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Ian Magenta

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A member registered Jul 03, 2016 · View creator page →

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The Soul Machine is a top-down action game featuring:

  • Normal cultists.
  • A sewer.
  • A possessed gashapon machine that takes souls and spits out prizes.

https://ian-magenta.itch.io/thesoulmachine



I ran The Micro-RPG Jam last year (https://itch.io/jam/micro-rpg-jam) and I just wanted to say that a lot of the tools itch.io had in place made it very easy to run!

There was only one feature the site was missing that would have made things easier: a formal way to take a poll of jam participants on the community forum!

Without this, I had to use an outside polling service (Google forms) which not only took people away from the site but was also confusing for some members of the jam.

As game jams continue to grow on itch.io, I think it would be useful to have a basic polling system in place, so that game jams can have their participants cast votes on themes, help make decisions about the jam, or just give general feedback.

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Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Micro-RPG Jam! Whether you helped to select a theme, submitted an entry, or gave really good feedback, you made this Jam a ton of fun to run!

The results are in and you can now view the rankings for all of the entries!

The Top 5 entries were:

  1. Patricide/Regicide/Deicide
  2. The Sol Survivor
  3. Into the Long Night
  4. Blue Dawn
  5. 22 Torches

Congratulations to the Top 5 and to everyone who submitted an entry!

Every entry was rated and ranked so (even if you didn’t make this list) you likely still got decent feedback about your submission. Hopefully, this Jam gave you the spark to start or continue writing RPG-related content!

Below you can find the results of the feedback survey and some information concerning what my plans are for the next Jam.

But first, I’d likely to quickly extend an extra-special thanks to those who helped to make this event what it was:

  • David Schirduan and Marshall Miller, whose 200 Word RPG Challenge was the direct inspiration for this jam. They were super cool about the whole thing (especially since this event sprang up out of nowhere). You should absolutely participate in the Challenge when it starts again next year!
  • Itch.io’s amazing website, jam tools, and staff who made hosting this whole thing possible! Their blog post advertising the site’s jam tracker is what drove me to start a jam in the first place!
  • Scott Tolksdorf, who went above and beyond by creating the word-counting tool we used for the Jam! (And did so in only a matter of days!)
  • All the users who took the time to leave comments and feedback on entries or helped to troubleshoot issues on the community page. You rock!
  • And, of course, everyone who took time out of their schedules to participate in the Jam. Thanks for taking a chance on this thing!

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Feedback Survey Results

The survey itself was designed to help me understand how people felt about the Jam, what aspects they liked, what aspects they thought should change, and how things could be improved in the future.

Now that the survey has closed, if there is any additional feedback that you would like to leave, feel free to do so below in the comments!

Please note: The survey allowed room for custom answers to each question. Google Forms had trouble formatting these responses alongside the stock responses.

Without further ado, here are the results:


Question: What are your overall feelings about the Jam?

Results:

My Response: Overall, it looks like things went pretty well! There were about as many people who thought it was perfect as there were those that would have changed a few things. Most importantly, that means that this whole thing wasn’t a total failure!

Things that will be changing: As you’ll see below, I plan on making a few changes to the Jam. I mainly just wanted to see what people’s gut-check reaction to the Jam was.


Question: How did you hear about the Jam?

Results:

My Response: I was worried that all of my Reddit posting might have been too much, but it seems like it was actually a major driver in getting people to sign up! We also were on the front page of itch.io for quite some time, so I'm glad that brought in some people as well.

Things that will be changing: I'll continue to post on Reddit, Twitter, and Itch, but also try to reach out to RPG communities on social media sites. I know that G+ is going under, but I'll be sure to keep an eye out for where the community ends up!


Question: What did you think about the 48-hour time limit?

Results:

My Response: This one is pretty clear! People liked the 48-hour time limit so it’s here to stay!

Things that will be changing: Nothing. The 48-hour time limit will return in the next Jam.


Question: What did you think about the 200 word size restriction?

Results:

My Response: While many people voted to keep the 200 word limit, the majority of people voted for either a word or page-based increase in the size limit. Based on other feedback I received, it seems like people also struggled to fit the 3 requirements (a story, setting, and rule-set) into that 200 word space. I think a balanced solution would be to increase the max word count, but only by a small amount. We can see how this change affects things in the next Jam and go from there.

Things that will be changing: The next Jam will have a 300 word limit.


Question: What did you think about theme suggestions and theme voting?

Results:

My Response: This one is mostly clear. People seemed to enjoy the theme voting, so we'll be using a similar system next time. Some people brought up that they would rather have had multiple themes to work with or had the theme decided by a single person. But, I think the Ludum-Dare-style voting system and singular theme help to give the Jam a more community-focused vibe while uniting everyone around a central idea. The real question is, if the Jam grows in size, how do we handle a larger pool of theme suggestions? I'll likely be reaching out to the itch staff about their lack of voting/polling tools for jams. Hopefully, the voting process will be a bit smoother next time around.

Things that will be changing: Hopefully, we'll be able to implement better voting tools and be able to make it clearer when voting is taking place.


Question: What did you think of the overall rules for the Jam?

Results:

My Response: Boy, the formatting on this one is ROUGH! Since I'm able to see things a bit more clearly on my end, I'll just say that this one went well! Most people seemed to enjoy the rule-set that was provided. That being said, I did receive a lot of feedback about certain guidelines and limitations. A lot of people seemed to enjoy the 3 core rules of the jam (that each entry must include a rule-set, story, and setting) but felt restricted in other areas. Ultimately, the goal is to challenge people creatively while giving them a certain level of freedom to submit the kind of entry they would want to.

Things that will be changing: I'll be keeping the core 3 rules (and rules concerning time limit, word count, and submission format) but will be removing some guidelines from the "Players Guide" section.  Certain restrictions like "No Live Action Role Playing (LARP) games" will also be removed. We'll see how this goes during the next Jam. If people feel like this doesn't give them enough challenge, we can always go back again and add some.


Question: What did you think of the submission format (.txt files)?

Results: Forms response chart. Question title: What did you think of the submission format (.txt files)?. Number of responses: 30 responses.

My Response: .txt files ended up working out pretty well! Which is good, because I honestly didn't know if that was the right choice, given itch.io's upload structure. That being said, a lot of people mentioned how they would have preferred to have read entries in their web browser, rather than downloading a file. I think a good compromise might be to allow participants to post their entry to their jam page, provided that they don't apply any formatting.

Things that will be changing: We'll likely still keep the .txt format, but may allow the plain text to be posted to the jam page as well (without any formatting).


Question: What did you think of itch.io, the site the Jam was hosted on?

Results:

My Response: I'm glad people like itch because they're the whole reason I was able to host this Jam in the first place! I thought their Jam tools were fairly comprehensive and easy to use! I would agree that they are missing some key features that Jams usually need (like voting tools) but I have no plans of moving the Jam elsewhere (at least for the time being).

Things that will be changing: Nothing. See you next time, here on itch.io!


Closing Thoughts

I'm pooped! This time of year is already fairly busy for me and running a Jam turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated! I'm so glad everything turned out the way it did, but I can't say I'm in a rush to run this again soon. I think this will likely be a yearly thing. Which makes the Jam a good complement to the 200 Word RPG Challenge (which also takes place yearly in the Spring/Summer). This is usually the part where people would plug their own projects, but most of the stuff I work on is usually half-baked or scattered around. Feel free to follow me on Twitter. I usually post updates on whatever project I'm working on there (including updates about the Micro-RPG Jam). Anyways, if you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this behemoth of a post! And thanks for all of your interest in the Jam! I hope to see you again next time!

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Thank you nikomaru! And thank you to everyone else who has taken the time to rate and comment on entries!

Absolutely! With 91 games to review and only 3 weeks in which to do so, I think it would be difficult for people to play though all of the entries they would want to rate. Just use your best judgement and you should be good to go!

I think we've gotten a good share of votes in so far, but there's definitely room for more! Luckily, there's still time left to vote! 

Once the voting period is over, you'll be able to see the overall ranking and average scores for each entry (including your own).

According to itch.io, the final scores are "adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam."

Here's an example from another jam of what these kinds of results look like.

Haha! I've also been pretty happy so far with how comments and feedback have been going!

You are more than welcome to leave comments on submission pages!

I would only ask that:

  • If you plan on leaving feedback, make sure that it's constructive.
  • If you plan on sharing your opinion, make sure to follow Wheaton's Law.

Sorry to hear that some of the notifications didn't make it your way! I've been using itch.io's email system (which allows you to contact everyone in the Jam).

As PSNick mentioned, there were other notifications that I sent out. I would maybe look at either taking the mail system itch.io uses off of your blacklist, or using an alternate email for your itch.io account.

Unfortunately, with entries now closed, you won't be able to submit an entry. Sorry again that things didn't line up!

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Thank you all for participating in The Micro-RPG Jam this weekend! I hope you had fun!

Please take a moment to fill out this feedback form so that we can improve future versions of the Jam.

Now that submission period has ended, entry voting has begun! If you submitted an RPG to the Jam, you should now be able to rate games by visiting their entry page!

You'll have about 3 weeks to play, review, and vote on as many entries as you can! The voting deadline is Sunday, October 28th at 10:00 PM (UTC). At that time, itch.io will automatically rank all of the entries in the Jam and you'll be able to see how your submission placed!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

No worries! Your title will not count against the 200 word limit.

That being said, you'll want to make it clear that your title is a title (and not a part of the RPG itself).

Thank you for troubleshooting this!

A few people have brought this up, so I'll add some language to the submission page as well!

The word-counting tool linked on the main Jam page has an example of this when you first open it.

You can use characters like "-" and "|" to make a table that looks like this:

| d4 | Result |
---------------
| 1  | Sock   |
| 2  | Shoe   |
| 3  | Pants  |
| 4  | Hat    |

You should be able to go into the settings on your game page and re-upload an updated version. (You may have to delete your old version).

If worse comes to worse, you can just delete your whole submission and re-submit a new one (but I would try the above solution first).

Just a heads up: once the jam has ended, all uploads will be locked until the voting period is over!

I don't see any itch.io tools on my side that allow me to restrict the number of entries. It may be that it only allows one (or allows multiple) by default.

That being said, only 1 entry will be allowed per person/group. I will add this rule to the Jam page.

Below are the results for the Final Round (Round 4) of voting.

The winning theme was:

  • The sun is dead

We had a total of 133 people show up to vote on the final theme! Thank you to everyone who did so!

The below chart shows the totals for the Final Round:

 

There were, however, a number of accounts that I was unable to verify as being a part of the Jam. So, I went back and took out their votes just to see if it would affect the outcome...

And, luckily, it did not!

Thanks again to everyone who suggested themes and voted on them! Good luck and have fun during the Jam!

Good news! We are no longer using wordcounter.io! See the new thread for the changes!

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Reddit user /u/stolksdorf was kind enough to build this word-counting tool for the Jam! It'll allow you to use ASCII art and create tables out of characters without having to worry about them adding to your word count. You can learn more about the tool by visiting its Github repo.

I've posted a link to it on the main Jam page and it'll be the official word-counter for the Jam.

Please also note: The title of your entry does not count against the 200 word limit. (This has been added to the rules section of the Jam page).

Below are the results for Round 3 of voting.

The winning themes from this round are:

  • Very Short Life Spans
  • Wars of the sky
  • Sci-fantasy
  • Cyberpunk

These themes will advance to the final round (Round 4). 

Google Forms had a bit of trouble formatting the chart for this round. The blank columns are "Adolescent Anthropomorphic Acrobat Animals" (top) and "Mundane Inorganic Party (Animated Objects)" (bottom).


Below are the results for Round 2 of voting.

The winning themes from this round are:

  • Digging holes
  • Transformation
  • No Dice
  • Folding

These themes will advance to the final round (Round 4). 

Google Forms had a bit of trouble formatting the chart for this round. The blank columns are "Mundane life made fun" (top) and "Mecha Were-wolves from Hell" (bottom).


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Below are the results for Round 1 of voting.

The winning themes from this round are:

  • The sun is dead
  • Tarot Cards
  • We are not alone
  • Avoiding work
  • Endless Odyssey

These themes will advance to the final round (Round 4). Since the last 2 themes tied, they will both advance.


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Thanks again to everyone who submitted theme suggestions! All in all, we received a total of 63 different themes! Now that the suggestion period is over, everyone participating in the jam will have a chance to sort through all of them and vote on their favorites!

Theme voting will be similar to Ludum Dare in that it will take place over a series of rounds. Each round, participants can choose their top 4 favorites from a selection of the themes.

  1. Round 1  has ended. You can view the results below.
  2. Round 2 has ended. You can view the results below.
  3. Round 3 has ended. You can view the results below.
  4. Round 4 has ended. The theme will be posted to the jam page roughly 5 min before the Jam starts. You’ll be able to view the results below shortly after the jam starts.

The final round (Round 4) will consist of the top 4 picks from each previous round. The winning theme will be kept secret until the time the jam starts on October 5th.

This post will update each time a new round starts with a link to where you can submit your votes for that round.

Because itch.io doesn't have a system set up to handle this, I'll be using Google Forms. Each form will be limited to 1 response and will require you to sign into a Google account in order to use it.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

Word count will solely be determined by wordcounter.io. You can use any special characters you want to, but if wordcounter.io counts it as a word, then it's a word. This is just to keep things simple and to make judging entries as easy as possible.

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You can submit your suggestions here! (Theme suggestions are now closed).

Suggestions will remain open until Saturday, September 22nd at 11:59 PM CDT.

Starting on September 23rd, there will be 4 rounds of voting to narrow down the theme. (I'll post more details about voting as we get closer to this date).

The winning theme will be kept secret until the time the Jam starts on October 5th.

In order to limit voting to only those participating, I've decided to use Google Forms. You'll need to sign into a Google account in order to use the form. You will also be required to provide your itch.io username so that I can verify that you are a part of the Jam.

I've decided to base theme selection on how Ludum Dare does it. Feel free to check out my post below!

So, I've decided to model theme selection after Ludum Dare.

  1. Just like Ludum Dare, we'll have a period in which participants can submit theme suggestions. I'll open a thread soon where that can take place. Feel free to share any idea that you have for a theme there. Theme suggestions will be open until Saturday, September 22nd at 11:59 PM CDT.
  2. From there, we will have 4 rounds of voting to narrow down the themes suggested.
    1. Round 1 will begin on September 23rd.
    2. Round 2 will begin on September 26th.
    3. Round 3 will begin on September 29th.
    4. Round 4 will begin on October 2nd and end on October 4th.
  3. The winning theme will be kept secret until the time the jam starts on October 5th.

Because itch.io doesn't have a system set up to handle this, I'll be using Google Forms. Each form will be limited to 1 response and will require you to sign into a Google account in order to use it.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

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Sorry that the whole theme process isn't more clear at the moment! This is the first year that the jam is taking place so not everything has been set in stone yet.

By theme, I'm referring to a central idea that all games in the jam are encouraged to draw from. (Very similar to how Ludum Dare incorporates a theme into its jam).

I'm still mulling over how to select the theme. Ideally, it would be similar to  Ludum Dare, where the community submits and votes on themes over a series of rounds.

Right now, I'm now aware of a good tool that allows us to do that while restricting voting to those participating in the jam.

What I may likely end up doing is starting a theme suggestions thread and building a top list from there. Participants could then vote on their favorite from the list and then we would have our theme.

I'm open to suggestions though!

Whether you're into tabletop gaming or have been looking for an excuse to make a pen-and-paper RPG, come and check out The Micro-RPG Jam: https://itch.io/jam/micro-rpg-jam