Nope, this isn’t your ordinary game jam! This game jam, organised and brought to my attention by Steve, the founder of games blog NJoystic has a different focus than most – this time it’s all about learning how to make games. I love game jams anyway, for the amount of community spirit and creativity they foster, but this one has community spirit coming out of its ears! Game jams, for those who don’t know, are when game devs get together to make a game from scratch within a short time frame – usually around 24-48 hours. They can be competitive or non-competitive. Learn 2 Game-Jam is of the non-competitive variety and will run from April 15-May 15, 2014. Best of all, it’s open to everyone – whether you’ve had years of experience making your own games or have zero experience. Check out Steve’s post here for the full details or read on for more info!
There are very very few rules to this game jam, which I think is a great thing as it will hopefully make the experience less intimidating for those with no or minimal dev experience. As mentioned, participants can be anyone whether they’ve ever made a game or not and as many people as you like can be involved in the project. So if you don’t feel confident embarking on your game-making adventure by yourself, bring a friend or several! Whether you want to be a lone wolf or collaborate with other like-minded people is completely up to you.
As for content, unlike many game jams there are no specific themes or style restrictions. You can literally make anything, which will probably prove to be a god-send for those of you who are learning as you go. It doesn’t matter whether it’s completely original or looks suspiciously like that other famous game… The point is to learn, so learn away in whatever form that takes!
In terms of tools, Steve lists a few recommendations that are free and easy to use in his post. But, if you already have something specific in mind, there are no rules governing what you can and can’t use! Also, since the focus of this game jam is helping each other learn to make games, there’s also a NJoystic forum where you can talk to other participants and share knowledge and tips. You can also leave comments on the NJoystic posts on the topic or tweet @Njoystic with #Learn2GameJam.
The only rule is that you that you can’t work on your game i.e. create any game assets until April 15, but you can work on concepts, pick game engines, do research and so on in the meantime! So all you newbie game devs, you can start learning now!
I’m particularly interested in things like this, because I’ve come to realise that due to the lack of transparency of the industry many gamers have no idea how a game is made. Obviously the way a AAA dev and one lone programmer makes a game will be very different, but at the same time many of the same steps are there. It’s such a fun, interesting and creative process that I would love for more people to become involved and learn more about the industry that they feel so passionate about. Also, everyone has to start somewhere and it’s great to see the community together to really share info, knowledge and skills – things that I feel are not often shared very openly. Thanks to Steve for setting all this up and I hope that even if you don’t decide to participate or simply don’t have the time, you at least follow along as I definitely will be! If you are interested in learning, sign up here. What are you waiting for?