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The Public Domain Jam - May 17-24

There's never enough.
It flies.
It's forever.
It's running out.
It's a classic.

Make a game with with no limits.
Share a story from the dawn of history.
Make a game that can be played forever.
Retell a tale as old as time.
Make a game to last the ages.

Make a game. Tell a story.

The bonus theme for the 2015 Public Domain Jam is:

Time/ less

How to enter #PDJam:

1) Find a PUBLIC DOMAIN story or character
2) Make a game between May 15 and May 25
3) Submit it to the jam page
4) When the jam's over, play the games and give feedback / ratings!

Games will be rated on:
Graphics / Sound / Fun / Polish
Staying true to the source material
Most innovative use of the source material

and a special bonus theme to be announced at the start of the jam!

During the submission period, all jammers will have the option of submitting their game with a download of all code and assets released under a Creative Commons CC0 waiver. These games will appear on an additional leaderboard after the jam.

FAQs About the PDJ

How can I tell if something's OK to use?

It can be pretty tricky to tell if something is actually in the public domain. Public Domain is different in almost every country.

If you're in the US, Project Gutenberg is an incredible resource for you to get started. Goodreads has a massive list of books that are in the public domain. LibriVox is also a great resource for audio versions those books.

Works that are in the public domain in the U.S. may not be public domain in your country! If you're not in the US, Project Gutenberg has sister-projects in many other countries, that are a good indication of which books are Public Domain for you.

Can I start making my game now?

No. Don't start making your game until the theme's announced. Instead, use this time to look into stories that you might want to use, and make sure that it's legal to use them.

Using works with modern remakes

If you're going to use a public domain work that's had a recent, memorable remake like "Sherlock", or "Romeo and Juliet", please be careful to avoid using the distinguishing aspects of that remake. It's fine to take Shakespeare and put it in a modern setting, but the character/set designs from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet AREN'T public domain, and aren't okay to use.

Do I have to release MY game as public domain?

No, but there will be a special award category for games that release their code and assets under a Creative Commons CC0 waiver.

Can I use public domain art/sound assets in my game?

YES You can use anything as long as it's legal for you to do so.

This was a requirement we made last year, due to there being prize money involved. We wanted an even playing field and healthy competition. This year, it's just about fun and stories.

Do I have to work solo, or can I work in a team?

You can do either. Working in teams is totally fine.

Do I follow the public domain status of a work in my own country, or in America?

Your own country. That's where the retelling is occuring, so that's which status should be applied.

Got a question that isn't here?

Ask me on Twitter, and I'll add it.


All submissions
Browser playable (11)
Windows (13)
macOS (11)
Linux (11)
Android (1)

No submissions match your filter

The Battles Untold is a brawler game with unique characters from epic tales.
1st place winner of The Public Domain Jam 2
Short action/adventure game about the ancient queer poet Sappho...
Macabre take on Grimm's Cinderella
Play in browser
An action-stealth game based on Shakespeare's "Macbeth"
Play in browser
Race against time to warn your forest animal friends of the logging machines in this 3D action/platformer game.
Play in browser
Bullet-hell shooter inspired by the short story, Werewolves of War
Play in browser
Then the HummingBird sees me. #HBHtwine
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
Use your ingenuity and environment to get your Time Machine back from the Morlocks!
Play in browser
A turn-based heist
Play in browser
A short game made for Public Domain Jam 2, 5/2015
Play in browser
Public Domain Jam 2 Entry by Taylor Swope
A short game based on Lewis Carroll's poem.
Play in browser
Inspired by Daniil Kharms
A Twine experiment made during the Public Domain Jam 2015
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
Play in browser
You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing...
Visual Novel
Based on the cynical political work Goldilocks and the well known children's fairy tale, Machiavelli's The Prince.