Submissions open from 2020-09-18 03:00:00 to 2020-10-05 03:00:00
Submissions due in
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Join the Adventurous Game Jam for an exciting opportunity to build a quick narrative project in Unreal Engine 4, an event that welcomes both experienced and novice developers alike! You'll have two weeks to stir up your creative juices: go experimental, heavy on narrative, perhaps tackle completely visual storytelling, or just good old fashioned point and click. It’s up to you! The two main rules are that it must be a narrative-driven game and must developed with Unreal Engine. There is a loose theme to the jam that has been voted by our community, mostly a starting point or source of inspiration.

Never used Unreal before? Not a problem! Prior to the jam, Senscape will be streaming a live lesson with a quick overview of the engine and a special focus on building adventure games with it. Even experienced Unreal developers may learn something new! And if you still need assistance, the jam will feature coaching sessions with evangelists from Epic who will be online in our community to answer all your questions.

And the theme is... drums roll...

Inspiring, vague, mysterious... and by Ursula K. Le Guin no less, from her Earthsea books! This is the theme of the jam and you're free to use it as a starting point if you need it. If you already have an idea or concept in mind, just go for it — but we ask that you at least include a reference to this theme, even if it's just an obscure easter egg. It will be fun to hunt for all these references!

Read on for all the details!



Stay in touch!


Senscape has been supporting the adventure game community for many years. We’re the developers behind games such as Serena, the highly anticipated ASYLUM, and the cult classic Scratches. Our friendly and lively community on Discord will be our primary point of encounter for this jam with dedicated channels and resources. You can follow our Twitter account as well for the latest news and announcements.

The Senscape team will be online on Discord at every moment to keep an eye on your projects and provide support if needed. The coaching sessions with Unreal evangelists will take place on Discord as well each Friday at 6PM GMT. You're more than welcome to meet other devs from our community if you need more people in your team, or want to join a team.

Resources that will be posted on Discord in the coming days include our recommended assets from the Unreal marketplace to build adventure games, suggestions on how to organize your team, devise your project plan, useful tools, and much more!



Schedule


The jam is jam-packed (ha, we're so clever!) with cool activities. Here's the quick overview:

  • Unreal lesson livestream: September 15 — 6PM GMT
  • Theme voting: September 16-17
  • Beginning of the jam: September 18
  • Submission of game title and project plan (optional): September 21
  • Deadline to submit finished games: October 5 
  • Announcement of winners: October 15

Novice developers are more than welcome to participate, even if this would be the first game you're making! The jam has been prepared with you in mind, which is why we will optionally receive a submission of your project plan and tell you our thoughts in advance, especially if it can be developed in two weeks.

Here's a more visual calendar with all the important dates:

You can add these dates (including links of interest) to your calendar of choice with this iCal file.



Prizes


What, unlimited fame and glory isn’t enough for you? Alright, we do have some goodies anyway! Games will be evaluated by a select group of judges, including mods from our community and staff from Epic, and the three best projects will get the following rewards:

  • A key to play development versions of ASYLUM!
  • A selection of amazing handpicked tools for narrative games from the Unreal marketplace, to be revealed soon!
  • A special role in our Discord community to show off.
  • With perhaps more cool rewards to be revealed!



Rules


The rules are straightforward:
  1. Anyone is welcome to participate in the jam, regardless of experience!
  2. You can go solo or with a team. Maximum team size is 5. We recommend our Discord to connect with other developers and organize your team.
  3. Your game must be developed with Unreal Engine 4.
  4. The genre of your game must be adventure. Please refer to the note below for our definition of adventure.
  5. Your game should include a reference to or fit in some way with a theme voted by our community.
  6. Please don't start working on the game prior to the jam as it's unfair to other participants.
  7. You may use pre-made assets, either made by you, from a previous project, or from a marketplace. You should, however, indicate if the work is 100% original or if assets were sourced from an online marketplace. As such, these should be noted with credit given to the original creators in your submission.
  8. Submissions that are offensive in any way or in poor taste will be disqualified and removed.
  9. Remember that your game must be free to play until the voting period is over.
  10. It's very important to have fun during the jam!

Note that we define an "adventure game" in this context as a narrative-driven or story-based game with optional emphasis on puzzles (ie: logical or inventory-based) and little or no reliance on action elements. Thus, your project could be from a traditional point-and-click adventure, to a visual novel, to a mind-blowing interactive experience that transcends the medium as long as it doesn't tax any reflexes.

In other words: physical challenges should not be your primary game mechanic. So it's OK if you have to escape from an unexpected threat in your narrative game, but if running and escaping is the primary mechanic, then it won't be taken into consideration. Good examples of narrative games featuring some action sequences that fit our criteria are Firewatch, Until Dawn and Telltale's The Walking Dead. Examples of games featuring strong narrative content that don't fit the criteria would be Amnesia, L.A. Noire and the Uncharted series.  If in doubt, propose your concept in a project plan and we'll get back to you!



Voting Criteria


After the submission period, judges will evaluate entries with the following categories in mind:

  • Creativity:  The overall presentation and vision of your game, how well its concept works, how original it is.
  • Storytelling: How compelling your story and its setting is. If you made extensive use of environmental storytelling, the design of your environments will be considered for this category.
  • Gameplay: How your mechanics fit with the story and ultimately feel to play.
  • Entertainment: Whether your game was fun to play or not. And yes, disturbing and scary horror games are welcome — we'll consider the overall experience.
  • Visuals: How good the game looks, understanding that this is a jam.
  • Audio: If the game has sound effects and music, this category will be considered, although we recognize some narrative subgenres may not need extensive use of sound. We still encourage you to work on this area.

Categories will be given more or less weight depending on the nature of your game. The use of sound is one example: it's perfectly possible to tell a good story just with sound, and in such a case excelling in the Audio category will be crucial. Just as well, strong graphics are welcome but not always necessary for the execution of a good story. However, if setting and atmosphere were essential to your story, then the Visuals category will be given much more importance. Just don't feel like you need to comply with any of these categories — you could submit an experimental piece that doesn't necessarily excel in any of these categories, and it still could be amazing!

The voting period will last 10 days and winners will be announced on Thursday, October 15. The team of judges will be disclosed in the coming days.



Live Lesson


Unreal is a versatile and powerful engine, but a common misconception is that it’s very demanding and only appropriate for building AAA games. Far from the truth! We at Senscape are developing ASYLUM with Unreal and found that the engine offers a terrific array of features to create narrative games.

In our Twitch lesson happening on Tuesday — September 15, Agustín Cordes —developer at Senscape and also an Unreal Authorized Instructor— will be giving a crash course on Unreal. The lesson will provide insightful tips and techniques on how to build narrative games using Blueprints, the elegant visual scripting language available in Unreal, as well as a quick overview about how we’re doing things with ASYLUM. Both newcomers and veterans are bound to learn something new!

So mark your calendar, bookmark the Twitch link, and see you next Tuesday!



Content Creators


The adventures submitted during this jam will be played by lots of fantastic creators that joined our community! Every video will be tweeted and posted in our Discord. The following people have expressed support and are looking forward to playing your games. Are you a content creator that wants to be featured here? Ping us on Twitter or send us an email.

YouTube:

Twitch:



FAQ


Can I start thinking of ideas ahead of time?

Of course you can! Just don't start making the actual game until the jam begins. Also, we recommend you scale back your ideas.

Does it necessarily have to be a short game?

Well, no — we suggest a short length of maybe around one hour at most because it's a jam and focused, well-executed stories can be more powerful. Also, remember that we established a maximum team size of 5.

Does voice acting count towards the maximum team size?

No, your game can feature as many voice actors as you need. But please, remember to credit their work when you submit the finished game!

Can I use pre-made assets? 

Absolutely, but you must have the appropriate permissions and mention any required attributions. Remember to disclose any assets that were not created during the jam when you submit your game, so that judges rating its audiovisual categories can give a fair rating.

What platform should I create my game for?

You may create your game for any platform. But! It is highly recommended that you create the game with Windows as the primary platform in mind. Mac and Linux versions are a welcome too, but they should be preferably optional builds. We can't guarantee every judge and content creator will be able play games that at least don't offer a Windows build, which could affect your final rating.

Do I have to use the whole jam period?

Not really, but we do recommend you make the most out of the available time. Even if the game is ready before the deadline, you could polish some areas, test some more, etc.

Can I use other peoples' work in my game? 

It's the same case as with pre-made assets: we do not take responsibility for any unauthorized uses of other peoples' work (including music, sound and art) and any consequences that may result from its use. So please make sure before you submit that you have the appropriate license/authorization for each asset you didn't do by yourself.

Do I keep the rights to my game? 

Certainly! You keep the rights to everything you created for this game jam.