help you along the way. So please, we encourage you to mingle, post in other logs, and of course post your own!
In addition, you are encouraged to add images and gifs. Here's some programs to help facilitate that:
- Greenshot - a free and open source screenshot tool for productivity
- Lightshot — screenshot tool for Mac & Win
Post daily updates!
Post screenshots or fun mishaps to your dev log, twitter, tumblr, or your own blog to track your progress and get feedback. Tag your posts as #MyFirstGameJam so other jammers can find your work! To get the most exposure you can also tag #gamedev or #ScreenshotSaturday for Saturdays! Share your work and link back to your devlog to get feedback.
Manage your time and tasks
We compiled a list here of useful time and task management tools. Set goals early and keep track of how fast it takes you to reach them!
Join the jam chat!
You can go to the discord chat here! Not only is it a great place to interact with other jammers, but it's also a great place to get instant advice, help, and feedback on your progress. You can also get in touch with your jam hosts this way if you have any questions, or are looking for a team.
No one likes being told their game sucks. That's just how it is. And while it's true that in the real world one must face harsh criticize, here at My First Game Jam we aim to create a constructive atmosphere and encourage rather than discourage. Don't be a jerk, and don't give unsolicited critique unless you've been asked to. Always remember to highlight strong points as well as weak points. And, please remember, no one here is trying to put you down. Before you react, ask for clarification. Chances are that no one meant any harm.
Aaaand good luck!
Game dev can be exciting, frustrating, and extremely rewarding. We hope to give you the tools to help you succeed in your goals in the next two weeks! Remember, if you have any questions please feel free to contact one of your jam hosts. You can message one of us in the discord chat, post on our FAQ thread, or tweet/send an ask to our twitter or tumblr.
Some last minute tips:
- Don't overestimate your skills. Gamedev is a hard and often rocky road and is the culmination of skills that often take years to master. You're going to find yourself getting frustrated, so it's okay to scale back your game.
- Communicate with your team. It's unwise to let salt build up and be passive-aggressive— this will only take away from your work. Be honest, be clear, and be understanding.
- 2 weeks isn't enough time to make your magnum opus. You'll set yourself up for disappointment that way. Instead, try to set realistic goals for yourself for your schedule and your allotted work time.
- Interact with other developers! This will vastly improve your game jam experience, and you'll get to share content, meet new people, and hopefully make friends along the way!
- Google is your friend. A lot of programming and coding is... essentially knowing how to google things. Don't be afraid to google the shit out of your questions, because it's extremely likely that someone's had the same issue as you at some point.
- Check out game engine forums. Usually these come attached to the sites you download the engine from, and they're usually stuffed full of information on how to use your engine of choice. We've linked a few resources on our resource list, but this will save you (and us) a lot of time.
- Remember to take breaks and hydrate! You're gonna be sitting at your PC for hours at a time— so don't forget to stretch your legs every so often.
- Can't finish your game? Submit it anyway! Be proud of whatever you did, even if you only got through one stage of your platformer or only the first route of your VN.
- Lys, my game sucks! Hey! Don't be hard on yourself— remember that we're here to learn and as long as you learned something, you'll be another step closer to success! Two weeks is not a lot of time to work in. Sacrifices may be necessary. Your game may not be as great as you hoped. But as long as you take something away from this experience, you've accomplished what we hope for for all jammers!
- And most importantly, have fun! Remember— the goal is not just to make a game, but to enjoy the process as well!
Let's go make some games!
Lysander Twitter: @kreutzerland
J Twitter: @yurigods
Nikki Twitter: @charblar