If you’ve been following my twitter lately, or really just talked to me at all this year, you would know I like participating in this event called #1gamcrunch. It’s basically a monthly game jam for #1gam (onegameamonth).
One of my New Years resolutions for this year was not only to sit down and create as much as possible, but also to participate in a Game Jam.
For those of you who do not know, a Game Jam is a gathering of game makers to make a game in a very short time frame. Generally they’re about 48 hours.
My big goals of doing one of these events were;
- Meet other people who are interested in making games. This is an obvious answer, even the motivation behind Game Dojo in AZ, but still the more surround you can become the better. And it’s come to the point where sometimes I have to shut my mouth at family dinner, or when I’m out in public because I’ve started having a design conversation. (I must say my family and friends who put up with me are amazing, patient, and can hold in yawns for a very lengthy amount of time.)
- Having more projects and experiences working with a variety of people!
- Learning. Learning. Learning. Whether it be a bit about how this line of code works, to figuring out a tiny detail about this audio program, or something funky about an art program there’s always quite a few things that come up.
- Dealing with bugs. (not real bugs, fuck those) Sometimes, you have to learn how to live with a bug or two. Better yet, sometimes you have to know how not to get stuck solving a bug for hours when you just don’t have the time. Gotta keep running forward.
Somethings that always slowed me down from joining jams prior, and why that doesn’t actually matter anymore.
- I don’t know enough. For a while I was always worried that I would be judged on how much I knew. That if I went into one of these events my team or other people would laugh me out for not knowing enough. This is so much bullshit. By knowing nothing you’re going to learn so much from the experience and you shouldn’t let this fear push you away. Just try to push yourself towards a more experienced group and ask questions.
- There’s no way I’d finish. You know you might not finish it in the weekend time, but you may be able to keep working on it as time goes by. If you hate it or just want it to be water under the bridge, let that game be a learning experience. I end up going in with a specific goal in mind, if I can satisfy that goal bam magic has happened and I can have a moment to be proud and then reflect and figure out the next goal. Also, everywhere I’ve read similar advise KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Anyway back to #1gamcrunch! I’ve tried to participate every month. Which sounds all great, but remember we’ve only been through 3 months!
January, I went at it with a team. This was my first jam and my first time working with a team. Holy cow, it was exciting, frustrating, and overall pretty satisfying. The game was called Deitospy, its strange and buggy, but its our strange, buggy game.
February, I flew solo. I also did not finish my game. I went out for bday dinner (Thai food!) and ended up getting my puppy (see previous post) all instead of working on a game. Now I have a half-baked platformer. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to this specific file, but I really enjoyed the idea that I had started. The game involved moving in two different directions one direction would be the logical choice mostly to the right of the screen, the other would be heading to the left or just a direction that didn’t make too much sense. Anyway, I had written up some witty dialog for this game. Hopefully, I’ll look at the file one day and put it together.
March, baaam last month! I struck up another card game. Games that I can work on everywhere are wonderful. The card game I created was entitled The Illiterate. It’s a neat little game about knowing some classic literature. During the original weekend I wasn’t able to get all the cards typed up, but that was simple enough to finish even after the jam. The big thing that needs to be work on still is the instructions. I was so worried about keeping it concise that it lost some of the clarity. So, I’ll be playing around with the instructions a bit more. I’ve decided maybe adding some images may help, and heck why not do a little video tutorial on playing the game. This was awesome because I already had started using the little knowledge I had from making my first card game, The Absurd Gun Game, which I had made for my January #1gam.
My experiences with these events have all been great. Even with limited time it’s fun to get something kicked up and playable by the end of the weekend. Plus, I’ve always found that starting any project can sometimes be intimidating. It’s a lot like a painter staring at a blank canvas. You’ve got all this potential, but when you reach to put the first brush stroke too much self-doubt can crowd your mind. Luckily, there isn’t time to doubt yourself during these events! Plus, it helps kick out that evil doubt cloud for good!
These events are a great exercise for any at any level to get into making games, plus the support is always there to ask next to any question. This month there will not be a 1GAMCRUNCH, but Ludum Dare will be going on during that time frame. I recommend you go and participate. NOW!