The Joys of the Jam

Written by Joel Couture of Indie Games Plus

Game jams can be an excellent means of pushing developers to see what they can create on a short time limit.

They encourage creativity, ruthless cutting, time budgeting, and getting completed works out there in the wild, often with some incredible results.

The DreamHack Dallas Jam (29 MAR – 6 APR 2019), a collaboration with Game Jolt, gives developers a week to create something out of a surprise theme, pushing them to see what they can come up, and how they can make it work. Last year, ten developers were awarded with a place to show their games at DreamHack Austin at the Game Jolt booth, letting them show off their incredible talent at the convention.

We spoke to a handful of last year’s winners, as well as the team at Game Jolt, to talk about the experience, and how they feel it can help developers grow and teach them a bit about their own abilities.

Daniel88881, developer of Finite Space (a game of fighting through the randomly-generated floors of an alien ship), looked at it as a chance to see how their skills as a developer had grown over time. “I had a good experience with the jam. It gave me something to think about at school and work on at home. I especially wanted to participate in this jam since I participated in the previous 2017 jam and wanted to see if I had improved.”

DreamingFox Productions, creator of Novallusion (a puzzle game about a woman making a daring trip to space with her dream), found the jam sparked a certain creativity within them from the moment they heard about it. “So far, it’s my only jam that I’ve participated in, but I can say it was a worthy experience.”

“I got an e-mail from Game Jolt advertising the contest. The name “DreamHack” just spoke to me.  Dreams have been very personal to me. At first, I wasn’t so sure, though, since I was already knee-deep in my own game projects. So, I decided to wait till the theme would be announced to make my decision on whether I would really want to do this.  When the theme was announced it again spoke to me: “Space”. An hour later, I had the two most important characters figured out and the basic story concept,” they continue.

“DreamHack Game Jams provide a unique opportunity to have your work shown to a real audience of players and developers outside of the normal game jam community,” says Nathan Auckett of Game Jolt. “You get all the normal perks of a game jam, like the chance to try out new ideas and techniques, working with new people and finishing a small game. But, in addition to that, if you make it into the top 5 and can make your way to the event, then you can experience what it’s like to expo your game, in person, to various people outside of the game jamming community. Plus if you get first place, the prize money could help go towards your current or next project. You get the opportunity to make, learn and grow; and entry is free!”

A week to make a game. A week to make a game that you can show at a convention. A week to win $1000. Sound fun?

Read the full article on Indie Games Plus.

JAM START

fri, 29 MAR
12:00 EST

JAM END

SAT, 6 APR
23:59 EST

PREVIOUS YEARS’ GAME JAMS

DreamHack Denver 2017

Jam Theme: APOCALYPSE

DreamHack Austin 2018

Jam Theme: S P A C E

DreamHack Atlanta 2018

Jam Theme: Battle Royale

Rules

  • Incorporate the theme into your game once it is announced at the start of the jam
  • Game must be playable on Windows operating system
  • Submit your game by adding #dreamhackdallasjam to the page description
  • Game Jolt judges will pick 5 winners
  • Winners will be featured on dedicated stations in the Game Jam booth at DreamHack Dallas

PRIZES

  • First place winner will receive $1,000 USD
  • 5 finalists (including the first place winner) chosen by Game Jolt judges will be featured on dedicated stations in the Game Jam booth during DreamHack Dallas
  • The 5 finalists will also receive 3-day event passes to DreamHack Dallas

GAME JOLT

Game Jolt is run by David DeCarmine, Yaprak DeCarmine, plus the help of the millions of indie developers and gamers on Game Jolt. Together, their mission is to grow indie gaming!

In 2002, at the age of 14, David came up with the idea of a platform for indies—for hobbyists that were creating games for the love of it. Something more personal, more collaborative, and more indie. Where anyone can create a game, show it off, and build an audience. It was kind of crazy. This was way before the existence of current platforms, and before indie gaming became as big as it has.

Game Jolt has come a long way since then. After David revamped the site in 2008 it became one of the biggest indie gaming platforms in existence. Today, millions of gamers, let’s players, and indie developers visit Game Jolt each month to get their indie gaming fix, and to explore over 100,000 games.

INDIE GAMES PLUS

Indie Games Plus is a Patreon-funded look into the world of indie games and their development, continuing to provide coverage of unique games, interviews with the artists who created them, and reviews and editorials that delve into the nuances of many titles. Their goal is to find the games few are talking about and give them the spotlight they deserve, promoting the variety, inclusivity, and heart that is poured into these works.

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