Game jams. They’re a thing. They’re also a ton of fun, and they prove time and again that the world of game development is an infinite well of terrifying, unbridled creativity. In fact, we love game jams so much that we’ve decided to partner with Intel (who’ll be powering the technology and hardware required to make this a reality) to host our very own jam.
It’s called the NAG Jam, and we’d be delighted if you’d join us in making it happen.
For those of you who are unclear on what a game jam actually is, it’s an event during which participants are tasked with creating a semi-functional game within an extremely restrictive time limit. They typically last between 24 and 72 hours, and are centred on a specific theme.
Here’s a list of a few things a game jam isn’t:
Edible (with or without peanut butter)
A game made entirely out of jam (or jam made entirely out of games)
Full of jelly beans (although this is unconfirmed)
The state of your controller after your tiny cousin Susie has touched it
A musical piece made up of game sounds
The part of the game you’re stuck in
A complicated situation where only a video game can solve the problem
Short for anything
Your game disc being stuck inside your console
A row of games all moving slowly across a tarred surface
A small child
Now, full disclosure before we get into the details: this is a very, VERY spur-of-the-moment thing. It might be the best of all things. It might be the worst of all things. But! We’re going to push to make it Full Smexy. We’ll buy confetti and everything, and Michael might even pour a bottle of cheap champagne all over himself on the main stage if the mood is just right.
This game jam is going to be different from other game jams out there for one reason: the best of the best games we receive will be showcased on the Intel stand (stand 64) at rAge 2015. As in, your weird, broken, wonderful game made in less time than it takes to make a decent cup of hot chocolate will be shown off at the largest gaming expo on the African continent. Scary! But also magical. That, and Intel’s also got R15,000 in prize money to offer to the makers of the best games in the jam. MONEY.
Here’s a rapid-fire list of guidelines, rules and things to consider:
- The NAG Jam is a 72-hour jam, which will begin at 7pm on Thursday October 1st and end on Sunday October 4th. The reason we’re doing 72 hours and not 48 is to give people as much time as possible to polish their game and fancy it up for the massive rAge audience.
- The theme for the jam will be announced at 7pm on Thursday October 1st. It’ll be announced via our Twitter feed, so be sure to follow us to find out the theme as soon as it’s revealed.
- We don’t have an official venue for the jam. You’ll have to collaborate remotely with your development chums, or spend the weekend together at a location of your choosing. We officially approve of “under the bridge by my mom’s house” as a jam venue.
- All games must include a reset function that resets the state of the game.
- All games must feature a rudimentary instructions screen that explains how the game is played.
- Entries must be submitted no later than 7pm on Sunday, 4 October.
- Devs are free to work in teams using any game engine or tools they choose, and draw from any existing asset/code bases to which they have access (again, this is to maximise the quality of the games we receive).
- Games can be PC or Android (x86 (not ARM))-based. Keyboard, mouse and/or gamepad is supported on PC. Touchscreen is supported on Android.
- Exact specs of the PCs and tablets will be provided closer to the time.
- Prize pool of R15,000; more prizes may be confirmed closer to the time.
- Submitted games will be judged by a panel of experts. Well… “experts”. But we’re all quite nice anyway, and sometimes we play video games. The top 4-8 games will be selected to be played at rAge. Judging criteria will be confirmed closer to the time.
- Jammers needn’t be able to attend rAge to be eligible for the prize money or to have their game placed on public display.
- Only entries from within the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region will be accepted.
- All content must be original and must not violate any existing copyright laws.
“This is an expo game, folks! People need to come to the stand, figure it out immediately and be able to have a decent game session in just a few minutes. Keeping your game short and sweet will make it easier to develop AND give more people at rAge an enjoyable gaming experience!” – Rodain Joubert, local game developer and creator of Desktop Dungeons
Intel will be providing access to a number of their mighty snazzy proprietary technologies for jammers who want to get super adventurous with the games they make. The most obviously intriguing of those technologies is RealSense, and the RealSense Camera that works alongside it. It’s got Sheldon Cooper in it! Or something. RealSense could be used to power some really interesting games, so it’s definitely something to consider. The other two pieces of kit Intel is making available is their NUC family of mini PCs, and their Compute Stick devices.
Remember that Intel’s also got a range of nifty software tools that might prove useful in your quest to make The Best Game. I’d say that of particular interest is the game dev section (obviously) and their performance analyzers (which will help you debug any performance issues in your game).
The rules and structure of the NAG Jam may change slightly as we near the jam date, because we’ll need to refine things and add in stuff I forgot to mention in this post because this is all such a wild rush. On that note, please remember to regularly check in on this post, because I’ll update it with new information as it becomes available. Information like how and where to submit your games, the final judging criteria and what pants you’re required to wear.
Finally, here’s some words of wisdom from resident game dev guru Rodain Joubert:
“This is an expo game, folks! People need to come to the stand, figure it out immediately and be able to have a decent game session in just a few minutes. Keeping your game short and sweet will make it easier to develop AND give more people at rAge an enjoyable gaming experience!”