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Game Jams Aplenty
by Christer Kaitila on 12/02/10 08:19:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

A huge list of Indie Game Jams!

Version 7: even more jams added.  Keep them coming, folks!  Be sure to send me a twitter message or post a comment below and I will gladly include your game jam in this list.

Indie game developers: 'tis the season for game jams. If you are in the mood to develop a video game in a weekend, there are numerous chances to be had over the holidays. Game jams are a great way to strengthen your coding chops. Most don't actually have any prizes or entry fees: the prize is your completed game, and the new skills you will learn. You can create a little flash game, windows or mac executable, unity 3d game or an iPhone or iPad app. The choice is yours!

They are a perfect way to make prototypes for larger projects, and provide a great opportunity to try a language or API that you are not familiar with. Often times the mini games that are the result of the jams are so great that the authors continue developing them after the jam is over. Many Ludum Dare, Reddit and Global Game Jam games have become profitable indie game hits.

What have you got to lose? Join a game jam and turn your dreams of becoming a game deloper into a reality.

Here is a short listing of some recent and upcoming game jams. Please leave a comment if you know of some more and I will add them to the list.

Flashpunk Community Competition - Dec. 3rd to 5th
http://flashpunk.net/?p=32 and http://fpgc.aberustudios.com/
Flashpunk is the easiest to learn game engine for Flash, designed for 2d retro games.  This weekend, we have been challenged to try to make a cool game using an extremely small number of pixels: 96x96 (which can be scaled up to fill more space on screen).  Expect a ton of cool ultra-low-rez retro lo-fi art games.

Everybody Draw Game Jam London - Dec. 4th to 5th 2010
http://everybodydrawgamejam.eventbrite.com/
This has to be the cutest game jam out there.  Children's drawings have been collected from gradeschools and are to be the source art for a bunch of games.  Imagine how cool they are going to be: kid's art is always very colourful, creative, and sweet.  From stick figure zombies to flowers and rainbows, I imagine some of these games will transcend being games and move into the pure art territory.  Fantastic idea.

Ludum Dare MiniLD 22 – Nov. 26-28
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/2010/11/12/minild-22-nov-26-28/
Mini-LDs are the monthly Ludum Dare game jams. Informal and small. This month's theme is "unfinished business" meaning you are supposed to try to finish an existing game that you started but never got around to polishing. I'm sure we all have a few of those... =D Mini-LDs generally only get about a dozen or two games made.

Reddit Game Jam 4 - Dec. 10-12
http://www.reddit.com/r/RedditGameJam
The 48 hour Reddit Game Jam is December 10th on Friday. This is an informal game jam where users get to vote up or down each game in a bulletin board format. There will be a theme that is chosen by the moderators.

Ludum Dare 19 - Dec. 17-20
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/
The once-per-season Ludum Dare 48hr game jam on Dec 17th. Main Ludum Dare jams generally involve about a hundred games, and have a vibrant and active community of bloggers and tweeters. Ludum Dare has truly become a phenomenon, and it is quite possible that there will be 200 or more games made this time. The fun thing is that in the days just before the jam, members get to vote on a theme. Sometimes, the themes can be truly hilarious.

The Global Game Jam - Jan. 28-30
http://globalgamejam.org
The once a year gigantic Global Game Jam (hosted by the IGDA) will undoubtedly have over one thousand games made this year - it's gonna be huge. In 2010, Global Game Jam was held in 39 countries around the world with 4300 participants. There's nothing else like it: not only will several thousand people participate, but because there is only one per year, if you don't join this January you'll have to wait until 2012 for the next one. Don't miss it!

Dream.Build.Play
http://www.dreambuildplay.com/Main/Home.aspx
The next Dream.Build.Play challenge is coming in late February 2011, for Xbox 360 developers. So start dreaming up your next great idea and make sure you've got the latest version of XNA Game Studio 4.0, the contest will be here before you know it.

The Nordic Game Jam
http://nordicgamejam.org/
The Nordic Game Jam 2011 will follow the same format like previous years, as an event where students, hobbyists and professional game developers, meet up for a weekend to experiment with new and innovative game ideas and develop a game. The friendly competition of 48 hours will take place at IT University from 28 – 30 January 2011.  This year the Nordic Game Jam has two competition tracks running at the same time. You can choose to participate in: Global Game Jam (developing a digital game) or the Board Game Track (developing an analogue game).

Game Prototype Challenge v2 - Dec. 13th - 20th
http://gameprototypechallenge.com/
This is a brand new game jam that promises to grow in popularity. The first Challenge ran from Monday, November 15th, 2010 to Monday, November 22nd, 2010. The themes were DREAMS and COLLECTIBLES. Their Giant Theme Creation Robot (patent pending) is churning out ideas for approval as we speak, and the winning themes will be announced on Monday, December 13th at noon (EST).

TigJam - date TBA (fall, 2011?)
http://www.tigjam.com/
TIGJam is an environment of intense game creation. They do not run a theme or competition, but many participants choose to focus on a new project or prototype. You are more than welcome to jam on an existing project, though! Just do something rad.

OrcaJam - date TBA (fall, 2011?)
http://www.orcajam.com/
A bunch of like-minded people get together and work on what they love for 48 hours. The first one was held September 17th (6pm) for 48 straight hours, until Sunday September 19th (6pm). Held in Victoria, BC, on the West Coast of Canada; Victoria is the Capital of British Columbia, and is a beautiful, sunny, garden town that is based primarily in tourism. The first jam was a huge success and I'm sure the next will be too.

Toronto Game Jam
http://www.tojam.ca
The Toronto Independent Game Development Jam (TOJam) is a free, annual game-making event open to the public. For the last 4 years, we've gathered together the craziest game makers in the world for a 3-day, around-the-clock game making binge. Last one was in April 2010.

Boston Game Jam
http://bostongamejams.com/
Many different game jams, such as the April Dino Jam, the Immigration Jam and the Lunar Jam.  A very active game jam community that is going to take part in the upcoming Global Game Jam in January.

Triangle Game Jam
http://www.trianglegamejam.com/
The Triangle Game Jam is a gathering of professional Game Developers local to the research triangle area of North Carolina. The Game Jam occurs over the course of a single weekend, during which the participants attept to design and implement original video games. Typically, at the beginning of the event everyone will have a chance to pitch game ideas to the group for use as the theme.

Level Up: An OpenWeb Game Jam
http://zenit.senecac.on.ca/wiki/index.php/Level_Up:_An_OpenWeb_Game_Jam
Level Up is a Toronto Open Source Week (TOSW) event that will introduce game developers to tools that can be used to develop games for the OpenWeb. Must use HTML5 or WebGL. Last one was in October 2010.

India Game Jam
http://software.intel.com/en-us/contests/levelup2010-india/contests.php
Calling all Gamers, Game Developers and Animation Artists of India. Powered by Intel® Software Network this forum here is a fan page especially designed to help you to connect and learn more about game development from the pioneers of the gaming industry in India. As gaming comes of age in India, join in and play an active role in shaping the Indian gaming industry.

Philly Game Jam
http://www.phillygamejam.com/
The event ran last in 2009, this time as part of GameX Industry Summit, October 23-25. Hosted by IGDA Philadelphia, Philly Game Jam invites game developers from all over the Northeast to bring together teams of 3 – 10 developers for 48 hours of game building excitement.

Ad Lib Game Development Society - Zero Lodge
http://zero.algds.org/index.htm
Seven game jams hosted so far. The Zero Lodge is the first and founding chapter of the Ad Lib Game Development Society (ALGDS). Zero Lodge (and the ALGDS itself) was founded by a group of Dallas area game developers who have a love and passion for game making but find that our day jobs (as full-time game developers) sometimes leave those passions not entirely satisfied. Long project cycles, market-safe concepts, and the need for competitive production values have created a situation in which new game ideas have the opportunity to be put into action sometimes less than once a year, and unconventional / experimental / radical ideas almost never.

Lithuanian Game Jam
http://jammy.sourceforge.net/
Four game jams hosted so far, last was in Januray 2010. LTGameJam (Lithuanian Game Developers Jam-Session) is a game development/design event happening in Lithuania. The purpose of the event is to create games over short period of time, gather experience and have fun. Developers are invited to some place, main theme, "game engine" or a selection of tools and 48 hours of time for creating games. LTGameJam is not really a competition - it's just a "dev party". All the games, often with complete source code and assets are released here.

Houghton Game Jam
http://www.visionsofafar.com/houghtongamejam/News.aspx
Last game jam was April 2010. An opportunity for local game developers (be they professionals, students, hobbyists or otherwise!) to get together and try out our wackiest game concepts in a fun and supportive atmosphere.

Brasil Game Jam
http://www.brasilgameshow.com.br/brasil-game-jam/
Last game jam was November 2010. Supported by Sony, the Brazil Game Jam was a competition as an initiative of Brazil Game Show to promote the national development of electronic games. The game winners received a PS3 with three titles.

Scottish Game Jam
http://www.jonsykes.com/sgj/
The Scottish Game Jam is a 48 hr competition to design and develop a video-game. They currently run the competition to coincide with Global Game Jam.

Bangkok Game Jam
http://forum.train2game.com/showthread.php/6040-Bangkok-Game-Jam-2010?s=3d88b80d00220ad26bcdd1346bfbd677
Held in October 2010 in Thailand, this game jam was well twittered but didn't have an official website. There are facebook pages, blog entries, slideshows and at one point there was a live video feed showing the judging and awards ceremony.

St. Louis Game Jam
http://www.stlgamejam.com
Registration is now open for the STL GameJam 2011, now part of the Global Game Jam!

BIG - The Berlin Indie Game Jam
http://www.bigjam.org
The Berlin Indie Game Jam offers independent game developers from around the world the chance to meet, share ideas and collaborate.

Iowa Indie Game Jam
www.intuitiongames.com/category/indie-game-jam
The third Iowa Indie Game Jam was a great success! It was held this weekend October 17-19 in Cedar Falls.

Caracas Game Jam
www.linkedin.com/companies/caracas-game-jam
Caracas Game Jam is a thrilling videogame event, where participants gather during a full weekend to make one game from scratch.

24 Hour Munich Game Jam - Piece of Pie Studios
http://www.pieceofpiestudios.com/2010/09/08/24-hour-munich-game-jam/
A 24 hour game jam with Munich Indies.

WebGL Game Jam
www.fosslc.org/drupal/content/webgl-game-jam-results
A game jam where all games were made using webGL.

Finnish Game Jam
www.finnishgamejam.fi/
Finnish Game Jam (FGJ) is part of the Global Game Jam 2010, collaboration between three Finnish sites. Finland is actively taking part in the Global Game Jam for the first time this year with three different locations! There will be one location in Helsinki, one in Tampere and one in Kajaani. We are anticipating that Finnish game design students and professional developers alike will take part in our national jamming session in all of these three locations!  The Game Jam brings together all types of game developers, amateur, professional and students, to innovate new games in a single weekend. Participants work in small teams, racing to produce as complete a game as possible with limited time and resources, but unlimited creativity. It’s a rollercoaster from the beginning to the end.

The Experimental Gameplay Project
http://experimentalgameplay.com/
The Experimental Gameplay Project features month-long game jams centered around a theme.  November's theme was "Night and Day", while October's theme was "Neverending".  This is a very active forum-based game jam group that is producing a lot of amazing entries and is always ongoing - so whenever you can't find another 48 hour weekend jam, you can always work on an EGP project.  Highly recommended.

Glorious Trainwrecks
http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/
Glorious Trainwrecks is about bringing back the spirit of postcardware, circa 1993. It's about throwing a bunch of random crap into your game and keeping whatever sticks. About bringing back a time when you didn't care so much about "production values". It is not about unfinished, unplayable games. If any part of a glorious trainwreck is terrible, it is terrible in a way that is AWESOME. Most of these games written in minutes, not hours and all of them use Klik and Play, a freeware game design software.

Cambridge Indies
http://www.cambridgeindies.co.uk/
Weekly meetups every Tuesday.  The Cambridge Friendship Club is a collection of independent game developers who gather together in the south of England (typically Cambridge or London) for meet-ups and game development jams. Anyone is welcome to come along and join us regardless of experience. This site is primarily a place to catalogue games made at these events as well as promoting upcoming events.

The Games Collective
http://www.thegamescollective.org/
The Games Collective holds almost-monthly month-long games-making events.  This November 5th to December 5th they are holding the Fifth The Games Collective Games Pageant: Hollywood.  This jam's theme is based on an article by a hollywood screenwriter which is full of criteria typically reserved for movie scripts.

48hr Game Making Challenge
http://www.48hrgamecomp.com/
The fabulous 48 hour game making challenge, held in Brisbane Australia was first run back in 2007. Each jam uses a series of words to describe the theme. In 2007 the words were: LIZARD, BOAT, ROBOT. In 2008 the words were MELON, ASTRONAUT & SUMMERTIME. In 2009 the three words were GIANT, STORM & LOVE. Finally, this year's jam words were DINOSAUR, REVENGE & BAR.

Indie City Games Group
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Indie-City-Games/110805538960537
The Indie City Games group in Chicago sometimes does game jams.  There is talk of another one on the weekend of December 11th.

No More Sweden
http://www.nomoresweden.com/
No More Sweden is a gathering of independent game developers from the whole world meeting up somewhere in Sweden, featuring games by well known indie game industry veterans.  NMS has been held in 2008, 2009 and 2010. They also host numerous conferences and have guest lectures worth watching.

There are so many more game jams out there. In particular, there are about fifty game jams that are set to happen during the "Global Game Jam".

Please leave a comment with information on other game jams I have missed and I will update this page to include yours!

- Chris K
- a.k.a Breakdance McFunkypants

My blog: http://www.mcfunkypants.com
Follow me: http://twitter.com/McFunkypants


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Comments


Christer Kaitila
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Thanks so much for the twitter messages folks! I've just added nine more game jams.

Please keep the suggestions coming. =D

Devin Becker
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Thanks so much for this list Chris! I recently setup http://gamejamhq.com as a central place for people to find out about and talk about jams (I couldn't find anywhere on the net to get consistent info!).



I'll be adding all these to the event calendar on there. Hope you'll pass on any future jam info if I don't have it on the site so the jam community can keep up!

Jonathan Jennings
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thanks for the post Chris, I will look into getting involved with some of these jams to help fill my free-time too. it should be fun !


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