I've decided to join my first game jam in order to test my gamedev skills as well as meet and cooperate with artists who share my enthusiasm for creating games.
I was delighted to discover that itch.io/jams has a calendar full of indie game jams! Folks are jamming all the time and there is a huge selection of jams of different sizes, topics, rules... there's something interesting for everyone.
I've decided to go for Black and White Jam #8↷∞ which required participants to create a game in 12 days while using only two colors. I do enjoy Black & White aesthetics quite a lot, as you can tell from this website. The theme of the jam was revealed to be loop.
Many participants joined the jam on their own as individuals and I often find myself in a lone wolf position as well, but this time I wanted to try cooperation.
I've managed to assemble a crew:
- 🐒 coder
- 🎨 graphic artist
- 🎵 music composer
- 🔊 sound engineer
We actually created a simple game in 12 days and you can play it in your browser as long as you have a keyboard or a controller:
Be sure to listen to the music, which was voted to be the game's strongest point. Sounds are also of good quality i think, we only didn't get much graphics because the artist was busy. Gameplay is... well, loop. We ran out of time.
While the result isn't a great game, it is a game and I'm happy with it given this was a first try and we wasted half of our time on visions too grand for the little time we got.
Insights from the Jam
I've found the deadline frustrating, but it was definitely worth the time and effort invested. The experience of going through full gamedev cycle including release is very valuable and so is the experience of cooperation with artists, because I can now take the art workflow into consideration and optimize code/pipelines/processes to quickly integrate new and updated assets into the game.
But what I like the most is the opportunity to meet like-minded artists, test creative compatibility on a non-critical yet interesting project, and continue cooperation beyond jam if all sides enjoyed it. It's extremely hard to find motivated people willing and able to spend their time creating digital arts together, and game jams are literally full of them.
To sum up, I really love the idea of game jams (learn by doing), and I'm sure to participate every now and then. If you have a slightest interest in gamedev, I recommend you try it as well, it's fun and educational at the same time.