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Here are my tips for forming your game jam teams! I've participated in dozens of game jams—I've run a dozen or two myself—and I've witnessed hundreds of game jam teams form, with many successes and just-as-many failures as teams crash-and-burn. I want you to have a fun, positive, and educational jam experience where you can make something you're proud of, and forming your team (or lack thereof) is the first step!
You may elect to ignore some of this advice if you're a more experienced jammer, especially if you have a preset team of experienced devs, however for beginners I stress my advice and warnings below.
- Be clear and honest about yourself and your jam goals
- Make a small team of 1 to 3 people—5 at the most
- Work with people of a similar skill level with different skills
When making games with a team, teamwork is the most important skill—not art, design, or coding! And good teamwork is often harder than it seems; if you don't think you're ready to juggle being a great team member alongside everything else that goes into a game, making a solo game or working with only 1 other person is perfectly fine, and perhaps better for your situation.
If you're looking to join up with new people (which is great!) consider how you present yourself.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? What skills do you offer? What tasks do you want to do on this jam?
- What role do you want to fill on a team? Do you want to take the lead on a project or relax in a more supportive role?
- What kind of game do you want to make? 2D or 3D? What game engine do you intend to use? How tied to that game idea are you?
I'd recommend creating a simple profile here on itch.io (if you don't have one already) even if you don't have any previously published games here. Showcase your previous work (all your previous work—even the bad/buggy/unfinished/embarrassing stuff) and communicate a bit about your personality and gamedev-interests. While I don't think it's any kind of gold standard, here's my own itch profile to get a taste of what I mean. If you've made something other than games, such as artwork, comics, videos, music, or even fanfiction hosted elsewhere, then link to that!
I'd recommend posting both here on the Greenlight Jam itch forums and within the Greenlight Discord to look for your potential teammates.
Like anywhere else, it's all about managing expectations! People can only be disappointed by a game or any product, or by a teammate or coworker, etc. if they expected something different. If expectations align with reality, then no one is ever disappointed and everyone gets along really well. You know yourself better than anyone, so tell us all why we'd love to have you on our teams!
While anyone can be a good teammate with good communication and teamwork, remember that both communication and teamwork are skills within themselves, and quite difficult to master, especially during a tight time-crunch such as a game jam or when learning new skills. If someone is already stressed out with the difficulty inherent to making a game in a jam, then remember that their communication skills will understandably be impacted!
Also remember that the more people you have in a group, the more people you have to wrangle and communicate with, which makes good communication exponentially more difficult the more of you there are. In short, more people is not always better! Oftentimes smaller teams can be more focused and actually produce better games than disorganized larger teams that tend towards confusion.
If this is your first time making a game (or even your second, third, fifth, etc. time making a game), consider having a smaller team you can communicate better between. For beginners, I recommend a team size of 1 to 3 people. I strongly recommend you keep your time size no larger than 5 people!
Similar to considering how many teammates to take on, consider who you might work best with. The best teams are balanced! It's best to supplement for your weaknesses to let you play to your strengths!
If you're a programmer, then consider partnering with an artist or sound designer! It may seem obvious, but plenty of people are understandably inclined to work with their known friends, even when their friends all have the same skillset as them! You don't want to have a team of all artists or all engineers, as that will generally result in everyone tripping over everyone else without anyone supporting the knowledge gaps.
Working with your friends can be beneficial as you already know each others' personalities and general skills and preferences, however I recommend trying to team with people of a similar skill level to you as a priority. If a beginner and an expert at different stages of their gamedev journeys try to work together, it can occasionally result in conflict, unhealthy power dynamics, uneven games, or a mismatch in possible scope. Unless you're a more experienced developer specifically trying to team up with a less experienced developer for the sole purpose of helping them grow via mentoring, in the hundreds of game jam teams I've witnessed, those with the most uniform skill level amongst its membership tend to succeed the most with the happiest team dynamics.
Ultimately, just keep in mind the overall amicability and togetherness of the group. Everyone should be on the same wavelength and ready to have fun together first-and-foremost. A small happy team that gets along and has fun always wins out over the big more competitive and "stacked" team of "powerhouse" devs with competing egos, regardless of the supposed skill levels. Be kind, honest, empathic, and have fun!
Ah, I see. Well the short answer is however you want. Just as you can deliver a game in whatever package you want (Windows .exe, HTML5 package, Android .apk, Mac .app, etc.) for whatever platforms you want to prioritize, even though HTML or Windows are recommended to hit the most players, you can naturally publish concept materials in whatever format is best for your game.
This is genuinely just whatever files you'd make for yourself and your team to brainstorm your game concept to yourselves; all you're doing is exposing your process.
If you're an art-driven team, maybe you just make several pieces of concept art and upload those to an itch page as screenshots, or if you're used to presenting games in a pitch document-like format, maybe you upload a PowerPoint file that goes through the overall plan for the game. If you're a hands-on person who likes writing pen-and-paper notes or making a dream board of sticky notes to brainstorm, take a picture of that!
However, on average I'd expect most people to write their concepts in a Google Document (especially with a team), perhaps with some reference material images or links embedded, or concept art embedded within the document. Then you could simply link to that Google Document, and/or upload it as a Word or PDF.
Anything is fine. As long as it's a file(s) other people can open and examine, it can be in whatever format. However, if you want it to be easily seen by as many people as possible to share your process, I'd recommend Google Docs and/or Google Slides.
On the main Greenlight Jam page, each of the four sprints (Ideation, Prototype, Production, and Polish & Release) have a link to a different itch.io jam page where the result from each sprint should be submitted one-by-one each week during the jam.
Use this link to submit your game concept for the first Ideation sprint. This will be a rough pre-production plan, including any ideas, concept art, storyboards, design docs or design pillars, mood boards, perhaps a plan of how the available time will be utilized in each subsequent sprint, a description of the tools you'll use, etc.
This first sprint phase will be a good opportunity to assemble teammates by pitching your concept to each other, with a comfy full-week to do it!
However, we will be launching a Discord server for this jam soon, which will serve as the ideal location for team formation, allowing for faster, more informal file and image sharing and easy informal pitching. I'll repost that server link when it goes live here!
Lol. Thanks for having a good attitude about it. I've always felt bad about the clicking part; I thought it was a really obvious troll from the start, especially after the text about how time was running out for the game jam, but a lot of people over the years have seemed to fall for it completely and get mad that nothing else happens haha...
Thank you so much! This was just a really dumb old project for me in a 3 hour game jam, made as an excuse to learn Ren'Py. I wrote the silly moronic script in just an hour, stream-of-consciousness in a rush for the deadline. Pretty much my dumbest creation ever, just a troll piece mainly, but it always held a place in my heart.
People have actually been requesting a full version of this, which I'm not opposed to. I'd love to return to this dumb game concept and make it into a full Steam game with some 50K words, multiple full routes, etc., but I work a full-time job as a Game Designer on serious games haha... So finding time for indiedev is tough.
Anyways, thanks again for playing!
Thank you for playing and your kind attention. If you would like to play an actual jam game of mine instead of an incomplete art and sound demo, then I would recommend Doppelgate:
Or Inverse Pair:
Both were made in only a few hours and share a common design theme, but they're complete and playable microgames.
Yes, it's a visual novel, as tagged and labeled. Visual novels are novels (or shorter fiction) presented as software with visuals, usually anime-style artwork, that typically feature minor interactivity through choose-your-own-adventure-style branching narrative choices or dialogue trees, with varying complexity. Visual novels are considered a subgenre of video games, along with other interactive fiction that lack visuals, but they lack real-time interactive gameplay.
This game was a dumb microgame project made in under three hours for a game jam (as an excuse to learn Ren'Py), with the script written in under one hour (the other two hours were spent learning Ren'Py).
Popular visual novels include Doki Doki Literature Club, Ace Attorney, Monster Prom, Daganronpa, and your mom.
Lol. Surprised anyone saw this on upload; this is (obviously) a super simple and unimportant upload—mainly just uploaded to fulfill a 2022 weekly goals quota—but it's a product I often found myself wanting, with occasional use for.
This is actually a redux of one of the first pieces of software I ever made as a teenager—back then, I got a lot of interest (or at least a lot more interest) in math and cryptography, so the first few .exes I made of my own volition were Caesar / Atbash cipher applications, and this Factor Finder
This was such a quick silly project... years ago now (eesh)... but it always stuck out as one of my favorites when I was doing quick weekly projects.
One of those projects that I always tell myself I'll get back to and expand in the future... but I know realistically I most likely won't. If anything, I'd recreate an improved version from scratch rather than dig back into this old code haha...
Regardless, thank you for commenting! Nice comments on old projects are always appreciated haha 😄
Let me know if there's anything I can do for you in the future! (e.g., playing your game, giving feedback, fixing a bug that bothers you in one of my games, etc.)
The game didn't work for me the first time, glitched out at the enemy screen and wouldn't let me move or do anything, but thankfully it worked the second time on a reload.
Absolutely fantastic art and music! So cute and thematic, really loved it. Awesome job, all!
Excellent spritework! Animations are a bit rough but the static pixel artwork is top notch, I'd love to see the artists continue! Both the backgrounds and character art is really fantastic!
Really good presentation on the itch page; great use of title and background, good colors, good partial transparent gray central backing, lots of diverse screenshots with a variety of setting and color, has a trailer, good simple description—nice work! Only improvements I could really see being made is to change the default itch.io salmon pink-red for the link text color, use something less gaudy that fits better with your color scheme, and to change the background image from repeating with scroll to static in settings. But it's truly a very nice itch page, which is a criminally overlooked and underrated portion of a game, presentation is vital and you've done very well.
Having the game playable as in-browser WebGL is a huge deal, another underrated and overlooked part of a game. It runs great, it's formatted within the iframe perfectly, goes fullscreen perfectly, 5 stars there.
The game itself is interesting, certainly not a pinnacle of game design, but very well-fleshed out for a student game (as I understand this is a UNLV student game but I could be mistaken). The tactics gameplay was certainly unexpected! I didn't watch the trailer or look through the screenshots before starting (due to the ease-of-use of WebGL!), and while platforming around it was a quite a surprise when that screen popped up when I tried to slash an enemy!
Both the platforming and tactics gameplay seem to be rather thought-through—both have their elements of bugginess and unpolish as to be expected of a student game (or an itch game in general), but they are certainly playable and serve as a good proof-of-concept. The tactics element already carries a bit of complexity, which is a testament to its systems. The platforming is a bit too simple and dull, however the inclusion of both a double jump and a satisfying dash helps the feel of moving through the vast levels.
The SFX for the dash and jump are unexpectedly polished and satisfying, and overall the audio is quite good. The music is rather great, and while some SFX ring to me as unoriginal (I swear the tactics menu is the Pokemon SFX, but it could just be a generic fill-in), none of the audio struck me as poor, which is a rarity.
Overall, really nice work from the team. Congratulations of the success of a project of this scale, and I hope we can see many more games from you all in the future!
-Sincerely, Gunnar Clovis
Really nice! Good all-around, cute art, solid music, perfectly good. The design choice of the wrapping pac-man bullets coming around to kill you was very good. That design decision alone elevates this above most similar game jam survival shooters like this, adding challenge and necessary player care beyond just spamming the buttons. Keep it up!