Gamejams and what they eat with

    Hello, Habr!

    Over the past year, such a concept as a gamejack has become very popular in Russia and in the world. Almost every week a large number of game developers gather to make a game on the topic of jam in a short time. But there are people who are still new to this concept. This article is for them.


    What it is

    Let's start with the very concept of "game". Formally, this is a competition for fast-paced game development (Game is a game, Jam is from the musical concept of jam session, when musicians gather and improvise without special preliminary preparation). Very similar to specialized hackathons. The phenomenon of recent years is gaining more and more popularity in the world. At the last Ludum Dare game- play , which takes place 3 times a year, 2538 works were collected, and at - the largest game-play - 4289 works in January 2014.
    Most often, gamejams last 48 hours, although in this matter the timing depends only on the organizers of a particular gamejam.


    Digital content creation tools are simplified and made available to a wider range of people. Convenient game editors appear: Unity , Game Maker , Construct 2 , without forgetting about the good old Flash, etc. Accordingly, an increasing number of people are beginning to participate in jams, and even those who are not directly members of the gaming community.



    Most often, it’s free, although sometimes there are also options for game jams where you have to pay a certain amount (usually symbolic) to take part in it.

    Participation in gamejams to industry professionals allows them to stretch their bones and test themselves in high-speed game development, try a prototype for which they have no time and motivation outside the gamejam. But in the same way, for beginners, a gamejack gives an opportunity to understand what game development is in principle, to master tools and technologies, and, of course, to catch the joy of creativity in its purest form.

    The main task in the gamejam is to have time to collect something finished, and not all participants cope with this task.
    Therefore, the main tips:
    • Game design should be as simple as possible, and contain no more than one killer feature.
    • A good idea would be to emphasize the setting and atmosphere of the game - very often voting and selection of works are carried out by the participants themselves and a vivid game world will be appreciated by right.
    • In no case should you try to master new technologies during a gamejam. If you are going to work with a new tool, it is better to master it in advance.
    • It sounds corny, but plan your time. The issue of time management in a tight deadline is particularly acute.
    • And finally, rest and sleep before the match. Your body will thank you.

    In general, a victory in a gamejack is somewhat reminiscent of a game’s victory in the market when it hits the top places. You have a limited resource - time and team, have an idea (new? Original?) And have its implementation (good / not so good). You have an audience to get into: other participants or visitors to the site where the game takes place. All these factors, as in the case of a commercial product, ultimately create success in the gamejam (as they create it on popular platforms). Therefore, taking part in game jams, you can experience how the world of the “real” game dev in miniature revolves.

    The most famous

    English speaking

    • Global Game Jam . Held once a year in January. The “headquarters” where development is underway are opening up around the world.
    • Ludum Dare , That same “old-school” game. No prizes or sponsors. Most of the work is collected in the nomination “solo” for 48 sleepless hours.
    • Nordic Game Jam - a large event in Copenhagen, held under the auspices of the local university.


    Russian speakers

    • Games Jam is a platform where various game themes and directions are held.
    • Geek Party - the first regular gemjem in Russia, held in St. Petersburg.

    Also in RuNet often take one-time gamejams dedicated to certain events. In general, it was a good tone for major IT events to hold hackathons or game jams with them and to award prizes to the best participants. Assembly, Moscow DevGAMM, Starkon, Igromir and right now the NextCastle Party festival is holding a gamejournal dedicated to the festival on the Geek Party website . It’s not too late to fit in there, almost 3 days are left until the end. The total prize fund of 4.5 thousand dollars.


    A look into the future

    In the future, due to the even more popularization of both video games and development tools, the movement of game jams will increase. Perhaps the age limits of the target audience of game jams will expand, and those will be held at the school level, along with math contests.

    Also, it is possible that we will see more and more ready-made commercial products that will be collected on jams, as the quality of the work of participants is steadily growing. We can witness large-scale online television shows where the presenters, each hour of whose work costs $ 10k, will rush around the hall filled with jumpers and monitors, interview them, VJs will stream the development process with special effects to giant monitors, and the audience will play fresh prototypes and give advice online.
    By the way, there was an attempt to launch one such show, but it failed . Who knows, maybe not yet time.

    Resources for familiarization:


    The most important thing, taking part in such an event, is not to be afraid to reveal your creative abilities, create, dare and experiment!

    Thank you for reading to the end. I will be glad to comment :)

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