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❗ Getting Started: Resources, Tips, & Ideas Sticky

A topic by Grim Baccaris created Mar 09, 2018 Views: 716
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Hi everybody! I’m Grim; I’m an interactive fiction creator, a classicist, and really stoked to be hosting Mytholojam again! For this round, we’re working with Roman antiquity! Like before, I have a bunch of resources, tips, and links that might be useful.

I. Getting Started  • II. Ancient History  • III. Inspiration • IV. Advice & Time Management  • V. Rules • VI. Team-Building & Discord • VII. Devlogs  • VIII. Questions & Contact

I. Getting Started

If you need a hand deciding how to get started, is an interactive tool that can give you a personalized idea of which engines to explore with breakdowns of each tool. It can also give you suggestions for where to locate art and audio assets, and advice about design and distribution. It contains plenty of links leading you to sites where you can find the tools and assets it describes.

II. Ancient History

If you want to do research or get more familiar with any concepts, locations, or figures you’re interested in working with, I recommend the Ancient History Encyclopedia (which has an especially handy search function and a useful index), or you can (judiciously) take to good old Google. You aren’t obligated to go to town researching, but if you’d like to, it’s an option!

III. Inspiration

It can be hard to come up with an idea sometimes! Maybe a relentless interactive roasting of an emperor? A simulation of Crassus’ house-flipping fire brigade? A top-down interpretation of a military engagement? That's just me throwing spaghetti at the wall, but you're welcome to make any of those. Here’s a small selection of other things to look to for inspiration if you're stuck:

Historical events! We’re starting on the ides of March, when Caesar got iced, so there’s a big one. You could also look into wars, individual battles, or other famous, infamous, or perhaps lesser-known events that have captured your imagination.

Historical figures and professions! Emperors and generals are always popular choices, given that a lot of them were infamous for being completely buckwild. But there are plenty of other options, too — poets, gladiators, haruspices, etc (most of which were pretty buckwild as well).

Elite figures are often the most studied and well-known, but it can be very productive to turn attention to the other social classes and marginalized groups populating such a vast empire, for instance women and slaves. If you are working with an elite figure, that’s fine, but it’s still useful to keep in mind the skewed advantages and appalling abuses operating and enabled within Roman society.

Mythology! Of course! Take care to differentiate between Greek and Roman where the lines in certain narratives tend to blur (or you can specifically examine that overlap). We’re ending on April 21st, the mythological anniversary of Rome’s founding; that in itself could be an interesting myth to explore!

Theater! Roman drama could fall into several classifications, including comedy, fabula praetexta (tragedy based on Roman history), and fabula crepidata (based on existing Greek narratives). However much Romans enjoyed drama, though, they did not especially love actors. It was considered a bit of a trash profession from the garbage can. It's an interesting dynamic.
Writing & art! You might find some literary inspiration in Virgil’s Aeneid, Cicero, or Ovid — or, in terms of art, you can poke around the Met and check out tons of different pieces.

Architecture! The Roman empire, western and eastern, boasts some incredible architectural features, from temples to aqueducts. Or if you’re interested in domestic architecture, you can check out some elite villas (like the Villa of the Papyri, Casa del Fauno, or Nero’s golden monstrosity of a house), or some insulae (apartment buildings).

Often bawdy and frequently used as a kind of Roman Yelp, graffiti has been an important resource for archaeologists, and often an extremely amusing one. Whether you’re looking at some of the thousands of samples from Pompeii and Herculaneum or other scrawlings elsewhere, there’s a lot to work with.

Ancient sports & entertainment! Romans went hog wild about their sports fandom. Sometimes they even placed curse tablets on the racetrack in the hopes that the chariot team they hated would get wrecked. The many bloody competitions in amphitheaters and the Colosseum have always captured people’s attention (and sometimes turned their stomachs) as well. Just bear in mind that the movie Gladiator is not exactly a historically accurate source.

Objects and artifacts!
Maybe a specific object has caught your eye, or you’re interested in Roman coinage, weapons, the aforementioned curse tablets, or other such things. You could use these ideas to create a neat mechanic or an abstract project!

IV. Advice

  • Don’t take on too much — you have just over a month to work. That sounds like a while, but it’s going to fly by! So I wouldn’t suggest trying to cram a full retelling of the Aeneid into this jam or anything. Focus on creating something manageable, and don’t feel like you can’t scale your initial idea back if it’s proving too much to wrangle. Sometimes that can save a project.
  • Manage your time. This is something I tend to struggle with. It’s okay (and normal) if you can’t work on your project every day of the jam, but try making yourself a timeline to help stay on track so that you know what you need to work on day by day and can avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • Use placeholder assets and playtest often! Get everything working and playable before worrying about how it looks.
  • Save your work often! Ctrl+s!!!
  • Even if you don’t finish your project, submit your work! Be proud of what you make! It may not be up to your own expectations, but it’s still something worthwhile.

Time Management

Important enough to have its own little subsection. Because the Roman Mytholojam is a bit longer than the Greek Mytholojam (I couldn’t resist running from the ides to the 21st), a jam-wide extension this time around is very unlikely, and I encourage careful time management even more than before.

The longer you have, the more likely you are to bite off more than you can chew. Organize your days and weeks clearly to maximize your working hours and your time off. Don’t forget to sleep!

V. Rules

  • Submissions irrelevant to the theme will be removed. State your project’s relevance to the theme in its description to set it apart from potential spam. No blank submissions!
  • Spam submissions will be removed.
  • Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated.
  • Any critique of your fellow jammers must be constructive.
  • Similarly, be nice on Discord, and please stay on topic or mostly relevant to jam stuff.
  • Do not start your project before the jam period begins. Concept art and brainstorming beforehand is fine; final assets and code creation is not. This is an honor system thing.
  • Have fun! If you’re not enjoying yourself, take a break and de-stress. If there’s something specific that I can do, please get in touch.

VI. Team-Building

You can work solo or with others. If you're looking for team members, check out the Roman Mytholojam page on CrowdForge, post in the Discord chat, or make a topic here in the jam community to look for likeminded folks!

VII. Devlogs

If you feel so inclined, you’re also welcome to create a community topic where you post about your progress; I’d love to see your work, and it can be fun to interact with and inspire other jammers. It can also help you stay organized!

VIII. Questions?

If you have questions about the jam or need help with something, you’re welcome to create a topic in the community or send me an email (to: ricassofiction[@]gmail[.]com).

Have fun!