There's never enough.
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:
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.
Why are there so many Cthulu and zombie games?
Part of the reason they're everywhere is that they're both well known and free to use, and a lot of people who make games aren't aware of just how many good stories they're carrying around with them.
There are SO MANY other stories and characters out there that are also free to use!
Robin Hood, Zorro, Dracula, John Carter, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Alice in Wonderland, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Hercules, Paul Bunyan, Captain Nemo, King Arthur, Allan Quatermain, Moby Dick, Van Helsing, Ares, Zeus, Aladdin, Dorian Grey, Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels, The Night Before Christmas, The Three Musketeers, Odysseus, Red Riding Hood, Grimms Fairy Tales, Thor, The Pied Piper, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, Romeo and Juliet, The Iliad, C. Auguste Dupin, Beowulf, Poseidon, Scheherazade, The Jungle Book, The War of the Worlds, Peter Pan...
The list goes on forever, and these are all stories that are free to be remixed and remade by anyone.
Last year, #PDJam saw 60 entries from every genre imaginable, all based on works in the public domain. It's that time again: Let's make old things new again, and bring back the classics!
Where to Find Public Domain Stories:
There are some seriously cool sites out there that make reading, listening to and sharing work in the public domain easy. There's no cost to enter the jam, but if you like the idea of the classics being kept free by volunteers, consider donating to one of these sites:
Project Gutenberg offers over 45,000 ebooks that are in the public domain, ensuring everyone has access to those great and important books, even without a local library.
LibriVox provides over 7,000 audiobooks for free for anyone to listen to. They started in 2005, which means they record an average of two books a day - all read by volunteers!
More info about Creative Commons:
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.
The creative commons licenses are the easiest way to let people know what is and isn't okay to do with your creative work, including the cc0 waiver - the equivalent of public domain for new works.
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.