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I'm glad not everyone shares your particular worldview. Not everything has to be a competition you know. Global rankings especially (which nobody benefits from except maybe the top percentage of developers here) tend to drive amateurs and hobbyists away in my experience, marginalizing creators even further, which would be a huge loss to itch.io from where I'm standing.
"Steam does it" is generally a good reason not to.
Have you never made a game before, or is this your first time participating in a game jam? Here are some links and tips just for you:
(Relatively) Simple (But Great) Game Making Tools
Check out sortingh.at. It's a great interactive resource for zero budget first timers who don't know where to begin.
Here's a bunch of tools I've worked with before and that I can recommend for game jams:
Bitsy is a tiny pixely tile-based game making engine right here on itch.io! It's great for making small exploration based games and simple scenes. You can find all the instructions inside the app itself.
Construct 2 is a HTML5 game engine (that means the games will run in a browser!) that's very beginner-friendly. The documentation is great and there are a lot of tutorials. The editor itself is Windows-only but Construct 3 runs right in your browser and might be worth a try also.
PICO-8 is cool if you already know some programming (it's lua based). Paid, but well thought out and includes a code editor, sprite editor, sequencer, everything you need to make a tiny game. There's a fanzine to get you started.
PuzzleScript is for simple rule-based puzzles. Kinda like Sokoban, but also capable of much more.
Vertex Meadow is a tool that renders 2D images as explorable 3D terrain. It runs right in your browser. And it's based on a lua framework called Amulet, which gives you a PuzzleScript-like interface and tons of more options, if you're into lua.
FlickGame is for tiny vignette games. Think MS Paint meets Powerpoint, but wayyyy simpler.
RPG Maker is for making JRPG-style games. There are a lot of versions and most of them are paid, but the older ones are cheaper.
Also, here are some great audio tools:
- Bfxr (sound effects)
- Chiptone (needs Flash)
- beepbox (sketch and share little chiptune melodies)
- Bosca Ceoil (create music, tracker-style)
- Little Sound DJ (for the Game Boy, but works in an emulator, too!)
- SunVox (modular synth and music creation)
General Game Jam Advice
I recommend you read Christer McFunkypants Kaitila's great article (which he wrote with Ludum Dare in mind, but it applies here and to every game jam nonetheless), How to Get the Most Out of a Game Jam. Our friends over at My First Game Jam also wrote this huge thread with a ton of advice and links for getting started.
To keep yourself motivated I recommend keeping the game small as you possibly can (and then expand on that later, if you still have time/energy) and to take care of yourself. Take breaks, don't forget to hydrate and eat well. Stuck on a problem? Take a short walk around the block and the solution might come to you.
You can also try to keep a log of your progress (with the devlog tag right here in our forums), show people in the #show-and-tell channel of our Discord, or post your progress (screenshots, gifs, little videos, whatever) on twitter with the #AGBIC hashtag.
Do you know a simple game making tool that's beginner friendly? Do you want to share some advice for newbies? Tell us in this thread, and don't forget to join our Discord.
Hey everyone. In addition to the Winnitron stuff I thought it would be fun to set up some jam diversifiers this year. Feel free to follow any of these, if they speak to you. All of the below is of course 100% optional as well:
Famicase covers are not your thing? Check out this fine twitter account for some more inspiration: https://twitter.com/SegaCDgames/
Fuck This Jam
Hey, remember this jam? It was about making a game in a genre you hate, which turned out to be a great idea because ignoring conventions means more interesting results. If you decide to do this, don't forget to bug Rami on twitter about bringing this jam back on itch.io sometime.
Turn in your homework... TWICE!
Ever turned in a book report multiple times? This is the diversifier for you. Participate in a second jam and their restrictions in parallel and submit your game there as well (as long as their rules allow for it) https://itch.io/jams
A Game For A Gurl (or Boi)
Make a game that your cat/dog/pet can play!
Easy: If you encounter a bug that is silly but not game breaking, don't fix it.
Remember to FLOSS!
Free as in freedom? Make uncle rms proud and publish the source code of your project under a free license.
There will be checkboxes in the submission form. Just check any that may apply.
A Game By Its Cover 2017 kicks off... and the secret challenge is revealed:
Make your game compatible with WINNITRON arcade machines!
Aaron and Marlon have been working hard on the new launcher and a new and improved version of the Winnitron Network, which now consists of a couple of custom built arcade machines around the world. Each of these machines is capable of running your game - if you follow these guidelines and make sure to restrict your controls to four directions and two buttons per player, as described in this document.
If you need any help or run into any issues, post them here or in the #winnitron channel of our Discord thing.
One of the goals of this jam is to give the incredible annual My Famicase Exhibition the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, their website is a little slow, and can be hard to navigate. Here are a couple of ways to help you choose a cart to base your game on:
#1: Download the archive for faster offline browsing
7Soul also made this .rar that contains the 2017 exhibition only.
#2: Browse famicase.com
This is the obvious one. Of course, their site is a little slow and I'm a little worried we might eat up their entire bandwidth quota and their webhost might take it down or something (hence #1 above). It isn't immediately obvious and they don't seem to link them anywhere, but you can browse prior years all the way back to 2008 by changing the year in the URL. For example, to check out the 2010 collection, change the 17 in http://famicase.com/17/index.html to a 10, like so: http://famicase.com/10/index.html.
Years prior to 2008 can be found here. There is also this flash based, 3D-animated thing containing everything between '05 and '16 (warning, this one takes ages to load).
#3: Let RANDOM FAMICASE decide for you
Pyrofoux made this neat little tool to randomly browse through the Famicase collection. This one is helpful if you have trouble picking a cart out of the hundreds and hundreds of great designs. Warning: Right now this tool hotlinks images from famicase.com, which makes it just as slow as browsing the site directly.
I hope this helps ✨
Happy jamming everyone :)
I don't know! But I think it would probly be cool to load all submissions onto a usb drive each year, put it into a custom Famicom cartridge shaped enclosure and mimick one of those wonderful "300-in-1" pirate carts.
FREQUENTLY ANSWERED QUESTIONS
Update at the top because of its importance:
What about copyright? / Is it legal to use these covers as inspiration? / Can I use parts of the graphic in my game? / Can I turn this into a commercial project?
(IANAL) First of all, you always should try to look up and contact the original designer of the Famicase cart you've picked. We know that isn't always easy or might even be impossible, but you should make an effort anyway, because it's the Right Thing To Do.
Copyright unfortunately is A Thing and there is something called Fair Use (at least in the US) but, if a famicase designer should ask you not to turn their design into a game, please respect their wishes and choose another cart. This jam is all about a relaxed atmosphere and there's nothing chill about legal issues.
This is obviously a grey area, like fanart. At the end of the day, you are definitely working off of someone else's work, but if it doesn't develop into a commercial project that just straight-up uses their assets, you should be ok.
Can I start early?
Yes! Feel free to start early if you like. This is supposed to be a very relaxed jam with very few restrictions.
Can work in a team?
Yes! You can also work solo of course.
Wait, what's Famicase anyway?
It's the annual My Famicase Exhibition, organized and hosted by Super Meteor in Japan. They accept submissions for fictional famicom-style game cartridge designs and descriptions every year and then display them in their shop and on their website. This jam is meant to a) bring attention to this amazing little thing and b) to turn these fictional cartridge designs into real little videogames!
Does my game have to follow the Famicase entry's description?
No! You're free to adhere to the provided description, but you don't have to.
Do I have to name my game after its inspirational Famicase entry?
Do I have to pick a cart from 2017?
No, you're free to pick any Famicase design regardless of year. There's a couple of ways to browse the entire collection. If you're having trouble picking one, try this handy randomizer.
Can I call dibs on a design?
No reservations. And yes, there can be multiple games based on the same cart. There have been some in the past, and it was always super interesting to see different interpretations of the same theme.
What's this Winnitron stuff about?
Will there be voting/judging/ranking/prizes?
None of the sort. Just people making games and stuff :)
(I hope it's OK to self-promote here)
I've given up on my entry but I'm releasing this little trick I found (back during GBJAM 3) to easily switch between different color palettes. I thought this might be useful to anyone who's making a GBJAM game using Construct 2.
It's super easy to do really. Feel free to use this in your projects, you don't need to credit me or anything.
You could also submit a placeholder now and just update it whenever. I personally don't like crunch, but unfortunately the game jam format in general implicitly expects people to crunch (because of the very limited time frame). I wanted to avoid this a bit, so I made the jam a month long, and even extended the deadline.
Really, don't worry. Just make something and submit whatever. This is supposed to be relaxing and fun.
You mean the timer on the jam page? https://itch.io/jam/a-game-by-its-cover-2016
It's already been updated. The original due date was August 1 @ 2:00 AM (CEST), now it's August 8 @ 2:00 AM (CEST).
Don't worry about submitting your game. If you miss the deadline, just let us know. We can add your game to the jam manually, even after the deadline. :)
yesterday, by popular demand, we've decided to extend the submission deadline by a week!
This means you have plenty of time to finish your projects, fix bugs (which you could do anyway since itch.io allows for jam entries to be modified after they've been submitted), or join and start one if you haven't already.
Remember to credit the original artists and provide a link to the artwork your game was inspired by.
Hey everyone, with the jam starting in a couple of hours I thought a gentle reminder that you don't have to use Famicase art as your inspiration is in order. I think anything goes, as long as the thing is fictional and doesn't exist yet as a game.
These fake games by faux-company Schadenfreude Interactive are excellent examples:
Let's collect sources of inspiration (that aren't part of the My Famicase Exhibition) in this thread.
This is a really good idea and I agree, it's always best to ask the artist's permission first (even though that might be impossible with some of the Famicase submissions because of pseudonyms, artists that don't want to be contacted, etc).
(I totally stole most of these from Sophie Houlden's Star Trek Jam (which you should totally join too by the way), if your question isn't answered freel free to ask!)
- Can I start planning before the beginning of the jam?
- Yes, if you want to.
- Could I even start making the game early?
- Can I work in a team?
- What does "Inspired by Famicase" mean?
- Must I choose one of this year's My Famicase Exhibition?
- Nope! In fact, you can use any fake cover art that inspires you.
- Do I have to name my game after its inspirational Famicase entry?
- An artist contacted me and they are uncomfortable with me turning their art into a game, what do I do?
- Don't be mean, choose a different cart, and let them know.
- What does "Game" mean?
- Whatever it means to you.
- Where can I find previous A Game By Its Cover jams?
- Last year's jam page contains some history and links.
- Will there be voting/judging/ranking/prizes?
- Nope, no competition. Just people making games and stuff :)
- Do I have to use the Famicase cover for the itch.io cover of my game?
- Someone stole my art and put it into their AGBIC game, are you cool with that?
- No, definitely not! Please contact us and we'll remove it from the jam. You should also report the game to itch.io staff via the link at the bottom of the game page.
- So you extended the deadline. Will you keep doing that?
- I'm running out of time! Can I submit a placeholder and change it later?
- Yes, totally.
- What about fixing bugs / making changes after the deadline?
- All fine. Itch.io's jam system is very relaxed that way (which is great).
- I found a Famicase that I like. Do I have to stick to their description?
- Does my game have to be free or can I charge people money for it?
- That's up to you, but keep in mind that you can't legally sell other people's artwork. (IANAL)
- Can I just submit any game, even if it wasn't made for this jam?
- You can (and people have), but we'll probably remove it.
- What if I put my own cover art into the Famicase template? Can I submit it then?
- Nothing stopping you from submitting your spam, nothing stopping us from removing it again.
- I missed the deadline! Can I still submit my game?
- Yes. Please contact us and we'll manually add your game to the jam.
- When will AGBIC 2017 take place?
- We don't know yet, but definitely after My Famicase 2017 (which should be around March / April).
(Oh wow, so many people here. I feel like I'm late to the party but here it goes)
Hi, I'm Jeremy. You may know me as @Ludonaut.
I've been making games for two years now. I started with Twine and moved to Construct 2 and also somehow managed to make some simple stuff with Unity. I love text art and glitch art (I've made some), I spend way too much time on Twitter, and I'm currently studying game design here in Germany.
My latest thing is this borb thing that I made as a birthday present for a friend.
I'm not good with forums and this might turn out to be my only post here, but this looks very promising. Thank you all for creating a nice atmosphere so far. ✨