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Theme Suggestions?

A topic by Turbo Hermit created May 29, 2017 Views: 952 Replies: 29
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The themes seem a bit... generic. They're more like settings, which will make for a non-diverse pool of games.
Themes are a tat more interesting if they can be interpreted differently, like a saying or a feeling or a quote.

I thought this might be a good place for some theme discussion and/or suggestions?

My idea is do a poll tomorrow with 4 possible themes and i choosed that ones because as you said are the most generic and easy to do interesting things on everybody sure can do something in each one.

But well i'm open to any suggestion, but we have to do it fast, only two day to start the JAM :P

Ok, then Hermit, what 4 theme/things/feeling you will say?

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Eh, I'm kinda against the sentiment of making a genre-based theme. I'd feel that'd do a lot to make all the games feel "same-y". Like, if all the games are platformers, there's only so much you can really do, and to be quite honest, most games would end up being not-Mario. Likewise, for racing games, fighting games, etc. there's also games that many people will try to emulate. Personally, I'd rather see more variety in the jam, especially since the CGA aesthetic is criminally underused by indies. It would kinda stink to see so many people make what amounts to essentially the same game with a new coat of paint.


I think will be hard to make everybody happy with a theme, genre or similar so thinking maybe  give total freedom about the game you can do, simply restrictions to the CGA palette.

Or in case of make a theme or whatever something that can fit with any kind of game.

Yeah that's kind of what I was aiming for. Something that allows for enough freedom to make what you want.
However themes DO have an interesting effect on creators, that's why I was thinking of something abstract or open for interpretation.


Maybe the theme could be less precise, like : A hero have to save the princess. It could fit sort of game. What do you think ? Because if you have no theme, there is no real point to do a jam for me.

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Well, then, come one guys, propose all the themes you want, i will choose four to put in twitter poll so everybody can vote. ;)


I think the palette alone is limited enough honestly. If we all up using the same setting, that reduces variation between games. Maybe a mashup of the 4 theme options? Take a character from one and place them in another? Think 'cowboys vs aliens'. Just my 2 cents :)

Just a bunch of random ones I thought of today.

- History Repeats
- Welcome to the Jungle
- High Tech, Low Life
- Anything Goes
- Don't Stop Moving


some ideas...

Doesn't fit

Always faster

Home is never far away

Strange fruit


Ok go for :

- Alien World

- Fairy land

- Gravity

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Well i pick-up one of your suggestions and added one more to get 4, this are:

- History Repeats (Turbo Hermit)
- Always faster (scottlininger)
- Gravity (Harmonie Games)
- WildWest / WestWorld (Mine)

What you think?


Seems like a good poll to me!

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Guys, don't take me wrong, but I think leaving generic themes should be the best idea. Because people (like me) have been brainstorming ideas and might have already concepts written down for each theme and 1 day before the jam, you're already deciding on actual themes with actual meaning?? Jut stay with the generic themes the jam organizer gave us and let's vote. Because now, we who already had ideas, have to brainstorm and think a lot again.

I think it is a bit unfair for people who already started having all the work writing ideas for games. And I wrote consistent concepts for EVERY theme. Not just little descriptions of ideas, actual pages saying how the game would play and all. And I'm sure other people did the same as me. C'mon, guys, just go with the original themes. I would be okay with it if you had taken that decision 2 weeks before the jam. But 1 day, that's extremely unfair for a lot of people.

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Usually in Jams themes are revealed on the day the jam starts, so you also have to come up with the concept on the fly.

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Yeah but the idea for this Jam didn't seem to be that one.  It was gonna be one of the 4 themes that are on the main page, you're just trying to do something completely different. The idea was to have the four generic themes up for voting and one would be chosen and we would have to make games using that generic theme. Not a consistent theme like you said. This is not Ludum Dare. If you want consistent themes, suggest the idea WEEKS PRIOR to the jam. Not one day. 

I mean, isn't that kinda silly? Oh, so the theme will be Wild west, you have one month to make mockups and think about ideas. Then one day before the jam, you say "oh so the wild west theme will be "Aliens and Cowboys. Must have aliens in the game" " Well, there goes my idea for a game without aliens that I've been writing for a whole month just because someone just decided that the theme should be less general. That just makes more people upset and not want to participate in the jam because it cuts creativity, you know? The palette is already a challenge, why do you want to complicate people's lives even more?

Theme's for jams are generally to BOOST creativity, not to cut it down. So for a theme to be announced on short notice, it will make you design a game from scratch including concept. This means you have a lot of free reign in your design, instead of baking/nailing down every detail WEEKS before (which DOES cut down creativity).

In fact, you could even start developing the game then already, that's why the theme is always announced a little before the kick-off, so everybody has exactly the same amount of time and work in their projects.

All in all, I think you can still make one of the games you already designed, since theme isn't the only thing games are rated on. In fact, it's only 1 of 6-7 things the game is rated on. If you still make a good game with the limitations presented, theme shouldn't be a problem.
And also, 2 weeks is more than enough to write/design/develop a proper game of the expected quality.

That's how I feel anyway.


Ludum Dare has successfully used multiple themes in the past.  example

I suggest offering one of the original options along with one of the narrower ones since it's short notice?

Again, I agree that the palette itself is limited enough, but some prefer a narrower scope.


That is a really nice approach.


Could be a proper solution

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I'm not against you or your idea, im just extremely upset you're coming here 2 days before the jam starts and want to give a new approach to the theme selection. I'm sure people didn't just get into the jam and were like "see you in a month!" No, they took the jam themes, the possible themes and studied them and thought about ideas and this and that and yadda yadda yadda. 

Don't take me wrong, I would totally go with your idea of making the themes less generic but right now its TOO LATE for that... Yes, it's true that gamedevs gotta be ready to come up with an idea in a short period of time but why make them do that when the initial idea wasn't even that?

If you suggest something like that so late, suggest an additional rule, DON'T suggest a complete change 1 day before the jam.


You're upset because you've done a lot of prep work, which is understandable.

I'm upset that we might end up with 275 games that do not only have the same COLOUR but even the same SETTING.
Think about that. Nearly 300 cowboy games with GBA palette.

Settings or genres just aren't really viable as a theme in my opinion.


Yeah, i get you. Let's just find of a way of balancing ideas. There's no need for fighting, we're here to have fun :) I think there should be 2 options, one for people like me, and another for people like you. One generic and another less generic.


Sorry if i explained bad, but the idea is let people choose between one of this Four ones i mentioned in the previous post:

- History Repeats (Turbo Hermit)
- Always faster (scottlininger)
- Gravity (Harmonie Games)
- WildWest / WestWorld (Mine)

The theme i proposed is WildWest/WestWorld that was in the original themes proposed.

So, people can go with WildWest/Westworld in case they already have docs, mockups,etc... or pick one of the three new that are less generic and more open to interpretation.

What you think?

So no poll then? just picking up one from these four themes

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You're right, I misunderstood :)  Choosing one from any of those four sounds great!


That I like more :) You get to make the 2 sides happy!

Leave it to Davit to come up with a proper solution.

could you explain the "History Repeats" theme, please? I'm interested in that one, but I think I need a clear understanding.

You can interpret it however you want, that's why I like those kinds of themes.

However for clarification, the saying "history repeats itself" is often used as a way to express that events follow a pattern that will eventually come to pass again, following the same pattern. For example, war is something fairly common in human history, and often follows the same kind of pattern.