Touhou Project is a series of 2D danmaku shooting games from Japan that has become widely beloved due to series creator ZUN's loose policy on creating derivative works. Thanks to this, the fanbase has been able to create all sorts of interesting and high quality fanworks, including games, covers, art, and more. We celebrate this by regularly hosting a game jam for Touhou fans to come together in friendly competition and create their own games based off the series.
Our first Touhou game jam went wonderfully (with a whopping 16 submissions), and we'd like to keep that flame going!
If you want to participate, we recommend you join our Discord server: a Touhou-centric gamedev hub where you can discuss and show off Touhou fangames. The Discord has chat channels for the jam as well, including team-forming. And you can follow our Twitter for more updates and to help spread the jam!
For those unfamiliar, a game jam is a contest where participants are given a "theme" to work off of and then given a brief period of time (usually a couple days) to create a game, from scratch, based around that theme. All skill levels and areas of expertise are welcome, and members can work either in teams or individually to submit a game by the deadline.
After the contest is done, anyone interested can play the submitted games and vote on what they think are the best entries. After a period of voting, a winner will be announced. There will be several categories to vote for: Best Overall (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), Best Gameplay, Best Visuals, Best Audio, and Best Story.
Theme: Find out at the start of the jam!
Rules: (READ THESE)
How to participate and submit a game:
Q: What kind of game can I make? A: Any kind you want! As long as it's a fan game of Touhou, the sky is the limit. You can make a game that's gameplay-oriented or story-oriented. You can go for simple art or complex visuals. Whatever floats your creative boat.
Q: How does my game have to relate to Touhou? A: As a fan game, your game is expected to borrow from the intellectual property in the Touhou series, meaning you should be including characters, locations, lore, or anything else from the from the official Touhou universe in your game. But do not steal assets from the official Touhou games themselves. You're not restricted to only characters/locations/etc. from Touhou, but it must be included and generally be the focus of your game's setting and events. Your game does NOT need to be based off any gameplay from the Touhou games themselves. Making a bullet hell game is perfectly acceptable, but by no means mandatory. You can create whatever type of game you think would be fun to play or fun to make.
Q: Do I have to make the whole thing myself? A: Nope! If you don't want to work alone you can form teams with anyone you please and take any job that suits your style. However, the game you submit must be made entirely by your team and within the jam period. I recommend picking a team with a similar timezone/sleep schedule so all of you are at least around at the same time.
Q: Can I join multiple teams/games? A: I don't see why not. Voting will be on the game submissions and not the participants, so you'll technically increase your chance of being on a winning team if you offer your talents to multiple games. Just keep in mind that of course means extra work, and this is all just for fun anyway, so no need to overexert yourself.
Q: I'm new to this. What can I use to make my game? A: You have lots of options for how to make a game. Even if you're a total beginner, game engines can make it super easy to make something playable and fun. Some of them don't even need you to write a line of code! Some popular engines include:
If you want to use an engine such as these, I recommend you look up some tutorials and get some practice in with them before the jam starts. Just enough so that you know the basics, and once the theme is announced you can jump right into it.
Q: What's the theme going to be? A: You won't know the theme until the game jam starts. The theme will likely be a simple concept or a vague term that can be interpreted in many ways. Once it's announced, the brainstorming process begins and you have three days to create your own Touhou fan game based around that theme.
Q: Does my game have to follow the theme? A: Your game doesn't exactly need to involve the theme to be eligible, but it's highly recommended for the sake of the sport. There will be a category during voting for best use of theme. Not only that, but the theme is often a diving board for brainstorming ideas at the start of the jam. Since there are so many ideas and so many things you can make in a game, it's nice to have an idea to start with. Restriction breeds creativity!
Q: Just three days to make a game? Any advice on how to manage this?
A: It may seem daunting, but if you manage your time and plans well enough you can make something super fun! Here's my take:
My most important bit of advice is not to rely on making a giant, comprehensive game. For a game jam, you should focus on what the core mechanic/point is of what you're trying to make, and make that as good as you can, expanding upon it once you're satisfied with it.
Don't worry about perfecting every little thing either. If you spend half the jam time polishing a single aspect of your game, you'll likely end up not being able to reach the full potential you imagined before the deadline. Also don't be afraid to change things up midway through. You may find out one of your game mechanics is way more fun than you thought, so why not focus on that instead? Just make sure you have the time remaining to change things up.
Losing out on some sleep is common in game jams, but know that it comes at a price. If you pull an all-nighter the night before the deadline, you could very easily run out of energy before your game is ready to be submitted, so be careful. Also take breaks if you're feeling out of it. If you don't take care of yourself, you'll likely have trouble taking care of your game and delivering for your team.
And most importantly: experiment, learn things, take it easy, and have fun!