Yes you can update as much as you want during the voting period :)
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It can be anything unexpected! This could be an unexpected story, or unexpected game mechanics, or unexpected audio/visuals, or any other unexpected elements you can think of.
Overall you're trying to create an experience that the player doesn't expect.
Hope that answers your question :)
You shouldn't be creating anything specific to this jam prior to this jam starting. But you can use previously-made content (either made by yourself or by others) that wasn't specifically for this jam, as long as you mention what you re-used when you submit (so that others can rate your game fairly).
So in answer to your specific question: no - but you could treat it as a separate game and just re-use things from your previous game (if you mention these things upon submission in the appropriate text box).
Yes technically you could cheat, but that's not in the spirit of any game jam. Plus, those that would do something like that generally don't produce games that are any better than those that followed the rules.
Hi! If it's a major voice actor role, then yes. But if it's just a few lines then you don't have to include the voice acting role in your team total of 4. But note that only a max of 4 team members can receive prizes (if selected as a winning team).
I'd recommend exploring this page https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VisualNovel/DokiDokiLiteratureClub and clicking on different tropes - and then seeing what other video games share those same tropes!
Games that are in poor taste (e.g. racist, sexist, contain hate speech, etc.) will be removed from the jam, but I don't control whether something gets removed from itchio. Note that I've never had to remove a game for poor taste and I don't think you'll need to worry about this.
Regarding your second question, see the bottom of the FAQ for some tips! It's also up to you to be creative in how you'll design a game where the experience is surprising and unexpected - that's part of the challenge and fun :)
Concept stuff and ideas yes! If it's a story-based game (like a visual novel or RPG) and you're writing the whole script beforehand then no (but you can plan the story!). Basically any final art or dialog or code specific to the game should only be created during the jam period.
Generally I don't set an optional theme because my jams are already themed :) But feel free to unofficially use an additional theme that e.g. your friends or other participating teams set for you (e.g. in our Discord).
Thanks for the questions :)
The email had a 'replyto' email (my email) which you would have been able to reply to (I got plenty of replies so I know it works) - it shouldn't be ending up in spam filters, but that would vary by the email service you use and whether they view emails from itchio as spam.
You make a good point about the bundles - and we also underestimated the work it would take to put it together. Some people would find it easier downloading it all at once, but you're right that it makes it harder to find the place to give feedback. We're definitely rethinking how/if we'll do a bundle next time.
The bundle's credits file was only for the games that are in the bundle. People can still see the jam page for the full list of submitted games (and their associated creators).
Still planning to at least get some let's players on board now that the bundle is done, although as with any big jam, there isn't any guarantee that all entries will be played.
Feel free to send me an email if you have any further questions! (I'll also let you claim a prize since you went to the effort of making this post)
Hi! The bundle is almost ready - we are just setting up the page. It took much longer to compile than we anticipated - sorry for the delay :)
We will send out an email soon with the link to the bundle and prize announcements.