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How To Survive A Game Jam (a list of tips and reminders) Sticky

A topic by BáiYù created Aug 29, 2017 Views: 2,125 Replies: 1
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Hey all, the jam's about to start so I wanted to give a bit of advice to my fellow devs. If you have some more tips, feel free to post them here too!

1. Doesn't matter whether you're new to the scene or a seasoned veteran, avoid crunch.

Gaming news website Polygon published this article not too long ago about an AAA dev's thought on "crunch time," AKA "push everything else to the side and work work work." Don't do this to yourself and your team. At least, try not to. It's incredibly unhealthy and leads to burnout sooner or later, which can be permanent. Pace yourself and know your limits. Don't stare at your computer screen all day and take breaks. You will be okay.

2. Know the scope of your project.

Yuri Jam will be 2 months long, which is longer than your usual game jam. That's great! But don't go in with the idea that you'll be able to fit in all those cool features or that extra love interest. Feature creep is real. Make a list of all the core functionality your game will absolutely need and another list of the bells and whistles you'd love to have. Focus on the first list and afterwards if you have time, try working on the fancy stuff.

3. Plan for the worst.

That may sound pessimistic, but life has a tendency to get in the way of the things we want to do. Maybe you or one of your teammates get sick. Maybe one of you guys have a personal emergency. Things will happen and that's normal. Leave yourself and your team some buffer time in the worst case scenario.

4. Communicate with your team.

I absolutely cannot stress this enough. A lot of us will be busy with going back to school or with the grind of our day jobs. Check in with your team at least once a week if not daily for progress reports. Everyone will appreciate it. And if something happens IRL and you can't participate anymore? Tell your team, don't be that person who mysteriously disappears. We worry about each other.

5. Leave some time for testing and bugfixes.

Trust me, you'll need it.

6. Your health is the first priority.

Remember to take care of yourself! Sacrificing your health is never worth it. Drink plenty of water, make sure to eat healthy, and get some fresh air. 

I'm a year late here, but just wanted to say great advice! Thank you for taking the time to post it for everyone. It's still just as relevant as it was a year ago!